A team of young people from Sale are pushing for all Victorian secondary school students to undertake 100 hours of volunteering.
In legislation drafted by the Wellington Shire Youth Council, students will complete compulsory voluntary service with an accredited organisation throughout years 7 to 10.
Schools will be required to implement the voluntary service into their curricula, with 25 hours each year from years 7-10.
“There is a clear lack of connectivity between the community and the students,” team-member, Mitch Limbach, said. “Getting them involved with their communities through volunteering would connect that gap.”
He also believes volunteering provides students an opportunity to exercise responsibility and develop leadership skills. “It’s a bit like work experience, getting an understanding for what you like and what you don’t like, and gaining skills along the way.”
As part of the Wellington Shire Youth Council, Mitch has been involved in helping to organise and run numerous community events such as FReeZA, Australia Day services, NAIDOC week and the Ride with Pride.
Western Australia already has a similar program requiring students to undertake 20 hours volunteer service in starting from year 10.
The WA Department of Education and Training says research has shown young people who volunteer are more likely to serve their community as adults.
The Wellington Shire Youth Council team consists of Mollie Webster, James Gover, Mitch Limbach, Christine van Deventer, Sarah Ann Williams and Jess Kearn.