During Week 4 of Term 2, the Year 12 students participated in their second special event of the year. This week was titled Nightingale Week, named after Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, in recognition of the example that she set by caring for the suffering during the Crimean War and her belief that loving God should result in loving and caring for others, especially the weak and suffering. The week was designed to help students develop into people of compassion and empathy by meeting people in need and finding ways to serve them.
During the week, students spent time at five different locations: The Basement Soup Kitchen, Toowoomba West Special School, Clifford Park Special School, St Andrew’s Hospital and Unearthed Ministries with HumeRidge Church. At these facilities, students met with, ate with and served the children, students, visitors and/or residents for the majority of the day. A major moment of the week came from the Unearthed Ministry groups, as they were able to meet with and learn the stories of the refugees that they were serving. Many were shocked by the stories of trials and tribulations that the refugees shared, making our serving them so much more meaningful for the students. Managers and organisers at each location were so grateful for the students’ serving, and loved seeing the interactions between them and the clients that they served.
The events within Nightingale Week resounded with many of the Year 12 students. They had opportunities that many of them had not ever experienced, enabling them to grow in their confidence, step out of their comfort zone and empathise with many people who are in need within our community. It was encouraging to hear so many ‘moments of impact’ and testimonies from the Year 12 students at the end of each day, and finally at the debrief on Friday.