Junior Joeys jump at the chance to help those in need
A group of students at St Thomas More’s Catholic School in Launceston have dedicated themselves to following the path of Mary Mackillop and acting on every need they see in the school or in the wider community.
The Junior Joeys, under the guidance of religious education coordinator Belinda Taylor, made a commitment to the group at the beginning of the year, and meet several times each term with a focus on ‘Learn, Pray and Practice.’
“Our Junior Joeys group is important for our students, our school and the wider community because ultimately it is the heart of St Thomas More’s,” Mrs Taylor explained.
“It is our history and our story. We follow Mary MacKillop’s motto ‘never see a need without doing something about it.’ It is important for our school community to practise this not only with each other but also through outreach programs to better our community and those around us, but as well on a much bigger scale for those in our world too.”
Mrs Taylor said the purpose of the Junior Joeys group is to continue the work of Mary MacKillop and Fr Julian Tenison Woods and the story of the Sisters of St Joseph.
“As part of the Junior Joeys commitment, our students are encouraged to be actively engaged in our school community, bringing to life the Josephite Charism amongst their peers,” she said.
“Our Junior Joeys are presented with a badge, to remind them of their job. The students wear their badges with pride and privilege!”
Each year, a new group of students is formed, and another chapter is added to the Sisters of St Joseph charism and the school story.
Mrs Taylor said the Year of St Joseph added extra meaning to the group’s endeavours.
“When Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods started the order of Sisters, they chose to dedicate it to St Joseph, because he was a no-nonsense saint – close to Jesus, totally dedicated to caring for his family, with a gift for getting on with it. These qualities summed up the Sisters’ charism too; this was how they lived their lives, and still do today,” she explained.
This year’s Joeys raised money for a mobile kindergarten in Fiji through the Mary MacKillop Today organisation, collecting more than $700 through ‘Milo Mornings’ each day for a week.
The students also organised another fundraiser, this time for Catholic Mission and children in Thailand, hosting a ‘Crazy Sock Day’ and soccer shootout.
At a local level, the Joeys invited St Vincent de Paul representatives to come to the school and talk about the vulnerable children and families in Tasmania.
“The Junior Joeys asked how they could help,” Mrs Taylor said.
“They have set their fellow peers the challenge of filling 50 Christmas treats bags for families in need this Christmas, here in Tasmania.”