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Compassion, benevolence and social justice

Student leaders Sobi and Dylan walking through the Glen Waverley grounds near the gym
Sobi Arulampalam and Dylan Sinclair are student leaders at the Glen Waverley Campus

For Year 12 students Dylan Sinclair and Sobi Arulampalam, social justice is all about giving back, but they benefit too, as they explained to Domain Magazine.

Since she was in Year 4, Sobi Arulampalam, now Spiritual Life Prefect at the Glen Waverley Campus, has been blessed to share many experiences with Aboriginal students from the Yiramalay/Wesley Studio School in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. What those experiences have given her underscores the value of an equal partnership between two diverse cultures and communities, committed to bringing positive change through education.

One friendship in particular, with a student from Yiramalay with whom Sobi roomed during the eight-week Year 9 Clunes experience in the central Victorian goldfields town, was especially influential in her later becoming the Spiritual Life Prefect at Wesley College’s Glen Waverley Campus.

‘I have noticed growth, particularly in my peers, acceptance and understanding of cultural differences through the programs involving interaction with Yiramalay students,’ Sobi says. ‘I’ve gained a heart to pursue a ministry which supports community awareness, respect and reconciliation.’

Fellow student Dylan Sinclair, Social Justice Prefect at the Glen Waverley Campus, has been emboldened by a range of initiatives – including volunteering with the Salvation Army and coordinating our Christmas Giving Tree donation drive – to explore more deeply an interest in becoming a teacher. As the Social Justice Prefect, his exposure to the work of UnitingCare through the Christmas Giving Tree program has left an enduring mark.

‘It inspired me to do more community and service work,’ Dylan says.

After completing Year 12 this year, he knows the social justice projects he’s been part of will have made him a better person.

‘These programs help to teach us students the importance of giving back and the joy that can be found in doing so,’ he says. ‘It makes us more compassionate and benevolent, traits which are both heavily sought after in the workforce.’

Although the year has turned out differently than expected, the students have still been devoted to their cause and one of their final on-campus initiatives was a Year 12 casual clothes day raising funds for Mission Australia. 'The COVID-19 pandemic has left millions of Australians without jobs and financially struggling. Mission Australia helps to change this by supporting these vulnerable Australians through resources such as financial aid and psychological assistance. By supporting this charity, we will be able to help those that may be finding it hard to access the support they require during this pandemic.'

Read the original article by Peter Hanlon here.