Finding cures for children's genetic diseases

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Schools get a lot more than day off from volunteering

19/Apr/2018  

To some it may look like a simple day off school, but in reality the students who volunteer for Jeans for Genes are gaining a valuable lesson in the power of social justice.


Schools all across Australia will take to the streets for the 25th Anniversary of Jeans for Genes on Friday 3rd August to sell merchandise and collect funds, but there is a lot more for the students to gain.

Sydney Girls’ High School has been involved with Jeans for Genes for more than 15 years. Every Year 8 girl volunteers, and the Student Wellbeing Head Teacher, Catherine Evans, said it is a vital part of their school culture.
 
“It gives them a strong sense of passion for social justice,’’ Ms Evans said. “I think they see the benefit of how a community can collectively support a charitable organisation. They’re very passionate about the idea of helping others by supporting research. They definitely feel they’re contributing to that.’’

As well as becoming a better citizen, Ms Evans said the Day teaches them other valuable skills.

“They’re only in Year 8, so they get a lot from it in terms of learning how to interact with the public,’’ she said. “They might be shy, but when they’re in a group they can develop those skills and it’s an opportunity for growth. It’s also showing empathy for others through volunteering.’’



Before the actual day, Ms Evans asks the students to do their own research on Jeans for Genes so they know about the 1 in 20 children who are diagnosed with a genetic condition and the importance of research. She said the results were impressive.

“They are very inquisitive and very competitive,’’ Ms Evans laughs. “They think of different ways to get people’s attention. Some of them make up little songs or skits to make people stop. I’ve had feedback from the public about how polite and courteous they are, but also about how impressive their knowledge about research was. A person said there was no way they could walk away!’’

If you, your class, or your school would like to sign up to volunteer at a site anywhere across Australia on Friday 3rd August visit www.jeansforgenes.org.au/volunteer.