Put Your Hands In The Air!

100SB_Put Your Hands In The Air

Volunteers are so important to the work we do at 100 Story Building that we haven’t asked any hard-nosed, existential questions about them for a while. Here are some now.

Q: Can you volunteer to help yourself? If I see my hat is on the ground and it should be in my bag, can I volunteer to pick it up and put it in my bag to help me?

Q: Are there good volunteers and bad volunteers?

A: As in, ones who do their job well, and others who don’t do it well?

Q: No, like good and evil.

We got it. Volunteers are … like superheroes who pick up after themselves? These questions came courtesy of teacher Rachel Rasmussen’s Grade 6 class at Dinjerra Primary School, Braybrook. The students are investigating what it means to be a volunteer, through a series of workshops run by 100 Story Building in partnership with Volunteer West. The project is part of volunteerism@Maribyrnong, an initiative funded by Maribyrnong City Council.

Teams of student journalists will conduct on-camera interviews with volunteer subjects, and then edit their footage into short news pieces to be screened at Sun Theatre, Yarraville, on May 15, as part of National Volunteer Week 2013.

Last week, the ‘cubs’ decided they needed to go direct to the source and ask some local volunteers about their work. Next week they’ll meet with friendly volunteers from diverse organisations including Western Health, Footscray Hockey Club, SYN Media, Men’s Shed, Wheels in the West, WYPIN and Braybrook Community Garden, in preparation for conducting on-camera interviews. To help them elicit the best responses from their subjects, a number of special guests will be working with the students over the course of the project. The first guest was interviewing extraordinaire Suzy Freeman-Greene, senior writer at The Age. Under her guidance, the group pondered the challenge of drawing information out of a shy interviewee (solution: make them feel comfortable, and ask them about kids – theirs, or someone else’s. And if they’ve met someone famous, get them talking about that.)

It’s not just about learning fun new skills, like how to present to the camera, talking into microphones and what to leave on the cutting floor – by encouraging literacy and confidence this project enables students to experience volunteerism from an empowered position. For socio-economically disadvantaged children, it means they can explore the possibilities of contributing to their community as volunteers themselves, rather than as beneficiaries.

Want to volunteer with us? Sign up now to work on fun projects like this one.