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Student Stories

Celebrating service in the community

Community service is something Year 13 ACG Strathallan student, Jayden Mullin, feels strongly about. As a committed advocate and supporter of the Papakura Marae community dinner programme, this young philanthropist (pictured centre) not only donates his own time to this worthwhile cause, but also recruits numerous ACG Strathallan volunteers to join him.

Keen to spread awareness about the programme and highlight the hard work of student volunteers, Jayden believes that the “willingness of my fellow students and the school staff to help out and contribute at the Marae” should be celebrated. “The positive attitude of those who have been involved has made me really proud to say that I’d helped organise it and been a part of the service” he continues.

Jayden has been involved with the programme since July 2018, and after taking a more active leadership role in February 2019, now arranges for several students and staff members to accompany him to the Papakura Marae each week, where they help prepare and serve dinners for up to 200 people.

“Jayden has done a tremendous job of coordinating school volunteers for the weekly Papakura Marae community dinners” says ACG Strathallan Principal, Danny O’Connor. “He is mature beyond his years and he displays a selfless attitude seldom seen from a young man of his age. As a school, we are very proud of what he has done to help make a positive difference in our local community.”

As a local of the area, Jayden was initially attracted to this group because “Papakura is my home and I like to see those in my home being helped when in need. The group just had such a positive attitude towards helping people, so I felt that it was the right one for me.”

“It’s extremely important for young people to be involved in serving their community. It’s one of the reasons why I pushed so hard this year to branch out in my duty and to bring such a variety of students to the Marae. Even if it’s just for one visit, its often enjoyable and beneficial for the student, not to mention for the good of the programme.”

Jayden has also come to understand that “a little bit of work can go a long way when done in a group.” He explains how “at the Marae, if we all do our part to make the dinner service happen, it can provide some brilliant results for those who really need it.”

A winner of the Strathallan Community Service Award and a finalist in the Sylvia Park ‘My Future’ Award, Jayden was honoured to be recognised for his efforts, but says “awards weren’t really in my mind when I was asked to organise the school’s Marae volunteers by Mr O’Connor, I just thought I’d been given a golden opportunity to lead the school in something I already loved to do.”