Xavier community social justice work

Xavier Social Justice Network member tutoring refugee, Vinnies Soup Van volunteer, participants in the Palm Sunday March for RefugeesThe Xavier Social Justice Network (XSJN) came into being when a group of like-minded parents and staff saw that combining skills and resources within a community such as Xavier, could actually make a difference.

XSJN engages the wider Xavier College community – Old Xaverians, current parents and their families, past parents and staff – in becoming compassionate and reflective men and women who are committed to serving those in need through direct service and through raising awareness about social justice issues.

XSJN offers its members opportunities for direct engagement with those in need through volunteering in a range of social service agencies, including:

  • Jesuit Social Services – Community College, Brosnan Centre
  • Sacred Heart Mission – Dining room and Women’s House
  • St Vincent de Paul – Soup Van, Friday night BBQ and ‘Compeer’
  • Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project – Detention Centre visits and English language classes
  • River Nile Learning Centre – Mentor program
  • Education First Youth Foyers - Brotherhood of St Laurence – Mentor program

The XSJN members recognise that it is not enough to assist those in need – we are not truly engaged in social justice unless we seek to change those structures that keep people in poverty and social isolation.

The Network hosts advocacy events which challenge and inform the community about a range of social justice issues, including the XSJN Dinner in support of Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) and the Daring to be Different forum.

Here, XSJN members describe their involvement:

Belinda Burke - XSJN volunteer at the Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project – Family Support Through Teaching English Program

In a world where bad news makes the headlines, we need to know that people like Sister Brigid Arthur and all at Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project and many many other people in our world are open hearted and generous. The similarities between people far outweigh the differences. 

Friendship with Australians is important to asylum seekers – and we have found working with the Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project and Jesuit Social Services is a practical and effective way to help – social justice and friendship – an unbeatable combination!! 

Cath Allman- XSJN volunteer at the St Vincent de Paul - Collingwood Soup Van and at The Haven 

Cath Allman has been a ‘Soup Van Girl’ for about ten years and also volunteers at the Haven in St Kilda.

I have made lifelong friends at the Soup Van. There’s something about driving around the streets of Melbourne late at night in a mini-van, that makes you want to share your life stories, solve the world’s problems and usually have a good laugh. 

She says it is not about the food, the clients look forward to the visits more for the company. Someone to ask about their week.

Ginny Burt – XSJN volunteer at the Sacred Heart Mission – Dining Room

Ginny Burt is a busy mother of four who works part-time managing her husband’s medical practice. Yet she has still found time to help out serving and making lunch at the Sacred Heart Mission in St Kilda.

She volunteers because she believes ‘it’s important to put words into actions.’

It’s a very practical way of immersing yourself in the world of people who are less fortunate than us. Having children, I also think it’s important that they see you doing social service.