Volunteering is engrained in the culture of Brisbane Grammar School. From students through to parents, Old Boys and many others in between, volunteerism has thrived at BGS from its founding in 1868. Today our volunteers are more prevalent than ever; from our students dedicating time as global citizens in Cambodia, to our Old Boys, parents and friends and Board of Trustees giving up their time closer to home. Quite simply, our great school would not be the school it is without its volunteers.
Volunteers are happier, healthier, and sleep better than those who don’t volunteer. This isn’t a feel-good fortune cookie message – it is a statement backed up by research by Volunteering Australia. So it’s fair to suggest the hundreds of volunteers at Brisbane Grammar School should certainly be sleeping well, and feeling happy and healthy.
BGS has a proud tradition of volunteering, with our students giving up their time at home and abroad. Some of the major volunteer efforts throughout 2015 were students getting their hands dirty as part of Clean Up Australia Day, others dedicated time at a nursing home, engaging with the residents. Others still volunteered as part of Homeless Connect, donating and sorting clothes, cooking breakfast, and playing music. Voluntary community service has become such a vital part of BGS, both in school and beyond.
Many of our Old Boys who caught the volunteering bug at school, have continued to give back after graduating. Earlier this year BGS Old Boy Dr Tan Kitipornchai (’06) spent 18 days working with a volunteer organisation at mobile medical clinics in remote Nepal villages. Due to fly home the day the devastating earthquake struck Nepal, he delayed his trip for a further month to help with disaster relief efforts.
Our Old Boys’ Association, founded in 1898, is made up of volunteers who see the benefits not just in fostering a continued sense of belonging to the BGS community, but also in giving back to the community that gave them so much. Some of our alumni have returned to the School to pass on their life and career lessons. The OBA voluntarily organises a number of events and fundraisers, including the major Annual Reunion Dinner. Proceeds raised from their initiatives have supported existing OBA Bursaries: the RH Roe Scholarship, the JG Nolan Bursary and the Frank Shaw Bursary, and contributed to the establishment of a teaching award.
Many areas of BGS could not run as efficiently and effectively without volunteers. There is a vast number of parents who volunteer their time through the many support groups within the School community. Sport alone takes hundreds of volunteers to provide our students with the opportunities available to them. From manning the canteen, scoring, coaching, transporting, medical support and fundraising – our volunteer support groups make BGS sport what it is today. Former BGS parent Ian Reeves received a Medal of the Order of Australia in the 2015 Australia Day Awards, after 30 years volunteering in junior sport. He was one of the founders of BGS cricket support group The Willow Club, many decades ago.
The volunteers of our Parents and Friends’ Auxiliary play an irreplaceable role at BGS. Though their work at the Grammar Shop, Tuckshop and the organisation of many yearly events often doesn’t attract the recognition it deserves, it is integral to the day-to-day running of the School. More than that, the funds raised from the shops are returned to the School by way of project funding for the benefit of the boys, both current and future.
From the laying of the BGS foundation stone on 29 February 1868 to the present day, the Board of Trustees has steered the School through changing economic and political times to ensure the values enshrined in the Grammar Schools Act 1860 are maintained and the School continues to have an active role in the community.
Volunteering is a vital component of Brisbane Grammar School, serving not only the School but the global community.
Read more about BGS volunteerism in the latest edition of grammar news below.