Loyola College student MATHILDE MEAGHER reflects on her Christian Service placement with Jesuit Social Services and how this has shaped her plans for a future career.

Throughout my experience at Jesuit Social Services, I learned many values that I will now carry with me throughout my life. The staff taught us to be patient, generous, understanding and to not label people by their appearance.

During the week we spoke to many different programs and got a good understanding of what each deals with, whether it was adults coming out of the criminal justice system or even young children. They dealt with all different areas within the Justice system. We went to the Children’s court, which opened our eyes to the issues that our youth are facing. We also were able to sit in an English language class for non-English speakers and cook with them.

Throughout the week we were able to travel to Richmond, Collingwood, Camberwell, Sunshine and Brunswick. This gave us a chance to feel independent and branch out from an average week at school, to experience doing something good for the community. Everyone at Jesuit Social Services is very welcoming and friendly, you can tell they genuinely enjoy their job and enjoy watching people grow within the services they provide.

During my Christian service week, seeing Jesuit Social Services staff helping others makes me consider it as a future career when I have finished school. It seems like such a rewarding job to work in, yet also an extremely tough and confronting environment.

The program which I found the most rewarding to listen to and I thought crucial for our justice system was group conferencing. Instead of putting 10 to 18 year olds in a juvenile detention centre or jail, we should invest our time in sitting them down with all or one of the victims, the police officer, youth justice worker and others and talk about what they have done and how it has affected not just their lives. This is more confronting and often harder than just being spoken to by the courts.

Overall, during my week at Christian Service, I gained a great amount of knowledge of the justice system and the services provided by Jesuit Social Services. I appreciate the time taken to teach Renee, Molly, Julia and I throughout the many places we went and I hope students taking this on in the future, enjoy it as much as we did.