Serving others: making the world a better place

"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly  clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace,  be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead."

James 2:14-17

Service is where words and thoughts become action, when each one of us can contribute to building a better world and actively work towards a more harmonious and egalitarian future. At CBC Fremantle, students are introduced to service in Year 8, and throughout their journey to graduation are guided to broaden their commitment to the wider community, to go deeper and see the greater good in living a life of compassion and caring.

Jesus said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." To give to others, to be selfless in deed and action, provides an immense sense of purpose and wellbeing. Yet, in a society that often encourages self-centredness, the act of putting someone else's needs before your own is counter-cultural to many who have been raised in our contemporary world of materialistic abundance and technological excess, and are opting out of community engagement at the physical and 'face to face' level.

At the most recent World Youth Day, Pope Francis urged young people to get off the couch and warned that spending the majority of free time glued to a device can give the illusion of safety and desensitise today's youth to the suffering of others.

"Dear young people, we didn't come into the world to vegetate ... We came for another reason: to leave a mark," the Pontiff said in his address.


Statistics show that more young people are swapping physical engagement for the couch, which can result in pressure on community and volunteer groups, including recreational clubs and environmental agencies. Youth are choosing to 'buy out' of activities that provide valuable service and support in our wider community, with young males being particularly at risk.

The Service Learning program at CBC focusses on sustaining and initiating a range of activities that are aimed at promoting a sense of achievement while concurrently making the world a better place. The program is part of the College's Mission and Identity, highlighting the intrinsic part Service plays in the CBC journey. Serving others is expected at CBC Fremantle, and the program has provided essential volunteer support for many community events and activities that assist people in need.

Students are encouraged to critically evaluate the needs of the community, to reflect and stand in solidarity with those who are marginalised and to be stewards of the Earth. From this understanding, students can provide service with the right attitude, which is to accept and respect those in need, to understand choice is often a privilege, and to see the secret to happiness lies in what can be done for others.

In his 2013 papal encyclical, Pope Francis further points out the tensions that exist between ideas and realities. He wrote: "Not to put the word into practice, not to make it reality, is to build on sand, to remain in the realm of pure ideas and to end up in a lifeless and unfruitful self-centredness and gnosticism."


Participating in service activities provides satisfaction from working as a team, developing purpose and a sense of belonging, and getting the job done. At CBC, the fraternal connection also celebrates the positive side of masculinity. Generally, boys will approach a task with energy and physicality and this can be harnessed to help the developing young men to learn and embrace healthy and constructive aspects of masculinity. When charged with the care of children, for example, boys will almost without exception end up tossing the youngsters into the air or piggy-backing a little one – boys are willing to develop relationships through having fun and being active.

Patterns of positive masculinity can help boys to learn alternatives to sexist attitudes that create gender role conflicts. These patterns emphasise behaviours like courage, responsibility,altruism, resiliency, service, social justice, positive fathering, protection of others and non-violent problem solving. Positive masculinity identifies the qualities that empower men to provide service to other people and make decisions with compassion rather than selfishness.


Goodness tends to spread. Every act and experience of service given and experienced takes root and develops. The servant becomes liberated through selflessness and grace for others, and the served becomes enlightened and empowered from receiving authentic acts of love and kindness. The world becomes a better place and, as intimated by CBC's traditional Latin motto, Palma Virtuti ('goodness is its own reward'), the act of service takes on a mutually beneficial significance that leads to a much more fulfilling life and better world.