Growing the service tree

As part of a continuing series, The Parents' Website celebrates the great community work by Independent school students and staff.

At Ballarat Grammar, a leaf is added to the Service Tree for each contribution to the community by students and staff. The school’s Service Coordinator Kristy Ward explains.

Where did the idea for the Service Tree come from, and what’s the thinking behind it?

At Ballarat Grammar we have a guardian group [of senior students] that focuses on service. They have been very active in coming up with ways to promote service in the school. The concept came from a discussion the group had with Geoff Ryan, Manager Community Development Anglicare Ballarat, about the importance of celebrating all of the service our students participate in. Service is such a significant aspect of our school culture so it is important to take time to celebrate what students and staff have been involved in.

What are some examples of the kind of service involved?

It has been so pleasing to see students participating in service activities from the 3-year-old reception area all the way through to Year 12. Students have participating in a diverse range of activities that include: Landcare Tree Planting, the Red Shield Appeal, the Melbourne Period Project (providing sanitary items for homeless women), Soup Bus Collection, Pinarc Disability Support after-school program volunteering, Nursing Home Visits, Days for Girls (sewing reusable sanitary kits for girls and women in East Timor), Ballarat Specialist School visits, Star Club after-school program for young children, and Exodus House after-school tutoring.

It was also pleasing to see many of our students use their skills and talents to support service by volunteering to umpire, coach, take photos for a community event, perform music at a charity event and help out at their local football club

Where is the tree located?

Our Service Tree is located in a prominent area near the senior school office. It is a great location as many students walk past the tree each day. It can also be seen from outside through the window.

What has been the reaction of the school community to the tree?

It has been an absolute joy to see the leaves continue to grow on the tree. It gives the school community an opportunity to reflect on our commitment to service. It also gives students a chance to see what service activities their peers and other members of the community are involved in.

If you would like to see a great example of community work from a Member School featured, contact the editor of The Parents Website, Shane Green, at