Papanui High School students in Christchurch demonstrate how they make a positive impact in their community with the SVA Service Award programme.

Having a passionate and dedicated service council is a great start to a school volunteering programme. Papanui High School's council has recently helped with collections for the RSA, Heart Kids Canterbury and MS/PD. Last month they also worked with their local Rotary, Papanui Community board and the UC SVA team to plant native trees in the Papanui bush area beside their school. This term they're planning a working bee at their local Plunket rooms.

Working together with other community groups is an effective way for students to learn valuable collaborative project management skills and form their own networks in their communities. It also ensures that many different groups of people are represented and have their voices heard.

"This is the first year we have run a service council and we can see it getting bigger and better."

Bex, Papanui High School teacher

The students are already on the road to earning SVA Service Award Gold Pins by logging their volunteer hours on their individual profiles on the SVA Service Award website.

As well as the school council activities, individual students have completed a range of volunteering such as working at Kimi Ora alongside students with special needs, being leaders in a Peer Support programme, painting a school production set, working at a local rest home, volunteering as guides at a school open night and coaching numerous junior sports teams.

Interested to know which community groups you could work alongside in your community? Find a cause that you feel passionate about and talk with your local volunteer centre about organisations to approach. Volunteer with friends and make earning SVA Service Award Pins a social event!