Westbourne College Sydney Cook4Good at start of 2024

February 27, 2024

Westbourne College Sydney began the academic year with introducing newly enrolled students to CAS (IB core element) and how they can play a part in contributing to the local community. This was part of Induction Week, where all students from Westbourne College Sydney participated in a social justice activity with the charity Cook4Good.

"Cook4Good was a meaningful experience that introduced the issue of homelessness at an impassioned level. It was also incredibly inspiring to hear from those who had dealt with homelessness, now advocating and working to help support those in a similar position. The excursion left me determined to contribute and make a conscious effort to help others living in difficult circumstances,"  Helena Esber (DP2) said.

Cook4Good supports homeless people in a variety of ways, including providing healthy take-away meals for individuals and families who do not have a permanent place to live. After an introduction into how Cook4Good supports their clients, the students were given instructions on preparing food. This included cutting, peeling, cooking and packaging.

(Director of Education) Patrick McGing said, “The students were outstanding in the way that worked and quickly prepared meals for over 100 people.”

After the food preparation session, the students were surprised to hear that the young woman who had welcomed them and briefed them on Cook4Good's mission was herself a former homeless person. She explained that a 10 year corporate career ended  in a workplace accident and back injury which was treated with opiods that led to addiction and her life spiralled out of control. Her story highlighted that homeless people are like anyone else and that it only takes a few bad events for her to go from privilege to poverty. 

Later, DP2 students had the opportunity to visit parts of the city with a former homeless person who again had come from an educated middle-class background but suffered from mental illness. Students saw the life of the homeless through someone who had experienced the challenges associated with no fixed address and no meaningful employment. Again, the ultimate message was one of hope, that people are there to help and that adversity can be overcome. 

(IB Coordinator) Alicia Vallero said, "Witnessing the dedication and commitment of our students to serving the homeless community at the Cook4Good event was truly inspiring. Their genuine care and enthusiasm embodied the ethos of compassion and social responsibility that lies at the heart of the CAS program." 

(Director of Education) Patrick McGing said, “Our young people are developing as the leaders of tomorrow and it bodes well that they are so sensitive to the challenges those less fortunate face. They were, at all times, incredibly respectful and engaged. I am sure they will never forget the experience of seeing life from this different perspective and will feel empowered to make a difference.”

Westbourne’s Induction Week brings together students from all three cohorts, Year 10 - 12, collaborating in college activities as they become familiar with each other and their teachers, while settling into a new learning environment.