Australia’s running low on volunteers.

But one group of Millennials are keen to put up their hand.

Time magazine once called Millennials, those born between 1981 and 1996, as the “Me Me Me Generation.” When ABC radio asked listeners if Australians have become more self-centred, nearly ¾ of us said “yes!” 

It’s unfair. The Cardus Education Survey of 2020 found that large numbers of twenty-to-thirty-somethings in Australia are signing up to volunteer. Especially if it involves helping the poor. 

And we can thank God for that. Because Australia has a volunteer crisis. 

A few weeks ago, SBS reported that Australia is running out of volunteers. Up until 2010, one in every three Australians volunteered to serve the community. After Covid, it’s down to one in four. They say, we’re now down by 2 million volunteers.

Australia’s leaders are worried about it. Especially Andrew Leigh, the Minister for Charities who is passionate about volunteering. 

Minister Leigh isn’t religious himself, but he openly admits that people volunteer when they’re part of voluntary societies, like churches and unions. If we see a downturn there, he’s worried that “Australia faces the collapse of community life.”

Which is why we’d like to introduce Minister Leigh to Ann (or at least ask him to watch this brief video from Ann about Christian schools and volunteering.)

Ann has seen what the experts at Cardus found in their survey. That students who are shaped by the teachers at Christian Schools are much more likely to volunteer in their community after they leave school.

They’re more likely to volunteer to serve older Australians, and the poor, than students from any other type of school.  

Why is this happening? It’s not because students at Christian Schools are innately better people. To put it politely, in every kind of school, just about every student will have their selfish, self-involved, emotionally dysregulated days. This is true across  low-income suburbs and low-income suburbs, multi-ethnic communities and the more anglo-celtic communities, and all our children are perfectly imperfect. 

But the variation of their classroom experiences, and classroom leadership, are clearly shaping students to make different life choices. 

To put it more succinctly, the difference is Ann.

Ann spent many years teaching in the public system. But she chose to take her skills (Ann’s a music teacher) into a Christian school, so she’s free to share her living faith. Her belief “that Jesus came to be a servant for all.”

This is happening all around the country. Students lock on to teachers like Ann. They watch how she makes an extra effort to serve children. They see her care, not just about their academic performance, but their spiritual life too. 

When kids see this, they’re open to hearing what motivates a teacher’s posture of service. When they learn that this desire to serve comes from an experience of God serving us, then a change starts to happen. 

The bottom line is, when teachers like Ann are able to express their beliefs that God has come to serve us; we’ll see more students signing up to serve in their own communities.