A culture of compassion and kindness has gone a long way to helping this school community through recent unprecedented times. 

Reflecting on what has been an extraordinary year, Principal, Mrs Kim Kiepe, said Somerville House staff have a long-standing tradition of ‘giving back’ and at the heart of the School is a strong circle of support for one another.

“Seeing the support amongst my colleagues for the wellbeing of their peers and contributing so generously to our staff giving program (StaffCare) is a testament to our school spirit,” Mrs Kiepe said.

“This generosity extends well beyond the front gates with staff rallying together to provide assistance and support to the broader community,” she said. 

“Recently, we have raised money for schools who have been impacted by natural disasters, including the North Queensland floods and the Victorian bushfires; examples of when our staff and students come together to support families in need.”

“One family described their gratitude for the donation, explaining that the gift was not just of money but rather, of hope. Hope that people care and want to help others in their time of need,” Mrs Kiepe said.

“It is this message of hope that encompasses the Christian teachings of our school,” she said.

Senior Chaplain, Ms Chris O’Gorman, explains that StaffCare was paramount during 2020, and exemplified the Christian ethos of the School. She said the program’s mission statement perfectly describes its purpose of supporting and enhancing the caring actions of the staff community at Somerville House.  

“Over the past six years, we have provided meals and vouchers for groceries and fuel, as well as contributing to flights and medical expenses for those in our staff community who have needed a helping hand,” Ms O’Gorman said.

“Just as we educate our students, our staff have demonstrated the significance of acting as a community of care, modelling the servant leadership of Jesus Christ,” she said. 

“I am so proud to be a part of our school community and feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude, knowing that we encourage moral responsibility and personal involvement in service to our colleagues.”

StaffCare was established in 2014 and has assisted several Somerville House staff since its inception. Designed by the staff for the staff, the purpose of the initiative is to provide financial and physical assistance for any school staff member who is experiencing a crisis, whether that be financial, health-related or a family emergency. This is a voluntary and confidential program at the School, with staff able to nominate a specific donation amount to be deducted from their pay and redirected to the initiative.