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Teacher gives volunteering lesson
To celebrate National Volunteer Week (13-19 May), CFA is saying “thanks a million” to its volunteers, families and employers for everything they do. This week we will feature a series of profile stories to highlight the great work and diversity of our volunteer members.
Lessons being taught in Ben Griffiths’ classroom extend well beyond the usual maths, English, science and geography.
As captain of Dromana Fire Brigade, Ben is not only leading by example within his community, but in his work as a teacher at Dromana Primary School.
“Ben is a great role model for the students and for their future in one day volunteering,” Principal Martin Page said.
It is because of this, the school supports Ben’s volunteering with CFA.
Having been a teacher at Dromana for 17 years, Ben and the school now have a system in place which allows him to attend day jobs.
“Basically when the pager goes off, Mr G decides if he needs to go and then we all split into our fire groups and go to other classrooms to keep on working,” Grade 6 student Bridie Gude said.
“It’s pretty exciting because when he gets back, he tells us all about it and sometimes he smells like ash,” Grade 5 student Louis Tancredi added.
Ben said without the support of the school, he wouldn’t be able to commit the time he needed to CFA and to being captain of his brigade.
“The school has always been very supportive of my volunteering,” he said.
“As the students split into their fire groups and attend another class, it’s effectively 150-plus people helping me to do my job, it’s really great.
“But my duty of care is to the kids so I do have to be selective in what jobs I attend and have good systems in place to not disrupt the students too much.”
Ben has been volunteering with CFA for more than 21 years, including five years as captain.
“Dad had been involved with CFA for as long as I could remember so I’d grown up in the fire brigade and joined when I was 17,” Ben said.
“I think it’s really important to give something back to the community and I really enjoying being able to help people.”
This is an important lesson taught in Ben’s class.
“I’m always talking to the kids about being a volunteer and why we need volunteers, such as those in the CFA,” Ben said.
“It’s been really great to see over the years too about half a dozen former students get involved with the brigade and also the students I’ve got now really showing an interest in volunteering.
“Teaching and volunteering are my life and are just a part of who I am.”
The story also features in this week’s Mornington Peninsula Leader.
- Story by Kayla Maskell