By Kirra Grimes

KORUMBURRA Secondary College students have been putting the concept of ‘paying it forward’ into practice with a range of projects to help their local community.
Over the last month, students in the school’s year 10 ACE class have been working on projects based on ‘random acts of kindness,’ including making plush toys for Karmai Community Children’s Centre; cleaning up the gardens at the Korumburra cemetery; picking up rubbish after Coal Creek’s Halloween celebrations; spending time with residents of Carinya Lodge; and preparing a meal for members of the Korumburra Fire Brigade after a training session.
ACE teacher Jodie Matthews said the Random Acts of Kindness project was all about helping students see the positive impacts of contributing to their community.
“The idea was to get them to do something rather than just raise money and we wanted them to think locally, not globally so they could see the ‘pay it forward effect’ and how that makes you feel. “Because a lot of the time when you send money overseas, you don’t really know where it ends up and the impact that it’s actually having, whereas you can see that in your own community.”
Ms Matthews said the school had been running the Random Acts of Kindness project for the past three years as a way of upholding its mission statement about creating respectful, resilient members of the community.
Students Emily Lesjak and Jade Dixon chose to help out the South Gippsland Animal Shelter at the Korumburra veterinary clinic for their project, which involved collecting donations of blankets and pet food.
“One of our friends did work experience at the Korumburra vet and saw how many rescued animals were coming in all the time that the vets have to provide food and blankets for,” said Emily.
“We both really like animals, so we thought it was a good idea. And it’s really good to do something kind for the community and not expect anything back.”