Head of Service Learning / Art & Religious Education Teacher
Our new approach has us learning with those in need.
Before moving into the education industry, Liss Campbell worked for many years as Graphic Designer and Illustrator for World Vision Australia. She was also the Creative Director of the 40 Hour Famine.
Liss holds a Bachelor of Arts and after completing her Dip Ed, she joined
Camberwell Girls in 2012 to teach both art and religious education. In 2017, she was appointed Head of Service Learning, a role perfectly suited to her.
Ultimately, the role exists to help all members of the Camberwell Girls community live out the School’s motto, mission, vision and values.
“I do this through teaching Service Learning classes, coordinating experiential learning opportunities, developing partnerships with local, national and international not-for-profit organisations and leading an annual trip to Cambodia to immerse the girls in a developing context,” says Liss.
During 2016, Liss together with another teacher, Brett Stout conducted a review of the School’s Social Justice Program and they discovered just how ad-hoc the approach was.
“We appeared to be throwing money at a huge number of organisations but had no connection to their cause or those they worked with,” she says.
Liss created an entire new model. “Our new approach seeks to have us learn from our walk with and alongside those in need, rather than doing things to them or for them that they could otherwise do themselves,” says Liss.
The new model is about empowerment. The organisations we partner and work with should be in some way empowered through the experience and so should our girls.
“I think we fully find ourselves more when we serve. I want our girls and staff to have a big heart for others, knowing that serving others humbly in whatever capacity, has the potential to change people’s lives and bring great joy and meaning to their own life,” she says.
Liss’s passion stems from personal experiences. She was born with a heart defect but thankfully because she lived in Australia, she survived. After giving birth to her first son, she was told that it would be too risky to put her heart through childbirth again. So, she adopted her youngest son from the Philippines. These experiences confirmed her passion for working with and helping others.
“I feel a great weight of what Warren Buffett called the ‘ovarian lottery’. I was born here, have a great family and had great opportunities. If I was born in most other countries I wouldn’t have survived my heart defects.
“We know that the empowerment of girls, in particular, is one of the most powerful ways to break the cycle of extreme poverty”
Our son JM is ultimately a member of our family because of the devastating effects of poverty. We feel blessed to have this amazing person in our life. I can’t imagine having to make the excruciating decision as a parent to give up a child because I knew I didn’t have the money and resources to care and provide for them,” says Liss.
Liss admits that she is often overwhelmed with the world’s issues and that she is forever thinking about how she can change the injustices that she sees.
“Ghandi essentially said that ‘we need to be the change we wish to see in the world’ – that is why I do what I do,”
The biggest highlight of the role Liss says is seeing the students or staff return from an experience full of joy and transformed in some way through their encounter with others.
“Witnessing those powerful ‘ah-ha’ moments is so extremely rewarding,”
she says with a huge grin.
Service is in the DNA of Liss’s family. She met husband Matt at church many years ago. Along with their two sons Will and JM they fully live out their Christian faith. They support a number of NGO’s financially, serve in formal roles through their local church and they sponsor
“We know that the empowerment of
girls in particular is one of the most powerful ways to break the cycle of extreme poverty.”
In addition, both sons have, as part of their pocket money a regular amount designated to those less fortunate “After a conversation with us they decide who they give this to,” she says.
While there are many who inspire Liss to live a life of service, first and foremost she says it is the call of the Bible to, Act Justly, Love Mercy and Walk Humbly with God.
“Also Jesus and his indiscriminate example of counter-cultural love and service regardless of who they were and where they came from.”
Liss, we thank you for setting such a fine example and empowering our Camberwell girls and staff to share peace, restore justice and to immitate the actions of Christ.