A night under the stars

The Mini Vinnies at St Paul’s Primary School, Rutherford, hosted its first ever St Vincent de Paul School Sleepout for Years 5 and 6 students.

Giving them a glimpse into the realities of homelessness, students spent one night ‘sleeping rough’ on school grounds.

On any given night in Australia, 1 in 200 people are experiencing homelessness, with more than 17,000 Australian children under the age of 12 having no permanent home.

As part of the Sleepout, students participated in a number of activities to give them a deeper understanding of the issues faced by those experiencing homelessness.

Students created cards filled with messages of hope and prayers for people experiencing hardship. These were passed onto the local Vinnies conference and were distributed to the people Vinnies assists.

Students also spent time further exploring their Catholic faith, answering questions created by the Mini Vinnies Committee, such as What is the Pope's real name? Did Jesus' disciples have families? Why do we go to Mass every week?

There were a few special guests during the night as well including local MP, Meryl Swanson, and members of the St Vincent de Paul Conference, Laurie and Michael.

It is hoped the night will encourage students to advocate for people in need in the community, raise awareness of the many faces of homelessness to help break down stereotypes and bring students together with a cause that benefits the community.

A special thank you to all the very generous people who organised, co-ordinated, ran activities, cooked, fed and supervised ‘sleeping’ students including Colleen Canny, Sharon Gillett, Sam Hill, Michelle Kot, Scott Gillett, Sharon MacFarlane-Brooker, Stacey Mullen and Doug Garnett.

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