Staff and students of St John Bosco College at Engadine have thrown their support behind the Vinnie’s Winter Appeal, participating in the Winter SleepOut event last Friday 18 June.
The College’s Student Leadership team, together with the Social Justice Leaders, Youth Ministry Coordinator, Religious Education Coordinator and other staff volunteers slept out on Friday night with nothing but a cardboard base, sleeping bag and a single small blanket.
Angela Giampietro, Youth Ministry Coordinator at St John Bosco College, said that the event was aimed at giving the students an opportunity to open their eyes and hearts to those who live much less fortunate lives than they do.
“Our students are the drivers of change for future generations,” said Angela. “It is important that we as a college, give them the opportunity to open their eyes and their hearts to issues that exist in our society.
“[We want] to challenge their actions and attitudes towards homelessness in our community and our world”.
“We want to challenge their actions and attitudes towards homelessness in our community and our world”.
Together the group heard from the President of the St Vincent De Paul Society in the Archdiocese of Sydney, Mr Tony Cranney, who spoke to the students about his work for Vinnies and the reality of homelessness in Australia. Mr Cranney was accompanied by Mouna Roche, Sydney Catholic School’s Education Officer for Church Engagement.
The night was filled with lessons and group activities aimed at helping the students learn about homelessness and practical ways to support those in need.
Social Justice Leaders Fletcher Scully and Ella King, both year 12 students, were among the group sleeping out.
“Not only did the Winter SleepOut teach us about the dangers and risks facing many homeless Australians every night, it also gave us an important awareness about the companies supporting those in need,” said Fletcher. “By experiencing one aspect of homelessness, sleeping on the floor for a night, we were able to better understand and empathise with those who may be facing it tough this winter.
“Hopefully we all learned how to support them in the future.”
“It was such a great way to try to understand and empathise with others who are homeless,” said Ella, “while also realising how grateful we are to have the small things in life that we sometimes take for granted.
“This experience is definitely something I will remember for a long time.”