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Students Show Solidarity

14 August, 2015

More than 50 students from Catholic College Sale and Lavalla Catholic College woke up to the cold after a chilly night spent outside. The group were participating in the annual Catholic College Sale Homeless Sleepout.

In an effort to show solidarity for the more than 105,000 Australians who did not have a warm bed or a home to go to, the students slept under the stars on beds made of cardboard, after a meal of only soup and bread.

Catholic College Sale Religious Education Coordinator Ms Sue Pickett said that this was the fifth year that the gathering had been held at the College but it was always completely driven by the Year 11 Catholic Schools Youth Ministry (CSYMA) students. “It is through the selflessness of these students that we are able to raise awareness of the plight of many fellow Australians” said Ms Pickett. “The students feel strongly about the plight of the homeless, especially as the numbers are made up of more than 25,000 people under the age of 18.”

Participants made donations of canned goods on the evening which were donated to the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul, to distribute to local families in need, but the real message is delivered the day after the sleepout when the students are expected to get up and dress in their school uniforms and function at school for the day. “I think what strikes me most is the fact that once everyone has their uniform on, they are no different from any other student in the school” said Kayla Holmes, former CCS student and staff member “So would we recognise one of our fellow students who may be living with homelessness for real – everyday?”.

Guest speaker Captain David Ebsary from the Salvation Army in Sale spoke to the group about this very issue. He said that on any given night up to 150 people, 50 of them kids under the age of 18, are homeless or sleeping rough in the Wellington Shire – a staggering statistic.

So the question was raised – what can we do to help? The Salvation Army and St Vinnies have many programs running to assist those in need, and are always looking for volunteers. Through the College, many students are involved in the Melbourne soup van run, volunteering in local thrift shops and raising awareness for those in need.

“Are you somehow better than the homeless or just better off?” HuffPost