Last Friday evening, 30 students and six staff members participated in the winter sleepout here at the College to raise funds for Vincent Care- Ozanam House in North Melbourne. The aim of the sleepout was to continue to raise awareness of the increasingly alarming situation of the plight of rough sleepers and long term homeless here in Melbourne.
Our students and staff participated in an act of solidarity for one evening, sleeping outside in less than favourable weather conditions, but in a demonstration of the understanding that has been gained that not everyone has safe and secure lodgings on any given night here in Melbourne, and that some members of our community are faced with very vulnerable situations in relation to establishing a place of residence for their wellbeing.
The evening commenced with a visit to the newly opened Ozanam House in Flemington Road North Melbourne, where the students and staff were greeted by a client, Gary and one of the Managers, Katrina, who engaged us in a talk about the new centre, the outreach services offered and the overall client base who accesses Ozanam House. This insightful experience allowed us to return to the College later that evening to reflect on what we had heard and what we could be thinking about in terms of practical assistance that we could offer in the future.
Our visit to Ozanam House allowed us to hand over $2,745 worth of donated gift cards which will translate into much needed funds for allowing clients who access Vincent Care to purchase essential goods. Ozanam House is very touched by the enormous demonstration of generosity and thoughtful concern that the College community has displayed towards Vincent Care and the services they offer. On behalf of the College I also take the opportunity to extend my sincerest appreciation to our students, families and staff for contributing to this wonderful amount. Your generosity, sense of gratitude, thoughtful concern for others and loving kindness was most evident.
Back at the College students were give a “soup van” meal, watched two very poignant you tube clips on the homeless crises in Melbourne, engaged in a student voice forum and concluded with a prayer, before settling down for a cold and windy night in the mansion courtyard. The staff and students certainly appreciated the privilege we all have and sometimes take for granted to live in secure and comfortable surroundings.
It is with much gratitude that I thanks the following list of participants:
Our staff members, Dianne Ambrousi, Nadia Di Blasi, Tania Jovanovic, Teresa Pilone and Jade West,
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