SACRED Heart College students recently braved stormy weather for the school’s annual Young Vinnies Winter Sleep Out.
About 80 Year 10 students took part in the event, which saw them sleep in an uncomfortable environment to get a closer look at some of the effects of homelessness and to break down some of the stereotypes.
The students were sponsored for the night and slept outside in cardboard boxes with a sleeping bag, given only soup, dry bread and Milo for their 12-hour stay.
Mobile phones, iPods, magazines, cards or any other forms of entertainment were not allowed.
They also took part in workshops with guest speakers such as Kai Sinclair, from Manna Industries, and Matthew Pasquil and Damien Card, from Passages Resource Centre in Northbridge, and watched a film about homelessness.
At the end of the evening the students put together 75 care packages of toiletry items to donate to Passages, The Shopfront and Fresh Start’s addiction recovery program.
“It was a great experience into what it’s like to be homeless and the speakers gave us a great idea on what they do on a day-to-day basis to try help the homeless,” student Jack McIntosh said.
“The sleep was uncomfortable and cold, however I would definitely recommend this to the current Year 9 students for next year.”
Another student, Tess Lott, said it was an “eye-opening experience”.
“We experienced only a very small proportion of how many people in today’s society have to live,” she said.
“In the cold, they may not have had a meal in several days and they don’t have clean warm clothing to sleep in. This experience helped us to understand how lucky we are to be able to go home to a safe and loving family and have meals cooked for us.”
This year’s Winter Sleep Out raised $2371 for Young Vinnies’ charity work at the college, which will be used to make 800 meals for the homeless and the Fun Day Out for underprivileged children in August.