St Vincent de Paul Winter Sleep-Out eye-opener for Edgewater students

Maddi Fazzalari, Emilie Linahan, Crystal Smith, Liz Simmonds and Georgia Francisco.
Maddi Fazzalari, Emilie Linahan, Crystal Smith, Liz Simmonds and Georgia Francisco.

EDGEWATER students settled in for a night at school recently for the St Vincent de Paul Winter Sleep-out fundraiser.

Organiser and English teacher Vanessa Hollis said 46 Mater Dei College students from years 9 to 12 took part in the August event.

“The Winter Sleep-out is a fundraising activity that enables individuals and organisations to raise funds for the homeless and to experience homelessness first-hand,” she said.

“August 21 was a particularly cold evening but the students all seemed happy to take part in the event.

“The students set up camp in the corridors of the college and stayed the night under the supervision of staff.”

Miss Hollis said students had to seek sponsorship to participate and collectively raised more than $3200.

“There were a number of activities planned for the evening which helped raise awareness of the plight of homeless people,” she said.

Counsellor Sally Stott started the evening with a mindfulness exercise, then students were asked to consider what it was like to be homeless and to understand the potential risk factors, such as domestic violence, drugs and mental illness.

“Students viewed a video that outlined the invisibility of being homeless and then discussed how their situation can be forgotten or overlooked,” Miss Hollis said.

“Later the group enjoyed biscuits and hot chocolate, followed by a movie and bonfire and then retired to their sleeping bags.”