St Vincent de Paul Homelessness Awareness

Last week, Salesian College Chadstone ran several initiatives in support of the St Vincent de Paul Winter Appeal. As our traditional ‘Winter Sleep Out’ awareness event could not go ahead this year due to COVID-19, our Social Justice team (championed by Ms Angela Liyanage) got creative.

On Friday 19 June, our students participated in a Homelessness Awareness Day. Each of our Year 7 Oratory classes participated in a Homelessness Awareness activity, run by our senior students. Below, Year 10 student James Bof reflects on his experience of running a Homelessness Awareness activity for a Year 7 class.

Tell us about the Homelessness Awareness Session you ran in a Year 7 Oratory class last week. 

The session we ran went really well. We did a couple of activities. We started with a discussion on homelessness, what it looks like and any assumptions that people might have had. We then did an activity with toothpaste, which was designed to demonstrate the effects words can have on people. We ended on an activity where the boys had to pick some essential items and consider whether they would keep or lose each item. This activity demonstrated that for a homeless person, often you are required to make difficult decisions and go without many essential items.

What did our Year 7 students learn from your activity about homelessness?

The boys learnt about that once you say something, it’s out there forever and is very hard to take back. They learnt how the words they use can affect others, and how they should be more vigilant with what they say. I also hope that they gained more of an idea of what homeless people have to go through and the discrimination they can face.

Why do you think it is important for us to learn more about homelessness?

Its important for people to know that homelessness is a real problem and that we should be more aware and do more to help people experiencing homelessness. People who are running from domestic abuse, family violence, mental illness and substance abuse are experiencing a lack of essential services that would prevent them from falling into old habits. We need to educate the younger generations about the causes and effects of homelessness.

James Bof
Year 10

At lunchtime, our students also participated in Homelessness Awareness Activities. Students participated in an activity where they were required to go ‘shopping’, with only $10 to spend. This activity was designed to demonstrate the difficult decisions homeless people often have to make to ensure their survival.

Below are some photos of our Homelessness Awareness activities. To find out more about how you can support St Vincent de Paul, click here.