Do young children understand the reality of homelessness? Given that around 17% of those homeless in Australia are children aged under 12, creating an awareness of this at school age is a beneficial experience.
On Friday Night 11th August, 100 grade 6 & 7 students of Marryatville Primary School, plus 20 parents, braved the cold, sleeping out in the school grounds. Marryatville Primary is a reputable school only 5km east of the Adelaide City with around 500 students in total. This event is a fun way for kids to raise funds for the St Vincent de Paul Society whilst also making them aware of the effects of homelessness. This year they raised around $10,000 – a record total for a Primary School Sleep-out!
After hearing some stories of homeless Vinnie’s clients, the children are provided with a basic tea. They then bed down for the night on gym mats with plenty of rugs.
At 4.45am on Saturday Morning, the Adelaide RRT arrived in preparation to serve a hot breakfast. By 5.45am the sleepers were stirring! 120 bacon and egg rolls were cheerfully received by the children, who despite very little sleep remained in high spirits! A hot milo or coffee really topped off the meal, and the RRT were overwhelmed with how courteous and well-mannered the children were. It sure was interesting to greet the young kids and hear each one’s unique story of their experience!
After a group debrief at 7am, the sleepers moved off to begin their weekend after fresh and early start to their Saturday!
What a brilliant way for young kids to see the importance of having a quality education, good food and a warm bed each night. This experience will remain and inspire students to succeed both at school and in their future careers.