A Good Night In

The Vinnies Good Night In is an annual state-wide event, designed to bring people and communities together to share, give and connect. It aims to raise funds for thousands of Western Australians experiencing hardship, especially the homeless.

Almost 40 members of our Young Vinnies group from Years 7 – 12 participated in the event held here at Santa Maria. Each student contributed $10.00 to this important Catholic organisation.

Vinnies WA has a particular aim over the next few years; to end rough sleeping for the vulnerable. The St Vincent De Paul Society encourages people to remain home on this one night and donate funds they would otherwise spend on entertainment and restaurants. A donation of $100 can help a struggling family keep the power on and a roof over their heads.

The Santa Maria Young Vinnies Co-curricular group met in the Community Room for three hours after school last Friday. After a milo and some biscuits, the girls began a sensory activity identifying what they thought they knew about poverty and homelessness. The video Choir of Hard Knocks about homeless people connecting socially by singing together was shown to the girls. They also viewed part of the television program Filthy Rich and Homeless. This showed how difficult it was for people living on the streets and how easy it is to become disconnected and invisible in society.

A light supper of a cup of soup and a bun, was served to the girls, something homeless people are often given by charity organisations. Our guest speaker, Christine Aldous, spoke about her service work and gave us an understanding of who is homeless and what life is really like. We participated in an Empathy activity. The participants were seated in circles with a variety of shoes lined up in front of them. They were given scripts loosely based on the lives of real people Christine had encountered in her work. There were examples of young and old, female and male, refugees and local people who had experienced social exclusion and poverty. The girls each chose a pair of shoes our scripted person would possibly wear. They then answered questions posed by the group from the perspective of their allocated person. This really made the girls think about the plight of vulnerable people in society.

Student Reflections

The Vinnies Good Night In provided an excellent opportunity for me to reflect on the issue of homelessness and poverty in Australia, especially within our local community. The engaging activities helped me to think about what it would be like to experience homelessness and essentially walk in their shoes. It was an eye-opening evening that will help inspire those in the Vinnies co-curricular group to continue to find ways to support the vulnerable in our community. Abbey Young 

I was so grateful to be able to attend the Vinnies Good Night In as I learnt many valuable ways I can assist those without a home or living in poverty in our country. I found this eye-opening session incredibly insightful and informative, and I feel more encouraged to go out and aid those less fortunate than me. Abbey Winship

I attended the Vinnies Good Night In as an opportunity to learn about the issue of homelessness and how we as a school can help those most vulnerable in our society. I gained a deeper appreciation of the struggles faced by those disadvantaged in our community and hope the donations we collected on the night can be used to assist them! Lauren Winship

We hold this night to not only provide information about homelessness but to encourage us to put ourselves in the shoes of someone who is living in poverty. This night was a great way for us to open our eyes to the way the homeless live and feel. We also learned how we, as Santa Maria students, can help the homeless. This event was very special and I’m sure every girl left the night with a new perspective and thinking about homelessness in a different way. Maddy Brown

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