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Anglicare Sleep Out

On Friday the 17th of August 2019, a group of Year 11 students braved the cold for the 2019 Anglicare WA School Sleep Out. The event was held at Optus Stadium and as everyone arrived, they were met with rain, rain and more rain. Many of the students were soaked on their way in which wasn’t the best start to the night, but as we were told by Anglicare staff, it is the rainy weather that the homeless prefer as it is considered ‘safer’. This really hit home for a lot of us – to prefer sleeping in the rain seemed absurd but in reality, it makes sense. As the students from a number of WA schools arrived, they each received a lanyard with an identity of someone who was homeless. They had to adopt this identity for the first activity which was a Homeless Simulation. After joining up with the students from other schools, each group had to complete a number of activities – applying for Centrelink, applying for identification, finding shelter etc. This quickly became very frustrating as throughout the activity the groups were met with obstacles such as being turned away and losing all of your paperwork. This activity provided insight into the real life obstacles faced by those who are truly homeless and as frustrating as it was for our students, they knew this was nothing in comparison to living it each and every day.

After the simulation it was time to set up our sleeping bags for the night. We thought we had a fantastic spot away from the wind before we were told it was an emergency exit, so we had to move. This wasn’t our first move of the night. After setting up it was time for dinner which was wonderful, warm soup with bread rolls. For the next few hours everyone sat around chatting as the night grew colder. Most of us began to settle and attempt to sleep on the pieces of cardboard that were given to us, but not everyone! Some students stayed awake for the entire night! Those of us who did fall asleep weren’t asleep for long. Before we knew it there were lights in our faces and the sounds of sirens! Security guards were telling us to ‘move on’. We had to pick up all of our belongings and find somewhere else to sleep. We resettled, and after what seemed like an eternity it was 5:45am and we were being woken up for breakfast. We packed up our belongings (again), had a light breakfast and debriefed the entire event. It was a definite eye opener and such a fantastic experience. We realised just how privileged we actually are and just how much we take for granted.

As a group, we are incredibly proud to say that we raised $4781 to go towards Street Connect, Anglicare WA’s mobile youth homelessness service. A lot of Middle School and Senior School students helped as well! The Bake Sale that we held on Friday raised $540 which is a significant portion of our overall total! A special mention goes out to Darcie Mitchell for raising $1184 – she was the third highest fundraiser out of all 350 students!

Well done to all the students who participated for fundraising, raising awareness and giving up your Friday night to take part in such an important event.

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