On Friday 7th August, a group of Year 10 students participated in the Anglicare Sleepout 2020. All funds raised by the sleepout go directly to support the Anglicare Street Connect Bus.

Street Connect assists, supports and educates 15 to 25 year old homeless and street-present young people. It is a mobile, bus based, program staffed by professional youth workers. They actively seek out young people in need and make connections with marginalised young people who gather regularly in public places in the hope of engaging with them in positive life changes.

Research has indicated a tendency for such young people to eventually slide into substance abuse, mental health problems, and self-harm without professional intervention. Typically, these young people have experienced family breakdown or drug and alcohol issues – these are not problems that they can resolve on their own, they need to be overcome with professional support. Street Connect works to reduce the amount of time young people experiencing homelessness spend on Perth streets. The team of youth workers engage with young people in several ways, from a friendly face on the street, to crisis intervention and intensive case management.

The sleepout is usually held at the Optus stadium where students from Anglican Schools across the metropolitan area gather and are given, as far as is possible in a simulation, a taste of what life is like for the homeless youth of Perth. Sadly, this year this gathering was scuppered by the COVID pandemic. Instead of cancelling the whole event and thereby forgoing this vital fundraising initiative, students around the city and state slept out at their schools and in their backyards so they could still take part in this important cause.

Eight PMACS students and I participated in the event this year. We used the St Gregory’s Chapel facilities to complete various homelessness-based activities sent to us by Anglicare via text and email. We were given an Anglicare Sleepout 2020 soup recipe. We made this soup in the Chapel servery and then gathered around a fire in the alfresco area to enjoy the delicious soup and reflect on the plight of the homeless youth of Perth. Students then retired for the night and slept under the alfresco outside the Chapel. It was windy and cold! They built makeshift windbreaks with trestles tables to help shelter from the cold wind.

In total, 350 students from Anglican Schools participated in the event. They raised $102,000.00 for Street Connect. This is a new record and an amazing effort by all the students.

My congratulations go to Noah Carey, Kaine Fisher, Ryan Gilling, Eleanor McNamara, Erynn Morrisey, Maddie Redhead, Travis Woolley and Leon Zahos. They lived up to the Values espoused by PMACS and which form part of our new strategic plan:

Faith:                    Living by Christian values in the service of others

Excellence:           Striving to be the best you can for yourself and others

Compassion:        Showing empathy, being kind and supporting others

Respect:               Valuing self and others, acting with care for the world

Responsibility:    Honouring your commitments, being accountable for your actions 

Courage:              Daring to do the right thing and embracing challenges

Congratulations to them all.

God bless,
Rev Dave