Irene McCormack students from Years 11 and 12 recently took part in the annual Winter Sleepout to gain a firsthand experience about homelessness and the realities that come with living on the streets. On Thursday 24 August, 61 students experienced sleeping in the cold night air with only a cardboard box and pillow, after a dinner of water, soup and bread.
Miss Cherie Milne, Irene’s Service Learning Program Coordinator at the College, invited Paula Angel to speak to students and share her personal story. Paula has experienced homelessness and was able to share her traumatic experiences and how she fought to survive and stay positive throughout her experiences. The students were very appreciative of Paula’s willingness to share her story, and were left in awe of her positive attitude. Miss Milne said “Paula spoke from the heart. She was open and genuine in all that she shared with our students, allowing them to ask her anything about her journey. Paula’s strength and positivity was infectious.” The College community also got involved in fundraising and recognising homelessness by collecting donations such as winter clothing and bedding, canned foods and toiletries for The Shopfront in Maylands. Year 11 students also raised over $650.00 through a sponsorship drive as part of their Irene’s Service Learning which will be gifted to the St. Vincent de Paul Society. “The students found the experience incredibly rewarding and enlightening, showing them firsthand how our donations were going to make a difference in other people’s lives” said Miss Milne.