Ursula Frayne successful event ‘raises the roof’ for WA’s youth homelessness

10 October 2023

Sleeping out in the cold wet weather is not easy, but Ursula Frayne Catholic College (UFCC) proved otherwise when over 200 students (Years 7 to 12) and 25 staff slept outside their College vicinity in makeshift cardboard box shelters. Adding to this number, 50 students pledged their support by completing the sleepout on a different day, with friends and family.

The sleepover event was the culmination of a four-week fundraising drive to support homeless youth in Western Australia through Vinnies WA and Passages Youth Engagement Hubs.

The community of Ursula Frayne Catholic College raised $35,493 of the state total of $57,363 to support the most at-risk and vulnerable youth in their local community.

Principal Geoff Mills said, the event was particularly successful in uniting the community and provided the College an opportunity to raise money for a important cause.

‘Ursula Frayne Catholic College’s Vinnies WA Tough Night Out 2023 was a truly remarkable and successful event, not only for the incredible amount of money raised to support homeless youth but also for the Christian Service-Learning experience shared by students from all years of the Duncan Street campus. This event would not have been possible without the incredible and overwhelming community support given to the College by local businesses and organisations, who contributed a total of $4,000 to the event costs as well as advertising in their stores throughout Victoria Park and neighbouring suburbs. Ursula Frayne Catholic College would like to acknowledge and wholeheartedly thank the following contributors for making this event the unprecedented success it was.’

The opening of the event, which was live streamed on UFCC Facebook by a student media team, began with a series of special guest speakers. An Acknowledgment of Country and talk was presented by the Town of Victoria Park Mayor, Karen Vernon, who shared her perspectives and experiences with the homeless as a lawyer, Mayor, and member of the State Operations Committee of the Society of Saint Vincent De Paul. Vinnies WA President, David Kennedy then spoke on the history and impact of the Saint Vincent De Paul Society and shared his heartfelt thanks for the passion and dedication Ursula Frayne demonstrated toward helping the homeless youth of Western Australia. Vinnies WA Community and Business Development Officer, Sarah Littauer, and Passages Youth Engagement Hub Community Engagement Officer, Nicole Gunn, then shared information and statistics regarding homelessness and homeless youth in Western Australia, as well as the vital services provided to homeless youth through Passages Youth Engagement Hubs in Perth and Peel.

Once the opening presentations and livestream had concluded, students turned in their phones for this technology-free event and began to construct their cardboard shelters in the secured College courtyard area. Once shelters had been constructed, Middle and Senior School students moved to separate areas of the College to connect with and reflect upon the challenges and experiences faced by those experiencing homelessness in our communities.

Following the reflection session, students moved through the ‘UFCC Soup Kitchen’ and shared a modest supper together. Toward the end of supper four special guests arrived from the Western Australian Police Force, Kensington Police: Constable Akash Verma, Constable Brayden Heath, Constable Ryan Russell, and Constable Georgia Logue (who is an ex-student of Ursula Frayne Catholic College). These young police officers spent time with the students before they settled in their cardboard shelters for the night. The outstanding contribution these police officers made to the event is deeply acknowledged and appreciated by the College.

Students and staff came together for a final celebration and prayer before students were reunited with their phones and families and departed, back to the comfort of their homes.

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