A group of Year 8 St Margaret’s students have spent a Friday night in St John’s Cathedral to walk a mile in the shoes of homeless youths and raise much needed funds to help homeless and disadvantaged people in the community.
Run by Anglicare Southern Queensland, ‘A Night in the Cathedral’ aims to raise awareness amongst school students of the issue of youth homelessness and the fact 40 per cent of Queensland’s homeless are under the age of 25.
The thirteen Year 8 students raised over $700 through fundraising activities and camped out in the cathedral alongside St Margaret’s Chaplain The Reverend Canon Nicki Colledge and Head of Year 8 Claire Bloomer.
The Rev’d Colledge said watching the students setting up their beds for the night in the Cathedral precinct brought home the realisation that they were “playing” something this night that for others was an everyday occurrence.
“Sleeping on cold stone with only a layer of cardboard for padding certainly built an appreciation for the comforts of home, on so many levels.
“One night’s experience opened their eyes to the plight and circumstances of others in their own city, and hopefully their empathy hasn’t diminished on their return to their own warm beds and fridges of food,” said Rev Colledge.
Participating student Lily Shann described the experience as eye-opening.
“I felt as if sometimes the things I have, such as a comfortable bed and a roof over my head, are taken for granted.
“This experience has shown me that not everyone has life’s basic necessities such as a roof over their head and a soft, warm bed and that we should be grateful for these things,” Lily said.
Another participant, Emi McBride, said she could now empathise with those who are homeless after having the opportunity to walk in their shoes.
“Sleeping on cement with merely a thin layer of cardboard to separate you from the ground and keep you comfortable is extremely different to my fluffy mattress and pillows at home.
“I was able to empathise with the homeless youths because I walked in their shoes, although not quite to the full extent.
“It made me realise I am fortunate to have shelter, a protective roof over my head and food and water,” Emi said.