5th Annual Winter Sleep Out

22 July 2016 | General Interest


Thomas Carr College held its 5th Annual Winter Sleep Out in the gym on Friday July 22 culminating with a Pledge of Commitment Prayer Service in the chapel on Saturday July 23. It was a response not only to Pope Francis’ challenge to highlight aspects of mercy in our personal lives, but also to the plights of over 105,000 homeless Australians. 5 staff, 37 students and 1 parent, slept in the gym for one night and experienced what a homeless person faces each night.

Many thanks to staff who committed themselves to this great cause and especially to mother of two of the participants, Anne Bennett who facilitated the knitting session. For 3 years in a row, she has been donating knitted beanies to Vinnies and donated 20 beanies from that night.

The highlight of the Winter Sleep Out program was the inspirational talk by Ms Joal Presincula, a graduate member of The Peer Education Support Program. She experienced homelessness at the age of 12 and again when she was 18. When she had a baby in her 20s, she described herself as ‘couch surfer’, having to move from one home to another. She pitied herself having to witness each milestone of her baby’s growth in random homes. She kept this story to herself, lost and depressed, before finally seeking counselling, which eventually helped her manage her plight. In her speech, she emphasised a strong message: “Stay at home; finish your schooling. Your education can put you into a better place.”


On the night the students also took part in fun learning games such as the ‘Scramble for Wealth and Power relay game, ‘Celebrity Heads’ guessing game, ‘Building Shelter’ using available cardboards, ‘Building the Highest Tower’ using limited resources and finally the next morning, they all enjoyed the ‘Pokemon Hunt’ before the Pledge of Commitment took place in the chapel.

The Vinnies Soup Van served soup for dinner. Breadrolls were donated by Routley’s Bakery who we thank for their generosity.


Here are some of the insights that came about the Winter Sleep Out experience.

“I could just image how difficult it is for the homeless to face the tough weather conditions each night on the streets; they need help.” Lorraine Fereti, College Vinnies Conference member

“The students really enjoyed themselves and I believe they really benefited from the experience,” Ms Weir, Student Support Officer

“Congratulations on a wonderful venture for Winter Sleepout with a great bunch of committed students" Mrs Devine, Head of Learning: Religious Education

“I really felt the isolation, discomfort and cold that must be experienced by the sleeping rough homeless. I don't know how they can do it night after night. As a Vinnies volunteer, I was so impressed that these kids chose to follow in the footsteps of our young university student founder Frederic Ozanam. I Can't thank the students enough.” Mark Gleeson, Parent