Category: News

Reaching out to the youth 30 years on…

We have now started to outreach in South Brisbane on Tuesday night. The feedback we have received so far is very positive. Some of our friends on the street wait for us at the park. Other hang around with us until we leave.

Rosies received many expression of interest of young people under 18 who want to get involved and cannot volunteer with us due to their age. Well, San Sisto College find an alternative for their year 7s and 8s. The school committed to help Rosies every month by sending a group of students to the Brisbane outreach room. Students help us by cleaning the vans and room, restocking, and much more! It makes a big difference to all our teams in Brisbane.  Likewise many other schools actively supporting Rosies throughout the year,  San Sisto college Year 12 take part to our Student Engagement Program.

On the Gold Coast Rosies Coordinator Kathleen paid a visit to Elanora State High School. The school coordinated a much appreciated drive of non perishable food for our drop in centre in Southport.

Last but not least, our friends from Making a Difference (MaD) have collected and put together in a record time sixty backpacks filled with men’s toiletries for our Logan branch.

Tomorrow Rosies will be at Schoolies for the 30th consecutive year helping young school leavers stay hydrated while celebrating. We wish a safe and enjoyable time to all school leavers and a week without worry to their parents.

A new hope

Rosies is blessed to have such a wonderful diversity of volunteers. Bachar and Emil, Christian Syrian refugees  arrived in Toowoomba less than a year ago. They happily joined Rosies to make a difference in their adoptive country. Bachar and Emil come to outreach every Friday to spend time with our friends on the street. It is a great joy having them among us in Toowoomba. On another note the branch farewell one of its founding member, Annette.  Annette and her husband David are relocating to where the fish are biting. We will miss them.

Meanwhile, Rosies Ipswich branch held their volunteer Recognition Ceremony. Awards were presented by Mark from the Board of Rosies. The team welcomed  Costa Georgiadis from gardening Australia on outreach. Costa made himself available to all. Many of our friends on the street asked him questions and took photos with him. Costa was quite impressed with how the Rosies team interacted with not only himself as a guest but also the patrons. He shook everybody’s hand before leaving.

There a few social events across the branches in the last few days. On the Gold Coast, the Rotary Carousel Broadbeach invited our coordinator, Kathleen for a talk. The Rotary made a donation to the branch for the purchase of light and folding benches at the new outreach venue on Hamilton Avenue, Southport. In Wynnum Manly the Rosies team met with our friends at Wellington Manor. The retirement village has been supportive of the local branch from the beginning.  On the Sunshine Coast Rosies Coordinator, Carolyn was invited to present the work of Rosies within the community at the Glasshouse Country VIEW Club.

“Every setback is a set-up or a come back”

Today we had an inspiring meeting with one of our longtime friends Chris. He and Rosies met in Brisbane 28 years ago. Since then Chris has started his own lawn mowing company- Chris’ Lawns & Green Garden Waste Removal – on the Gold Coast. He has 60 clients and encourages everyone to have goals. He keeps coming to Rosies for the friendship.

Chris started mowing to help out a friend. He did such a good job other people offered him to look after their gardens. With the money he earned Chris bought a mower, then another one, then a van and later a trailer. He lived in his van for a while but now he rents.

Chris keeps coming to Rosies for the friendship. He enjoys a chat and likes to share his experience with others so they can believe in themselves like he did. Chris occasionally offers casual work to our patrons when he gets enough projects to work on.

Sharing friendship one haircut at the time

Jamey-Lee offering her time and talents at the Rosies drop-in centre

Jamey-Lee is a hairdresser and a generous soul. She gives her time and talent to our many friend on the street on the Gold Coast. She comes to our drop in centre with all her gears on the second Thursday of every month and offers free haircuts to our delighted patrons. Her impact is simply amazing! Plus, it offers yet another opportunity to engage with our friends through conversations. People like to share their stories and point of views on various topics while their getting their hair cut. For Jamey-Lee it is an eye-opening experience. She is very much appreciated by the Rosies family.

Some students and teachers joined our outreaches as part of our Student Engagement Program. As such a group of students from Iona College in Wynnum visited our branch in Cairns and took part to the local outreach with their teachers despite it was school holiday. They could have been involved in some more ludic activities over this period, but instead they chose to be present with Rosies in the midst of our friends on the street in Cairns.

In Brisbane our coordinator Sarah was invited for morning tea at the Delamore Retirement Community. Sarah explained what Rosies was all about to the residents who were thrilled to have a look at the van. Our coordinator also broke up a few stereotypes about homelessness. Earlier residents held a craft stall and raised some funds to support Rosies and our many friends on the street. Thank you all so much for your kindness and generosity.

Uni students on the street with Rosies

Students from the QUT Chapter of The Gold Key International Honour Society joined Rosies as guest volunteers

Students from the  Queensland University of Technology (QUT)  Chapter of The Golden Key International Honour Society joined Rosies on the street as guest volunteers.  One of them, Jamie, shared her ‘amazing experience‘ with us.

It’s great to see how much impact Rosies has by providing something as simple as friendship to those in need.” 

One can never underestimate the power of a cuppa and a chat. Jamie experienced the full Rosies immersion and the richness of the many encounters she made that night. Conversations are diverse near the Rosies van , from amusing to moving; they can be deep or surprising. Our patrons know we genuinely care about the stories they share. We serve our fellow men and women knowing we are neither better not worse and this camaraderie brings comfort to our friends knowing the belong to our community.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the outreach but the few hours I spent on the street with the Rosies team were some of the most rewarding hours of my life so far. It was evident that the friendship we were sharing was hugely appreciated by those in need and I felt so humbled to be a part of a much larger movement that was so positively affecting the lives of others. I would urge anyone wanting to volunteer to reach out to Rosies! You won’t regret it.”

The Golden Key International Honour Society was established is a worldwide student organisation present in more than 300 universities. The QUT chapter started in 1996. This year students had the opportunity to come to Rosies as guest volunteers.

Simply grateful…

Tony on his graduation day

We are simply grateful Tony invited us to his graduation after his successful completion of 6 months of rehabilitation at Logan House. Tony lived with his addiction to alcohol and drugs for thirty five years. From Rosies he met people who cared. He accepted the hand offered to him and although he admits there is still a rough road ahead, he is forever grateful for the friendship and kindness received from Rosies.

Brisbane coordinator Sarah at the Delamore Retirement Community

On the Gold Coast Jaimey-Lee offers her time and talent as a hairdresser to groom our patrons on the second Thursday of the month at the Rosies drop in centre.

In Brisbane our coordinator Sarah was invited for morning tea at the Delamore Retirement Community. Residents were thrilled to have a look at our Rosies van. All were eager to find out more about what we do and who we serve.  Residents held a craft stall and raised some funds to support Rosies and our many friends on the street.

St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School Gayndah held a ‘Wheel for Rosies‘ Day to support Rosies and our many friends on the street. Students were invited to bring their bikes, scooters or skates to school, along with a gold coin donation. They rode and raced in the sport centre at lunchtime.

Meanwhile, John Paul College Middle School students hosted a fun run and sausage sizzle fundraiser for Rosies. The entire school also enjoyed a free dress day with money also donated to Rosies.



Yesterday,  His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) join Rosies volunteers at Surfers Paradise to  celebrate 30 years of Rosies Friends on the Street.

Sir Peter is Patron-in-Chief of Rosies and on a number of occasions has been on outreach with volunteers to share first-hand the friendship and hospitality this great organization provides to the marginalized.

“To mark 30 years since Rosies first started it seemed logical to celebrate where we first outreached, right here in Surfers Paradise” said Robyn Hunt. Robyn is a long-time Gold Coast volunteer, Board member and Honorary Treasurer. Robyn was vociferous in her praise of the Gold Coast community, “who have been incredibly generous and supportive for all those 30 years and it continues to grow each year.” Now 10 other communities across Queensland are following their lead.

The celebration will be relatively informal with a picnic in Eileen Peters Park, southern end of the Esplanade. One of the early youth volunteers, Theresa Sheppard is excited to catch up with old friends.  “Rosies has been integral to my life and to many friendships I have – I can’t wait to catch up at Surfers”. Theresa was made a life member in 2015.

“My wife and I have supported Rosies for more than a decade, and have seen firsthand Rosies army of volunteers making a difference on the streets and off the streets.” said Sir Peter.

Rosies started as a youth to youth outreach at Schoolies in 1987. After a couple of years it saw the need for friendship and hospitality among the homeless and other marginalized people. It has now expanded to 11 communities across Queensland with 1,200 volunteers happily going on the street to share friendship. Over 230 teams outreach each month on the street or in the courts or in the drop-in centre or prison.


30 years of Rosies Friends on the Street
Click on image to enlarge

WHEN Theresa Sheppard’s mother banned her from Schoolies week the enterprising 17-year-old came up with a parent-approved plan to go anyway — she would volunteer with her church’s outreach program. So began Mrs Sheppard’s 30-year involvement with community charity Rosie. “During our first two years of Rosies we’d made contact with quite a few homeless people during Schoolies,” Mrs Sheppard said. “When the time came to go we said, ‘Goodbye, see you
next year’ until someone said ‘But what are we going to do — what if we don’t survive until then?’,” Mrs Sheppard said. It wasn’t long before Rosies grew from its Gold Coast base and today 1200 volunteers help 2500 homeless people across Queensland every week. The Gold Coast remains by far the biggest program with 200 volunteers manning the drop-in centre on the corner of Hicks and Davenport streets, Southport, supplying thrice weekly brunches in Baden Powell Park and driving the vans six nights a week.

Mrs Sheppard, who is from Brisbane but has helped establish Rosies across the state as both a volunteer and staff member, said as one of the original crew she was proud of where the charity was today. “We have always been about keeping the issue of homelessness at the front of people’s minds, not hiding it.” While many of the volunteers are still drawn from the Catholic Church, people from all walks of life find themselves wearing the recognisable red shirt and sharing a cup of tea with a person in need.

General manager Andrew O’Brien said while the scale of Rosies had changed dramatically over the years, the ethos had not. “Our primary mission remains to connect with people and share a sense of community and friendship. People come to us to feel a bit better about themselves. We accept them for who they are and where they’re at in life.”
This weekend, Rosies will celebrate their 30th anniversary with a picnic attended by the charity’s patron, Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove. “My wife and I have supported Rosies for more than a decade, and have seen first hand Rosies’ army of volunteers making a difference on the streets and off the streets,” Sir Peter said.

Past and present volunteers and patrons of Rosies, and their families, are invited to the celebration. It will be held at Eileen Peters Park, Surfers Paradise, on Sunday, at 12.30-3.30pm.


Courtesy of the Gold Coast Bulletin

Rosies-Friends on the Street on the Gold Coast
Theresa Sheppard with Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett and other Rosies volunteers in 1992

Compassion in action

Stephanie Bell presented food and toiletry supplies donated by the Walloon School community to Rosies Ipswich Coordinator Barry Rienecker watched on by Casey Seaton from Scripture Union Qld.

WHEN you have a drive to help others and make the world a better place to live in, particularly for those who are homeless it is no surprise when that person does make a difference.

The surprise is that this time it is not an adult making a difference but a Year 6 student from Walloon State School.

Stephanie Bell is described by the school chaplain, Rebecca Hewett, as a compassionate young lady who will change the world, one project at a time.

“Stephanie is kind and softly spoken, Stephanie has a passion to make the world a better place and loves to help others, particularly those who are less fortunate. […]

“She wanted to run a compassion project in the school, asking the school community to donate basic items such as toothpaste, tooth brushes, deodorant, noodle and soup cups and biscuits.”

Rebecca said the project was well supported by the school community with two baskets of toiletries and groceries collected.

“Stephanie  was able to present the items to Barry, from Rosies – Friends on the Street, who was very thankful for the items and that Stephanie has made this happen.”

Courtesy Moreton Border News August 25 2017