From Outreaches

National Newsletter Autumn 2015

Rosies National Newsletter Summer 2015The Rosies Newsletter is out now and available for download – click here for your copy!

Our front cover story is about a fantastic event that saw 1,098 people climb the 77 floors at Q1 on the Gold Coast to raise $86,515 for Rosies.

Inside you will find a very interesting story about a unique partnership with the Muslim community helping to feed the homeless in Cairns.

There is also a story about how Rosies is helping victims of domestic violence re-establish themselves.

While you’re at it, why not print out a copy to leave in the lunch room?

Aisha Abdallah with Logan branch Coordinator Margaret Harvey

Logan teen’s summer project a labour of love

While some spend the summer at the beach or relaxing in front of the TV, a group of Logan teenagers embarked on something different – a holiday project to help local homeless people.

Kuraby woman Aisha Abdallah, 19, came up with an idea: along with her friends, she wanted to do something to help people in her community feel good.
While watching overseas videos on the internet, inspiration struck – providing practical gifts to homeless people locally.

‘A man was going around asking homeless people what they wanted for Christmas,’ Aisha said.

‘They wanted little things, like a Starbucks coffee, just because they hadn’t had one in a while.’

Aisha was surprised by the simplicity of some of their answers, and realised that offering small but special gifts – ‘like a really delicious coffee’ – is a way of showing people they matter.

‘Such a little thing, done sincerely, can make someone really happy.’

Pooling their own money to buy the gifts, Aisha and her friends put together 30 bags filled with easy to eat items: snacks, noodle cups, biscuits with cheese, and small ready to eat tins, along with pieces of seasonal fresh fruit – ripe mangoes, nectarines, apples, and bananas.

The teenagers had originally planned to set out into Brisbane City on their own to find rough sleepers, but after contacting Rosies – Friends on the Street, they instead decided to distribute their gifts in their local community.

Four of the girls – Aisha, her sister, and two of her cousins – handed out the gifts to patrons attending Rosies’ Woodridge outreach.

They also spent some time talking with patrons and volunteers, as well as with staff from the Street Doctors mobile medical service who offer a GP clinic to the homeless.

‘We had heard of the Street Doctors, but I think it was a real eye-opener being a part of it,’ said Aisha.

Street team leader and Logan branch coordinator Margaret Harvey said patrons who come to Rosies are just like anyone else.

‘Some of them have had bad luck and some have an illness and no one cares about them,’ she said.

‘We have some pensioners who come every week – they’re isolated, they don’t have family so they come to us.’

Margaret says it’s common for Rosies patrons to feel like they are alone, and that many have difficulty finding opportunities to be social.

‘Some of our patrons have mental illness – they have a case worker who comes every two weeks, but no one else wants to spend time with them.’

She says most people who come to the Rosies van at Woodridge are not what many would consider ‘stereotypical’ rough sleepers.

‘Out here, you’re seeing the hidden homeless,’ said Margaret.

‘They’ve got a roof over their head, but nothing else.

‘Or families in cars. The kids are going to school every day, so nobody knows they’re homeless.’

Aisha said she and her friends enjoyed the experience, and planned to put together more gift bags for Rosies patrons throughout the year – with a range of different items like sunglasses, sunscreen, shampoo and conditioner and some homemade cupcakes.

Most of all, she hopes that the gesture will help some vulnerable people know they matter.

‘It’s just about saying hi to people, letting them know you’re thinking about them.’

To see the video that inspired Aisha and her friends, click here.

St Ursula's students, Toowoomba Homeless Expo

THANK YOU: ST ANDREW’S REDLYNCH AND ST URSULA’S TOOWOOMBA

St Andrew’s Catholic College, Redlynch, and St Ursula’s College, Toowoomba are schools on a mission!

Recently, each school raised an incredible amount – in excess of $4,000 each – to support Rosies outreach services in their local areas, with Cairns, Toowoomba, and Ipswich branches receiving funds.

On Friday August 1, over 50 St Ursula’s students from years 10, 11 and 12 were sponsored to brave the cold for a 12 hour sleepout in Merici Courtyard. Now in its third year, the event has been enthusiastically supported by the girls – and they have become muhc more appreciative of the comfort and warmth of their own beds and homes as a result!

St Ursula's Sleepout St Ursula's Sleepout St Ursula's Sleepout

St Andrew’s Year 12 students held their own sleepout during Catholic Education Week on August 1, while Year 11 students ran a blanket drive. The younger students got in on the act too by putting together hygiene packs!

Both schools are participants in the Rosies Student Engagement Program, with students volunteering year round with people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in their local areas. Students also provide material support to Rosies patrons in the form of emergency relief: food and hygiene packs.

Rosies would like to thank St Andrew’s and St Ursula’s for their continued generous support.

UPDATE: AMAQ FOUNDATION FUND NEW VAN

Local Cairns GP Dr Sharmila Biswas and Australian Medical Association Queensland Foundation have raised an incredible $57,000 through their annual tax appeal to help secure the future of Rosies’ Cairns branch.
The current Cairns vehicle is the oldest in the Rosies fleet and no longer serviceable.
Funds raised will provide a brand new van with a custom designed and fitted servery tailored to the needs of the Cairns branch.
Homelessness rates in Queensland’s far North are double of the rest of the State, and in response increasing demand the Cairns branch last year expanded to a third night of street outreach each week.
A new van will ensure the branch will be in a position to expand services further if needed.
Rosies CEO Troy Bailey said the generosity of Queensland’s medical community is overwhelming.
‘The members of the AMA – they’re already working to help some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people out there,’ he said.
‘Then to donate they way they have to support our work here at Rosies – I can only say thank you. It’s really incredible.’
Our Spring newsletter is out – to download a copy, click here.

YOUTH DETENTION: CHILDREN BEHIND BARS

Social contact with the outside world is crucial to the emotional well being of young people, but there are even more serious reasons for the existence of volunteer visitation programs. The transparency involved in opening institutions facilitates a form of community oversight which helps protect children from abuse by those charged with their care.

Fifteen years ago the Forde Inquiry examined the treatment of children in Queensland institutions including youth detention.

The Commission’s findings included a recommendation that visitors from the community be allowed regular access to correctional centres and other institutions.

Rosies first entered the Sir Leslie Wilson Youth Detention Centre in 1998. When that institution was closed – another recommendation of the Inquiry – the visitation program moved to the new Brisbane Youth Detention Centre.

Rosies volunteers currently visit boys and girls in the Centre on Tuesday evenings and Saturday afternoons, engaging them in card games, recreational sport, and friendly conversation.

The centre’s residents are overwhelmingly from disadvantaged backgrounds. Indigenous youth are also concerningly over-represented: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people comprise approximately 2% of the population, but represent around 50% of detainees.

Inquiry chair and Rosies patron Leneen Forde recently spoke of the importance of Rosies’ presence in the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre.

‘One of the key findings that the (Forde) Inquiry made was for young people in correctional centres and institutions to have access to sympathetic visitors who visited them and helped them to get their lives back on track,’ she said.

Outside prison, volunteers are restricted from acknowledging young people they have met through visitation programs. It’s not unusual though for patrons to approach a street team and self-identify as having engaged with Rosies inside prison – often they are glad of a familiar face.

Because volunteers are present both inside and outside of prison, Rosies serves as a social anchor for young people who find integration into ordinary life difficult.

To support Rosies Youth Detention Centre visitation program, click here to make a donation.

Our Spring newsletter is out – to download a copy, click here.