A life of giving and receiving is beautiful
Each day, each hour, each single minute is unique. Time flows and will not repeat itself ever again. Life is precious. Avoid fights and anger, but speak with love to everyone. This is what Psalm 23.1 is telling us. Life is meaningful while spent in loving self, others, and God. Life is nourished by putting oneself at the service of others.
Outreaches help me realise how much is achieved through love of neighbours while bringing the Good News to everyone. I believe love is the only way a person can change for the best. We all need love. Not that we love others to change them. But by loving others we are changed at the same time. Sometimes our own improvements can inspire others to follow a similar path. We are all constantly work in progress.
As it is said in the Bible ‘A person can have no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’ As members of Rosies we play various roles to share our love on outreach. But have we considered how much we receive out of it? What do we see through the people we serve? There is something mystical in each and every encounter we make. We can see good in people. We can see Christ through them. We can feel humbled or astonished by people’s generosity and kindness despite the very little material possessions they own.
We experience the highest expression of power as a person when we give and receive ourselves in love. I believe that the mutual sharing of love could be time, talent, counsel, tears, a word, an embrace, coffee, tea, milo… What we share with each other in love on outreach is truly valuable and precious. By giving and receiving we recognise ourselves as valuable, worthwhile and good. When we give in love, we share a sense of dignity and personal worth. Love brings a sense of belonging to our communities, especially for those in most need.
Fr John David OMI, Rosies Chaplain
Across all branches we have been noticing an increase in patron numbers on outreaches. This could be a reflection of what we hear and see on the news on a daily basis; the housing affordability crisis, increases in domestic violence, increasing drug and alcohol issues, ongoing mental health concerns, the ice epidemic and so on.
While our many regulars continue to join us we are seeing many new patrons seeking Rosies friendship and sense of community; patrons who are finding themselves in circumstances they never imagined, or who have lost hope, who have lost their direction. For some this presents as anger and frustration, for others as withdrawal and depression.
Rosies offers friendship so that others may feel at home, so they can enjoy being human. Our volunteers dare to outreach together so others may be strengthened to find their way.
Recently a group of Business Management students from St Thomas More College, Sunnybank visited our State Office for a session on the governance of Rosies. One student asked, “what has been done in the last 12 months to improve the effectiveness of Rosies?” After some deliberation I responded, “we have strived to ensure our teams of volunteers remain clear about the mission and model of outreach”. Our mission of sharing friendship to create belonging is made effective by a tried and true process. It also ensures volunteering is as safe as possible.
During April and May we conducted 14 annual refresher trainings around Queensland for our 130+ Team leaders. Participating in and reflecting on these sessions I was reminded of the incredibly strong foundations on which Rosies is built.
Last newsletter I reflected on the insightful Rosies prayer which is borne of the Oblate spirituality and is core to our outreach model. The simplicity of our process of pre-brief, outreach and debrief has proven so effective for 30 years and honed for current circumstances. The team-based approach is central. We are not random individuals delivering a service but bonded teams who share their own sense of community with the patrons we meet. The electronic access to previous outreach reports, allocation of duties, and clear safety procedures enable teams to focus on engaging effectively with patrons while on outreach. Our team leaders reflect the wonderful spirit within Rosies and provide great insight to the nuances of sharing friendship on the street, drop-in centre, in the courts, prisons and caravan parks. As we approach the end of financial year, I conclude by thanking our generous supporters who provide the other foundation stone on which our mission is delivered. It has enabled us to continue to expand our outreach of friendship. We continue to be surprised and inspired by their contribution.
With hearts like Jesus
Andrew O’Brien, Rosies General Manager
A night out with Rosies
We arrive on site and our friends are already waiting for us. We open up the van. Two Team Members stand behind the kitchenette serving coffee, milo, cordial, and cuppa noodle, while the rest of us engage with our patrons. There are many young people tonight. People are in good spirits despite the rain. We spot some of our regulars. They tell us how they have been since we met last. One worries about another who recently lost a parent. Another has not heard about a third one for weeks. Another is undergoing surgery next week; he sounds relieved after longing for it to get done. A last one shares his joy for having a bed tonight.
Suddenly an argument arises between two persons. We notify them we will leave if they keep misbehaving or talking rudely. Other patrons are asking them to calm down. They are apologetic and shake hands. It all settles down and the atmosphere is pleasant again.
Every now and then someone comes to the van and orders a cup of coffee or some noodles. People are very chatty tonight. A couple of musicians, patrons and Rosies volunteers alike, are playing guitar and singing together. Another patron teaches a couple of students, part of the Rosies Student Engagement Program, to juggle. A lovely couple stop by and offer beautiful cupcakes they baked for our patrons. Everyone is relaxed despite the chilling temperature. Some come to us asking for sleeping bags and blankets. We are going through our stock of outreach supplies. It does not stop the fantastic vibe tonight and a dozen people including some Rosies red shirts initiate a touch footy game near the van.
It is getting late and the team needs to pack. We call for a last cuppa. We keep chatting with the remaining patrons and then say goodbye until next time. It is a pleasant night.
Rosies wedding bells
Chris joined Rosies in January 1999 and Leigh followed in November 2009. They met each other while volunteering at Rosies on the Gold Coast. They married in 2013 and are now expecting their first child in a few weeks time. They share their experience with Rosies.
Chris explains that Rosies was then based on Chevron Island where he lived at the time. “I walked in one evening and spoke with the Rosies Manager, Bob Boardman about the outreach services and decided it was a good cause to be involved with and I have been attending Friday night outreaches, in Surfers Paradise and then Southport ever since”.
Leigh decided to join Rosies with a friend of hers. “My girlfriend had mentioned to me that she was looking to get into the police force, she needed to do some volunteer work. We had both always wanted to volunteer in some way with the homeless so I mentioned that I would love to join her and volunteer for Rosies”. Leigh joined Chris’ outreach on Friday night at the end of 2009… “After some months of knowing each other I gathered the courage to ask Leigh out and after several years of being together we were married on 8 June 2013”.
The couple share their experience about outreaching together. “It is always nice to be outreaching together, we share some tasks and it’s generally a good evening exchanging some lively banter with the patrons. It is also good to reflect on the evening afterwards sharing some of the stories we have heard from different patrons.” Chris and Leigh also share their view about volunteering with Rosies. “Even though over the years we have seen volunteers come and go from our Friday night outreach team, we feel like we are truly part of a great team that feels like family to us.”
Would the baby be named Rosie – maybe not.
11 year old William loves fishing, riding his bike, playing soccer and cricket. He has two older sisters, a dog, and some chooks. Eager to make a difference and inspired by one of his sister’s school initiatives (St Monica’s College), which supports Rosies, William decided to lead a donation drive with his community to help Rosies help others.
“I am very lucky to have a loving family and good friends. I have a home, a warm bed, and food to eat every day. It would be terrible to be homeless, and have no family or friends to talk to. It makes me sad that some people have to struggle every day.”
William contacted and met Rosies Cairns Coordinator Lyall with his sister Emma. “I like Rosies motto ‘Friends on the Street’.
Rosies helps support homeless people with friendship. It is really nice that anyone can have someone to talk to when they are sad or lonely.”
With the help of his family young William collected some dental packs (donated by his dentist) of toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, mouth rinse, etc. William also raised some much needed packets of soup for Rosies.
Rosies Branch Coordinators Forum 2017
Rosies across the state
A new teacher in town was a recent guest volunteer. “Thank you so much for allowing me to accompany the team tonight, it was a truly amazing experience. The crew that I was with displayed pure compassion, teamwork, organization, care and professionalism the entire time.” Adam is now on the team. The Cairns Branch is a dedicated and enthusiastic bunch, demonstrated by having the best attendance for Team leader refresher training this year. They also have their share of longevity with the longest serving volunteer in the state and three others with 15 years or more service. We’re really looking forward to the big get together on July 18 recognizing service and some incredibly generous supporters.
“Some of the kids think they are too old for Rosies now” says Anne who along with husband Joe and 11 other volunteers have been with Rosies since it kicked off over 5 years ago. Their patrons are largely young teenagers who they chat with, provide some treats and watch them shoot a few hoops or whatever. The egg sandwiches disappear rapidly when brought out. Children and adults of whatever age are always welcome. A couple of volunteers are keen to do some daytime outreach so we have approached the Courthouse to set up an all-day morning tea outreach like Southport and Beenleigh.
Making connections and building awareness is an important dimension of Rosies outreach. Our Coordinator, Carolyn recently addressed the Caloundra Evening View Club. This group of women were surprised and moved by what Rosies brings to the community. Carolyn’s passion and experience are infectious.
Meanwhile, John shared his experience as a new volunteer with a Men’s Breakfast group, explaining the challenges he has overcome both personally and as a Friend on the Street. The group commented on how John’s talk did Rosies proud and generously gave a donation in support of the Branch.
We have experienced a significant increase in patron numbers over recent months highlighting the challenges faced by many in our community. We are also looking for a new home as the carpark is redeveloped.
Farewell to long-term volunteer Steph, we’ll miss you, and welcome St Benedict’s College, Mango Hill to the Student Engagement Program. The students have been on outreach a couple of times and are finding the experience rewarding.
Lynn made some beautiful blankets for our patrons and drove all the way from Laidley to Brisbane to deliver them. What a wonderful lady! Lynn also had the opportunity to meet our new Brisbane branch coordinator Sarah.
Sarah went to school in Brisbane and joined Rosies once she graduated four years ago. She has been involved with our Schoolies Safety Response, Street van, and Youth Detention Centre (YDC) outreaches during which time she completed a Bachelor of Justice majoring in Criminology and Policing. Sarah is a passionate Rosies volunteer who has become coordinator for our Brisbane branch at only 22 years of age.
The local police liaison officers are now joining our Monday outreach once a month. They bring a BBQ and host a much appreciated sausage sizzle to our patrons. The number of patrons joining us on outreach is increasing. It seems everyone is building a nice sense of community amongst the Rosies family.
Students and teachers from Xavier Catholic College
in Hervey Bay joined Rosies for a memorable outreach in Logan as part of an annual immersion experience. As well as interacting with our patrons they got to see other collaborative services including the Street Doctors.
Plus while we are printing this edition, the branch hosted their first Volunteer Recognition Ceremony on May 28. It’s incredible that 30 out of the 78 local volunteers have been with Rosies for more than 5 years.
When the remnants of cyclone Debbie hit South East Queensland in March our outreach venue went under water. Our wonderful volunteers went back on the street as soon as they possibly could.
Meanwhile, the local community has been very supportive and a large amount of outreach supplies have been donated and delivered. A lovely couple even baked and offered delicious cupcakes to our outreach.
Thank you Beenleigh for showing such resilience and great love!
A number of years ago a young girl listened closely to a presentation from the Ipswich Branch Coordinator. She was so impressed she convinced her mum to join Rosies as a volunteer. She still wanted to help out herself though (and can’t wait until she is old enough to volunteer) and this year saved all her birthday money to buy much needed supplies for Rosies. Thanks Chloe (pictured below). You’re fantastic.
Meanwhile St Augustine’s College raised 60 hygiene packs for our Ipswich branch. Thank you to all the students and staff at St Augustine.
There is a surge in demand for our services partly due to the current housing crisis. The branch faces challenges to respond to the increase in need, but also from tensions emerging within the local community. The team still outreach at Harlaxton Park on Wednesday. The children appreciate the support from the local schools who come along with our team. Our young patrons really enjoyed the bread rolls and fruits brought by our supporters.
This year again Rosies massive food drive was driven by our friends at Cross Promotions International. They were later joined by Grand Motors Toyota for a non-perishable food drive. The Gold Coast community has once more showed its outstanding generosity.
We were pleased to assist a patron who is also a recent migrant by testifying this person was using our services. This will grant our friend access to additional services in a time of major personal transition. It is one of a myriad of small things that friends can do.
At a well attended Team Leader Refresher session we explored various avenues of dealing with increasing incidences of anti-social behaviour putting volunteers and other patrons at risk.