Theresa Sheppard is an original team member, and Life Member, of Rosies. She was involved in our support team in 1987 and took part in the Schoolies outreach in 1988 as a volunteer in the inaugural school retreat program with Rosies. Today, Theresa runs her own business with Norwex (chemical free cleaning and personal care products).
She shares with us her experience at Rosies from our genesis as a Catholic Youth Ministry in Wynnum Manly…
In the mid 1980s Fr Paul Costello OMI noticed a need on the Gold Coast over the Summer holidays. He realised that young school leavers were left on their own with nothing to do but to drink, hang around on the street, and look for any sort of mischief. It reminded him of his days outreaching in Rosebud, Victoria while studying at the Oblate Seminary. Fr Paul came back to his youth ministry group in Wynnum Manly and challenged his young audience, ‘Can we do something about it?’. Word spread and soon there was a group of about 50 young adults recruited from various young adult ministries throughout Brisbane, and Oblate communities in Sydney and Melbourne.
The decision was made to go to the Gold Coast for two weeks, twice a year, over the Schoolies and New Year’s Eve periods. “The objective was to create a community and a sense of belonging between participants and youth at risk. The group organised recreational activities in the afternoon and outreaches at night serving coffee and hitchhiking services to anyone needing support.”
The group soon created an area where people could sit and enjoy a chat, a cuppa, a bite to eat, and the hospitality of the first ever Rosies team at the local church in Surfers Paradise. Soon after people who were homeless, at risk of homelessness, or simply lonely, seized the opportunity to spend some time with the dedicated team members.
“At the end of the program, whilst wishing everyone farewell till the following year, one of our new friends on the street declared ‘We might not be here next year. What are we supposed to do now?’. A phrase that deeply moved us. We realised the need was not limited to youth at risk over the Summer’s celebrations. In fact the need was permanent for all ages.”
Rosies in Queensland was born. In 2017, we celebrate 30 years of providing friendship.