We were invited to Tony’s graduation after his successful completion of 6 months of rehabilitation at Logan House. The invitation from Tony was his way of thanking Rosies for helping him get his life back. We felt truly humble to be the only ones invited to share this important milestone in his life.
He lived with his addiction to alcohol and drugs for thirtyfive years. From Rosies, however, he got not just a hot shower and a clean towel, a hot meal and abundant coffee, but 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.
The day we shared with him at this amazing facility was an experience that we will surely remember. This man was obviously in such a low state and somehow surviving on the streets, but found the strength to change his life. He is extremely funny and quick witted, intelligent and a great conversationalist. To hear his story of surviving in the worst possible living conditions and his continual fight with his own demons and then to see him now is truly inspirational. He was continually reminding us that without Rosies he would have never changed his life. His home was the streets. He received aid from many generous organisations, but it was Rosies that displayed true friendship. It was the kindness and compassion and ears that truly
listened that made the difference. We really are “Friends on the Street”.
It was our pleasure to catch up with Fr Harry Dyer OMI when back at his old parish St Eugene’s, Burpengary. We were honoured he accepted to be impromptu guest speaker at the Caboolture branch volunteer recognition ceremony. What a wonderful opportunity to meet our volunteers and Rosies Caboolture coordinator Helen. Fr Harry served in both Rosies Victoria and Queensland. He was involved in the early days of Rosies as well as during his time as parish priest at Burpengary. Now back in Victoria Fr Harry Dyer keeps Rosies in his prayers. Rosies never truly leaves him. Rosies is about friendship. The many loyal volunteers who devote their time to Rosies illustrate those lasting relationships that connect us to our friends on the street. Below is a collage of some of our long serving volunteers without whom Rosies mission would simply not be possible.
Bonded together in friendship
In the Gospel of John [6: 5- 11] Jesus feeds the multitude from fives loaves of bread and two small fish given by a young boy. We do not know the boy’s name or what he intends to do with his fish and loaves. He may have brought them for himself. Perhaps he intends to sell them in order to make some money. Yet when asked to share what he has he does it willingly. He agrees to give the little he has for the sake of others. Anyone can contribute to the common good. Just like this boy did an act of kindness or generosity makes a difference regardless how small or big it is. Rosies gathers people from all walks of life. All gather to share friendship on the street. It might seem insignificant, just like two fish and five loaves. One might think how can this improve the lives of many? It might seem futile. Well, that is if we take for granted there will always be someone who will listen. Someone with whom a genuine conversation can start. Not everyone can enjoy a ‘presence’. How long can I remain in silence or alone? How do I feel when I am ignored or consciously put aside? Would it hurt me if people avoided eye contact with me? Loneliness lives in our world, in our cities, among us. As little as it sounds, Rosies volunteers put aside their differences and go out together as a team. No one being greater than another as we all need each other. We go on the street first of all to share friendship, to listen and to respect our neighbours. I see teams with strong bonds and it reflects on their time spent on the street.
Outreaches gather different people who share the desire to be together – patrons and volunteers alike. And together we make a difference.
Fr John David OMI
We frequently witness some amazing acts of generosity over the winter months. Steve has been a quadriplegic for the past 8 years since a brain aneurism. His condition might restrict his physical movement and speech, but it does not affect his heart. As soon as the temperatures dropped Steve and his wife Julie thought of those less fortunate who might be sleeping on the street. They chose to do something about it. So they donated blankets for Rosies to give to our friends on the street. Those and more hand crafted blankets were most appreciated over the chilling nights in Toowoomba. The warmth of the heart is stronger than the coldest night!
A Texan Down Under
Rosies was founded by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) in Victoria in 1975. The Oblates have missionaries all around the world. Fr Bill Morell OMI from Texas came to pay a visit to the congregation Down Under. He was invited to join our outreach in Logan in the middle of winter. It was an opportunity for him to meet Mike.
“I sat for a pretty long time on the curb with Mike – not long enough to truly strike up a friendship with him, but long enough to appreciate his humour and outgoing nature… and to learn a bit about his life as an indigenous Australian and veteran. He asked me for nothing…we just talked. He broke up our conversation to help a young mother get some food for her kids.”
As Mike moved on our guest from Texas introduced himself to a few more patrons. They liked his accent. He explained where he came from. New faces always attract attention. While chatting with our friends Fr Bill started feeling the cold breeze of the southern hemisphere’s winter night. He now realised why blankets were so popular that night. From this short immersion with Rosies Fr Bill commented:
“But really what can you accomplish in a single evening? What kind of friendship is based on one visit? That’s the point of Rosies. It’s never a single evening. For many, it’s night after night and week after week. For some it’s a 10 or 20 year experience. Students and grandparents, young mothers and retired executives….lots of friendship built through ministry are formed in addition to the friendships made sitting on the curbs.”
A privilege to serve
On a sunny Saturday afternoon in June I had the privilege of presenting certificates to 15 volunteers in Caloundra who have served Rosies for 5 years or more. It was particularly gratifying to present Carolyn Wilson her certificate as she has been the leader and backbone of the branch for most of the 17 years it has been operating. A month later I attended their Christmas in July outreach and it is obvious our Sunshine Coast mission has never been stronger.
We lobbed into Cairns in mid-July for their recognition ceremony and 25 year anniversary celebration. And did they put on a show! Lyall (Cairns Coordinator) rustled up great enthusiasm and Dave and his team at Cairns Double-Tree Hilton hosted 120+ guests, including many volunteers for a memorable celebration. Handing out 52 certificates, some for great lengths of service, made palpable the incredible commitment of our volunteers. It was made more special being able to attend outreach later in the week. A different but just as inspiring celebration was held in Mareeba with Fr. Rob (OSA) presiding at mass and Rosies volunteer Deacon Ralph assisting. Coordinator Anne Sara gave a moving account of Rosies lasting friendship. They have seen a whole group of youth turn into adults and happily connect when meeting them around town. They all remember the egg sandwiches. My Board colleagues attended similar events in other branches and these have been a highlight of the year. The collective joy of the Rosies family is infectious. There is little doubt that is why our mission has flourished for 30 years.
As we approach another Annual General Meeting in November, I am delighted to advise we received incredible support again in 2016-17 from a range of donors, numbering approximately 1,500. I know the sacrifice many donors make in supporting our mission and I can say with great assurance that Rosies is diligent and efficient in utilising these gifts for the benefit of patrons.
The Board is proud of the discipline and strategies that empower our volunteers to share friendship on the street safely and consistently. We are also encouraged by the gospel spirit which pervades the organisation and underpins our engagement with patrons.
John Scoble, Rosies Chair of the Board
We continue to be blessed with fantastic support from schools, parishes, community groups, businesses, individuals, and philanthropic organisations. Your loyalty is so important. 665 donors/supporters have consistently given every year for at least the last four years.In the last quarter very significant support was received from:
Red Rose Fund • Queensland Community Foundation • ATHOC • Whitehouse Foundation • Flannery Foundation • Merchant Foundation • E&M Scanlon
Thanks also to our regular in-kind suppliers and donors like BioPak.
We are deeply conscious of the sacrifice and contribution you make and the trust you place in us to use these funds wisely. Our administrative overhead is less than 7%.
Rosies across the state
Two new signs were added on the street frontage and in the carpark to make our location more obvious. Refurbishment of the amenities are underway in our drop in centre. Teams welcomed the renovation especially daytime volunteers who spend many hours at the drop in centre serving our patrons. To celebrate our court angels the Southport Magistrate Court hosted a morning tea to honour volunteers. Many turned out to mingle with their Gold Coast peers.
Thanks to ATHOC Foundation, Seachange Home
Owners and many other supporters for enabling us to maintain our facilities and ongoing operating costs. With the Commonwealth Games looming large we are working closely
with the City Council to assure we can continue to outreach to those in need.
Rosies Cairns celebrated its 25th anniversary with special thanks to Double Tree Hilton for providing a wonderful venue and hospitality. Some of Rosies longest serving volunteers are from Cairns. Joyce Coutts is one of them.
She stopped going out on the street in 2016 at the age of 85 after serving with Rosies for 21 years. Joyce caught up with Rosies Cairns first coordinator Theresa Sheppard. They shared memories on Rosies early days in Far North Queensland.
Over the cooler months the branch received huge support from local schools which supported the branch with basic supplies.
It has been a year already since the Rosies Wynnum Manly branch started outreaching in the bayside. It took a while but now we have regular patrons who come along to share a cuppa and a chat. Huge support once again from the Redland Bayside Catholic Deanery Appeal. Our Monday daytime outreach now hosts a popular BBQ once a month. The live music on Friday night is a welcome addition with the patrons joining in.
Patron numbers have increased again which reflects the struggle many are having in the community. Rosies volunteer Robyn Vicars received a Queensland Day award from Cameron Dick, Minister for Health in Queensland for services to Rosies and the community.
After reading an article about Rosies in the local newspaper, Mark Cheney from Remax Ultimate, Burpengary contacted Rosies to offer his support. As our van needed a bit of a makeover Mark offered to pay to have the van decals replaced and some rust cut out and a general cut, polish and buff. The work is now complete and Mark dropped by to inspect the finished product and got a big thank you from Helen our local coordinator.
Brisbane branch coordinator Sarah has been busy talking with students from schools around Brisbane. Support from schools and local communities has been tremendous! Earlier in winter the branch took part in the annual CEO Sleepout (see photo on p.3) and the local Homeless Connect. Rosies Brisbane branch receives fruit donations from Second Bite which are very popular with our friends on the street.
Rosies Ipswich welcomed the donation of three marquees from the local council. Those will be used to improve the comfort of our patrons and volunteers while outreaching through bad weather. Our patrons can more easily spot us and join the team on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Special winter coats supplied by The Order of Malta were distributed to our patrons and received gratefully.
Year 8 students from Windaroo Valley State High School welcomed Rosies Beenleigh Coordinator Lisa to their ‘Sleep in a Box’ event. Students cleaned the van and loaded it with donations they had collected including sleeping bags and instant coffee in return for a hot Milo and a chat. Lisa gave them some insights about Rosies and the people we serve in Beenleigh. What a great event!
The annual Rosies Sunshine Coast Christmas in July was appropriately cold but warmed by community and the joy of giving and receiving. Our volunteers served soup and pizza, biscuits and coffee. Warm coats and blankets were also a hit. Students from Iona College provided wrapped presents which capped off this highlight event on the branch calendar.
Katrina and the incredible band of ladies from Red Rose Fund put on a spectacular gala ball which raised an incredible amount for Rosies. These funds assure us of sustaining our outreaches in Toowoomba for another year and developing new initiatives. Thanks to all who contributed. With the winter chills in Toowoomba requests for blankets were high! Rosies volunteer Sheelagh brought bags of beautiful hand crafted blankets offered by a group of talented and generous ladies from NSW.
This dynamic band of volunteers in our only rural branch celebrated five years with a special mass in the outreach room. A room we share with Indigenous Connections. 80% of our original volunteers are still serving which is hard to beat for team work and loyalty. Every Friday night for those five years a local supporter has been making her legendary egg sandwiches and was overwhelmed to receive her certificate of recognition.