Autumn 2018

Imagine a family

Early in 2017, the St Vincent de Paul Society Tasmania’s then Youth Officer for the Southern Regional Council, Claire Scanlan, and later her successor, Erin Crean, devised a program designed to involve school youth conferences in collaboration with parish conferences.

Group posing with a hamper.
With the gifts for donation are, from left, GYC Glenorchy Campus Year 12 student Macayla Hansen, Director of Ministry Kylie Sullivan, St Dominic Conference members Tony Coad and Des Mortimer, and Year 11 student Samson Ryan.
Man speaking at a microphone.
St Dominic Conference member Des Mortimer addresses the GYC student cohort. Two of the student leaders who helped with the appeal, Macayla Hansen (left) and Claudia Fone, are also pictured with some of the Christmas treats donated by the GYC, Glenorchy Campus.
Group of students with large trays of truffles on a table in the foreground.
Students from Food and Cooking Essentials classes at GYC made a wonderful array of Christmas goodies for donation to the families: mini Christmas puddings, rocky road, mini meringues and truffles.

The program is titled ‘Imagine a family’ and its goals are for:

  • school conferences and parish conferences to be closely connected
  • school conferences to learn about the specific issues facing families in their area
  • schools to direct their fundraising efforts under the umbrella of Vinnies national appeals towards the immediate needs of a family e.g. paying a power bill during winter and providing food and gifts for Christmas.

Each parish conference is paired with schools in its area. By providing non-identifying information describing the members of a family in need to the school conference, the parish conference provides assistance, too.

St Dominic Conference, Glenorchy took up the challenge although it was near the end of the school year. Guilford Young College, a senior secondary college for Years 11 and 12, accepted the information provided and, in the three weeks remaining in the school year, provided parcels for a family of five: the parents and three boys. On the last day of the school year in 2017 the students made a presentation to the parish conference member Des Mortimer, who thanked the college and spoke about the Society. The students’ generosity extended beyond their selected family as the catering class provided a large number of boxes of Christmas treats for the Vinnies hamper appeal.

A second family, with 10 members, was adopted by another Catholic college in the parish, Dominic College (with students from Prep to Year 10), which provided the family with cash for Christmas treats.

Other conferences in the region have reported similar responses from schools in their area.

This year will see better planning, with parish conferences working more closely with the youth conferences. The feeling is that this could be how conferences will attract young members when they leave school.

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