AVSSC CAMP 2019: Exploring our “I”

At the crack of dawn, around 80 young men and women began their journey from the city to the Hunua Ranges for their annual servant leadership retreat. Those who attended included the student leaders from 14 Catholic High Schools in Auckland, Ignite Team, (Tertiary Student Leaders), Vinnies Youth Team and session facilitators. 

There were moments of challenge and laughter as the students learnt how to work together towards a common goal. The seemingly simple task of getting from one side of the field to the other while bound to one another proved both hilarious and deeply insightful to behold. There were moments of awe as they poured over the stories of those who founded the Society: and how in many ways, the stories of the founders were intertwined with those of themselves’. Lastly, there were moments of reflection. The retreat provided an opportunity for each attendee to think about their place in the Society of St Vincent de Paul story. They thought about the many service projects they had or will commit to, and further, the many lives they would touch as a result of it. With a stronger sense of community and belonging, these young men and women now hope to put their many teachings into action. 

Vinnies Youth 2019

Home: What Does it Mean?

Throughout the year, student groups that are part of the Vinnies Youth Programme receive regular formation sessions. These often take the form of mini “workshops” that seek to unpack a specific social issue within the community. Marcellin College Vinnies recently chose to explore the notion of Homelessness, so as to better inform their upcoming service projects. It was a confronting exercise. Through testimony and looking at some general statistics, they gained a deeper insight into what it means to have no place to call home. The process of developing empathy and an appreciation for the many factors that contribute to homelessness proved fruitful regardless of whether they had been exposed to it or not. Students who attended this workshop responded saying, “It was confronting, honest and eye-opening.” With a stronger sense of knowledge around the topic, these young men and women seek to better informed decisions as they form their respective service projects. 

Marcellin College Vinnies

Learning Through Service

St Peter’s College Vinnies

Each year, the students of St Peter’s College take part in a retreat which seeks to create a sense of community both within the student body and the families around them. Those who attend learn more about themselves and the many lines of support they have access to. Conversely, they also learn about what it is like when those lines of support are not present. To bring these learnings to the forefront of their minds, the students are invited to run a small can drive within their community. The resultant was over 3,600 canned goods being collected. These non-perishable food items were then collected by the Society of St Vincent de Paul and later distributed to foodbanks across Auckland.


Bringing Families Together over Easter

At the conclusion of their can drive earlier in the year, the students wished to support families with children over the Easter period. Knowing very well the excitement of Easter eggs and treats that often accompany the Lenten season, these young women proceeded to make sure that as many children as possible shared the same excitement that they did at a younger age. The proceeds of their collection went towards families who came through the Vinnies Centre for a foodparcel. 

Baradene College Vinnies

Stations of the Cross

True to the Christian tradition, every year on Good Friday Catholic parishes throughout Auckland and the rest of New Zealand commemorate the re-enactment of the Stations of the Cross. It is a Prayerful meditation through the twelve Stations in remembrance of Christ’s Crucifixion. 

“As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children…”

During this year’s Good Friday, Vinnies both young and old took part in their local parish proceedings as well as the the Stations of the Cross held in the Auckland CBD which was hosted by Fr Chris Denham and the staff of the Auckland Catholic Tertiary Chaplaincy staff based at the Unversity of Auckland.

The way of the cross

Over two thousand Catholic’s came together at Albert Park to start processing throughout the city.The Young Vinnies were called upon to assist with the fifth station where Simon of Cyrene helped carry Jesus’s cross. 
This celebration was beautifully led by Fr Chris Denham and the many youth groups that were invited to take part.

For a video of this commemoration, click on the below link.

https://www.facebook.com/Simplepressstudios/videos/398432417662415/UzpfSTEwMDAwMTc2MjU4NDg2ODoyMjA0NzYxODc2MjU5MjEw/

Video credit: Simple Press Studios

March 2019 Highlights

Students Taking the Lead on Service Within Their Community

Students across Auckland are rolling out their initiatives for service projects within the community. Some school groups have been connecting in with the Vinnies Youth Team, while others are already well under way in mobilising their groups of volunteers. Seniors students in particular have reflected that they are very passionate about bringing everyone together and have especially enjoyed mentoring the younger students.

“It was a success! They were all so very enthusiastic and excited,” says Therese, a leader of the Carmel Vinnies group. Each of the 14 Vinnies school groups range in both size and age, with projects and gatherings tailored to accommodate all. During the gatherings hosted by students, the seniors have promoted a number of projects. These include a Lenten food Drive to support families in need and visitation to the local rest home. Through these initiatives the students seek to go beyond their comfort zones and connect with the wider community.


Making Mentoring Matter: Ushering New Ignite Leaders Forward

Each year, past students of the Vinnies Schools Programme seek to continue their service journey as youth leaders. This can take many forms, but one form in particular is called the Ignite Team. The Ignite Team formed out of a need to bridge the gap between high school students and young adults. These young men support the delivery of Vinnies projects and educational sessions in schools. They receive regular formation and leadership development, as well as the opportunity to facilitate events for young people.Recently, the newest additions to the Auckland Ignite Team for 2019 came together for their first formation session. This group will be working closely with the Vinnies Youth Team in secondary schools and upcoming formation camp.


Kingsland Vinnies Centre Service

Aside from providing a platform for social awareness within schools, the Vinnies Youth Team also look into avenues for service that strengthen the learning experience. Students from Baradene and Marist College have recently joined a number of other schools in supporting their local opshop. Their tasks have included assisting the shop manager in the day-to-day activities such as making food parcels and sorting through donations. Amidst the busyness of academic life this provides a unique opportunity for students to step into the reality faced by many families in society. This provides an invaluable platform to build upon the values of the individuals and form lasting bonds that translate to stronger acts of service for the wider community.


Connecting With Our Elders

As in the earlier stages of life, old age is a sensitive phase; elderly people need care and comfort to lead a healthy life without worries and anxiety. Elders need accompaniment, but the lack of understanding in needs and worries often cause a divide between them and the younger generation. A small group of youth volunteers seek to turn this around through regular visitation to the Wesley Rest Home. They help lead a mass and share in song and conversation to the residents who are present. Those who attend see this as an invaluable experience as it nurtures a network of wisdom and values that bring everyone together. If given the opportunity, the elders in society have much to teach those who are willing to listen. 

The Community Together at Wesley Rest Home

Feeding Families in Need

Foodbanks rely on regular donations to continue helping people in need. Schools that visit the Kinglsand Vinnies Centre have seen this reality first-hand, and so have made it their annual mission to coordinate a food drive. Baradene College recently collected enough food items to help feed 120 families for four days. By donating the most-needed non perishable food items, these young women will help directly fill the food parcels destined for local families.


Accompanying One Another

Each Sunday, a number of groups volunteer across Auckland in Mt Eden Corrections, Auckland Hospital and Auckland City Mission. In each of these, the volunteers involved seek to make a difference in someone’s recovery and recuperation journey. For those volunteering in the hospital in particular, they enjoy providing a warm and friendly welcome to hospital patients and visitors. Every Sunday, the Vinnies take patients to and from mass at the Hospital Chapel. Volunteers at the Auckland City Mission are a friendly face, and a considerate and sensitive visitor to those without a place to call home. In each of these experiences, volunteers build upon their skills and more importantly assist people in their time of greatest need.


Standing in Solidarity: Caring for the Christchurch Muslim Community

Moved by the events in Christchurch during March, students from the Vinnies of Carmel College gathered in prayer and solidarity. Conversations were held, but for the most part, the symbol of unity came to the forefront through making a banner together. Schools across Auckland followed similar suit, offering Mass and liturgy in remembrance.

Carmel College Vinnies

Auckland Vinnies Secondary Schools Council 2019

With operations spanning across the Auckland City Region, the Vinnies Youth Team seek to develop a platform from which young people may deepen their connection to self, others, as well as their own faith journey. Recently, a group of student leaders from across 14 Catholic High Schools gathered for an evening of formation and reflection. These young men and women work diligently to serve those in need, constantly seeking to uphold the dignity of others through people to people contact. Given the gathering was held days after the Christchurch tragedy, a moment of silence was offered for the lives lost and families in grieving. These young men and women will continue to meet and discuss their service projects throughout the year, and collectively form new and innovative ways to connect with the community.


AGM 2019: “Let’s Do This Together”

This month was the Annual General Meeting for the Society. Held in New Plymouth, members from across New Zealand came together for the span of three days to connect and share. The theme for the weekend was “Let’s Do This Together”.


February 2019 Highlights

Walking Alongside our Whānau in Mt Eden Corrections Facility

Each week, a team comprised of Vinnies volunteers dedicate their Sunday mornings to visiting the Mt Eden Corrections facility. Those who volunteer are tasked with supporting the chaplaincy with the goal of reduced re-offending, and by assisting offenders to meet some of their spiritual needs and transition back into society. Each week is an opportunity to do all these things through music, prayer, and other religious services.

Prison Ministry Volunteers

More than 600 people, including about 550 victims of crime, took part in the Government survey, which was conducted last month. It found:

• 57 per cent had either a poor or very poor overall experience of the criminal justice system; only 11 per cent said they had a good or very good overall experience.
• 78 per cent disagreed or strongly disagreed that victims had enough information and support throughout the process.
• 76 per cent disagreed or strongly disagreed that their views, concerns and needs were listened to.
• 82 per cent disagreed or strongly disagreed that the system is “safe for victims”.

Amidst such statistics, prison ministry is a unique experience in that volunteers bring a genuine connection to those who reside inside the prison walls. This is something that staff of the correction facility are often unable to provide, and so any assistance provided by those who volunteer is greatly appreciated.

Mt Eden Corrections Facility

Volunteering at Kingsland Vinnies Centre

Volunteering can be challenging. Observing the opshop, what goes into a foodparcel, and the number of families who come through seeking assistance can be quite overwhelming. For students who volunteer at the Kingsland Vinnies centre, this provides an eye opening experience into the significance of their donations. It also deepens their understanding of the outside world beyond their own schools. 

Vinnies has been most fortunate to have the assistance of students from St Paul’s College and Mt Albert Grammar School – with many more soon to join. Food banks such as the one in Kingsland have a presence in the community that provides much more than simply meals. It is through the support of student and adult volunteers, as well as partner organisations that bring the community together in a network of hope and genuine care.


National Delargy Award 2019

Delphina Soti – operations manager of the Kingsland Vinnies Centre – recently received the 2019 National Delargy Award in recognition of the outpouring of inspiration, service, faith, spiritual leadership and work alongside young people. The National Delargy award, in honour of the late Cardinal Delarygy is presented to 3 people every 2nd year. The Cardinal is remembered fondly for his work with the young people of the Catholic Youth Movement, and it is this same essence that is celebrated among individuals who tend to the pastoral care and faith formation of young people. Delphina has been instrumental in leading change, as well as innovating and creating solutions for both youth, families and the wider communities in Auckland.


Youth Development in Schools

Part of the services provided by the Vinnies Youth Team are to engage with students in schools and provide a platform of learning and belonging. As such, this method of informal education has proven invaluable to strengthening both youth and community development. The Vincentian values and principles play a central role in working with these students, whilst also providing a space for student to realize their own strengths and bring them to the forefront in new and innovating ways.

At the heart of this is the commitment to social justice and change. The month so far has provided an opportunity to connect in with numerous college groups in Auckland. Each school group has brought their style of interaction to the forefront, and this has made for some exciting new initiatives and group development. 


Upcoming Events

Auckland Vinnies Secondary School Leaders Camp 

  • Date 6th – 7th April 2018
  • Where: Kokako Lodge Hunua Falls

Auckland City Stations of the Cross:
Organised by Auckland Catholic Tertiary Chaplaincy

  • Date 19th April 2019
  • Time 9am-12pm
  • Where: Albert Park 33-43 Princes St, Auckland, 1010.

Interested in Volunteering?

YOUNG ADULTS VOLUNTEER SERVICE PROJECTS

We are always looking for new volunteers! Please email youth@stvinnies.co.nz for an application form. Or send a message to the Vinnies Youth Auckland Facebook messenger

Auckland Hospital:
Volunteering to escort patients to Sunday Mass

  • Time: 10.45am-12pm
  • Date: every Sunday 
  • Where: Auckland Hospital Chapel 6th Floor; 2 Park Rd, Grafton, Auckland 1023 

Mt Eden Prison:
Volunteering to assist with Sunday Liturgies for residents of Mt Eden Prison

  • Time: 8:15am – 11am
  • Date: every Sunday 
  • Where: 1 Lauder Rd, Mount Eden, Auckland 1150

Auckland Drop In Centre:
Volunteering to assist with drop in/ food service/ conversations with whānau.

  • Time: 9am -12pm
  • Date : every Saturday and Sunday
  • Where: Auckland City Mission,  23 Union St, Auckland, 1010

Wesley Home:
Volunteering to assist with music and Mass for residents of Wesley Retirement Home.

  • Time: 10.30am -11.45am
  • Date: every 2nd Wednesday of the month

Foodbank and Opshop Volunteering:
Volunteering to assist in packing food parcels and also helping in the Op Shop.

  • Time: 2- 4 hourly Rosters from 10am – 4:30pm 
  • Date : Monday to Friday 
  • Where: Kingsland, Otahuhu, Glenfield

Ignite Team:
Volunteering to attend formation training, and become ambassadors to volunteer as mentors for the Vinnies Secondary Schools Programme. This includes: presenting in schools, running retreats and camps; as well as assisting with special events.

  • Time : 1-3 hourly Rosters from 11.30am-6.30pm 
  • Date Mon- Friday, also weekend events from time to time.

January 2019 Highlights

Vinnies & Grace Ministries off to WORLD YOUTH DAY PANAMA 2019

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Fr Kevin Murphy led a beautiful liturgy at The Good Shepherd Parish Grotto to bless the eight pilgrims who are attending World Youth Day in Panama this year.  A special thank you also to Monsignor Bernard Kiely for your constant love and support of us. GRACE ministries are blessed to be playing on one of the big stages at World Youth Day. We pray for travelling mercies and blessings upon this team. 🙏
#MaristVinniesGrace families:

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Seeing off the Representative Pilgrims of Vinnies & Grace Ministries 2019!
God speed e te whānau!

They have arrived in Panama!


Check out some of the Auckland Vinnies meeting some of the World Wide Vinnies Whānau! #ServiensSpe #WYD2019 #PanamaOpeningCeremony
#WYDPANAMA2019 #OpeningCeremony

DECEMBER 2018 Highlights

Feed A Family Project Launches

What is the FEED A FAMILY appeal 2018?

‘’Feed a Family’’ is an appeal by the Society of St Vincent de Paul, Kingsland Centre, to support families who are struggling to put food on the table during the Christmas Season. It is an opportunity for you to connect with a family, and really make a difference.

The Kingsland St Vincent de Paul food bank was initially set up in the late 1990s to support a few families and vulnerable people around the periphery of the city especially those referred by our Catholic Churches near the Auckland CBD. Today the Kingsland Foodbank is operating at full capacity and punching above its weight putting out food boxes to support over 3000 people in 2018.

The people who come to us seeking support, vary from your city rough sleeper, through to parents and grandparents both with jobs who simply cannot put food on the table due to extra costs. Other people are referred through social service providers, Work and Income, mental health services, refuges, prison and so forth. By the time these people and families arrive at our door food is already in short supply. Housing usually takes precedence to food, when choosing whether to pay food or rent. Food insecurity is a really serious issue in New Zealand, it remains hidden as there is a lot of stigma and shame around poverty and being poor.

With Christmas approaching, many of these families are already worried and anxious about food and gifts for their loved ones. That is why we have come to you. Can you help some families put food on the table for or sponsor a gift for a child? Any support will make a difference.

What can you do?

• Sponsor Christmas gift packs for a family at $25 a pack. • Sponsor linen pack for a family at $40 a pack. • Sponsor Food packs for a family at $80 a pack. • Donate any amount you can that will go towards a pack. • Support a family with your prayers.

Internet Banking to Society of St Vincent de Paul Auckland. •

ASB Bank 12-3017-0500224-00

Reference Fields: Your name and the words “FeedAFamily”.

Continue reading

NOVEMBER 2018 HIGHLIGHTS

CHRISTMAS CARD COLLECTION

and Fundraiser for New Zealand Prisons:

The Vinnies Youth Auckland collective fundraised for and collected around 20,000+ Christmas cards again to gift our whanau in Prisons to send to their loved ones. They were able to do it last year, so they did it again this year.

This is because to date there are just over 10,435 people residing in our New Zealand Prisons and it is important that we acknowledge their humanity and also that of their families especially during this Christmas Season.

 


Vinnies Kingsland Centre Team

This wonderful team pictured below (missing a few people) were celebrated for their dedicated service at the Vinnies Kingsland Centre throughout 2018. Below is included some of the Vinnies Auckland Youth Team, the Vinnies Kingsland Foodbank staff, Vinnies Young Adults Volunteers, and the Vinnies Opportunity Shop volunteers, all of whom contribute to the running of the Vinnies Kingsland Centre, which serves many people every day.

L – R from the back: Geoff, Bob, Robert, Victoria, Yvonne, Gene, Penelope, Jean, Vavao, Del, Kili, Theresa, Shirley, Tara, Dominique, Pari, Cynthia, Midori, Jo, Savi, Maria

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Marist College Vinnies:

Supporting Families

Every year, the Vinnies Kingsland Centre is always grateful for the Marist College community, who generously gift their time, care and effort, particularly in the lead up to the Christmas Season. These young women are pictured sorting and packing bulk care packs (toiletries and other personal items), for families in need.

Marist College Vinnies

 


FEED A FAMILY PROJET 2018 LAUNCHES

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Every year Vinnies Kingsland (St Vincent de Paul Kingsland ) give out 2500+ food parcels to Families in need. “Giving for Living” Christmas Appeal is where you can help families in need. Help the Vinnies Kingsland Centre feed families this Christmas by spreading the joy and love of Christ.

  • $80 will give a family a food pack
  • $40 will give a family a linen pack
  • $25 will give a family a Christmas gift pack
  • Make a Tax deductible Donation today and Fee a Family this Christmas.

Click here to donate now through Givealittle: Feed a Family Givealittle Donat

The aim is to ensure families have food to put on the table during the Christmas Season. #givingforliving #helpushelpothers #webelongtoeachother

FEED A FAMILY Parcels for

GLEN INNES ST VINNIES

Kingsland and Glen Innes Vinnies combined their efforts this year to support families in need in Glen Innes. Thank you to Sialia and all the Vincentian Team at St Pius X Parish, Glen Innes for all their mahi and service in supporting local families this Christmas.

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FEED A FAMILY Fundraising at the

SHADES CONCERT

 

shades

The Shades generously invited the Vinnies Feedafamily Ambassadors to sell food and drinks to fundraise for the Christmas Hampers for families, at their Concert in November this year. There was a wonderful Vinnies Crew (pic below) there who worked hard behind the scenes to ensure this #Feedafamily fundraiser was a successful one!

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The Vinnies Catering Volunteering Crew working hard at the Shades Concert for #FeedaFamily

Furthermore, the Shades Concert was a huge success! It was SOLD out, and so was all the food and drink! Great job to the guys Ipu, Manase, Take and Samson pictured above, who’ve always been so supportive the the Vinnies Kingsland Centre and its projects!

Check out how their Concert went below, and subscribe to the Shades Youtube Channel for more updates!


 

VINNIES YOUTH –

TŪ KAHIKATEA AWARDS

The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference support the Tu Kahikatea Awards.  Around New Zealand, the awards are judged based on one national criteria but are promoted, decided and awarded locally by the Diocesan Youth & Young Adult Ministry Team and/or Commission.

The Awards are about recognising the gift that youth and young adults are to the Catholic Church in Aotearoa New Zealand, and thanking them for the outstanding contributions they make to their community. They are named after the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference statement – Tu Kahikatea: Standing Tall – A Framework for Catholic Ministry with Young People in Aotearoa New Zealand (see www.catholic.org.nz for a copy).

Tū Kahikatea Awards: Auckland Youth & Young Adult Ministry Catholic Diocese


In November, at a Diocesan Youth Mass led by the Auckland Catholic Youth Ministry whānau, Vinnies Young Adults Leaders:  Latayvia Tualasea-Tautai, Sione Pole, Craig Franswah and Lupesina Koro,  were acknowledged for their tireless service, leadership and hard work in helping others.

Click here for more information on the Tū Kahikatea Awards.


 

Feed a Family Preparation Continues…

Vinnies Kingsland Centre were grateful for all these Young Vinnies Volunteers  for coming in to assist with the #FeedAFamily mahi. Packaging up gifts, purchasing gifts, and preparing Christmas invitations for families to come and pick up their FeedAFamily Christmas Boxes. The team are so for the energy these leaders bring to the Kingsland Centre! #FeedAFamily

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“Rosalina” – The Show

The Vinnies Kingsland Centre crew and some of the Vinnies crew got to go and support Bob Savea (part of Vinnies Youth Team) and his Sau e Siva Creatives Collective who put on an amazing show, which showcased a talented cast made up of almost 100 of the community. There were even some talented Young Vinnies involved too! Congratulations to the whole cast they were superb!

 


Regular Service Projects Continue…

And through it all, the regular volunteering projects continue:

Weekly at Mt Eden Prison, City Mission and Auckland Hospital volunteering and Monthly at Wesley Rest Home Hospital Vincentian Mass.

October Highlights

Final School Visits

Throughout the year, the Youth Team have been privileged to walk alongside 14 Catholic Colleges in their journey of service. This final school term has become an opportunity to reflect on that journey and formally give recognition for their works of service to the community. In retrospect, many students recalled the moments of struggle when putting together service projects. Others spoke of the insight such struggles brought about, and how their experiences brought them closer to others – especially those who are vulnerable and marginalised. There was a resounding sense of gratitude and happiness for what was achieved however. As the students looked at the range of activities that had been done throughout the year, their spirits became lifted. What began as a simple sign-up sheet and weekly meeting, soon became a platform to grow, connect and learn from those whom they serve. “The small things matter… we learn by serving others”, says one McAuley High School student. With these experiences voiced out, they hope to apply them into their everyday lives and in future service endeavours. In the meantime, the Society of St Vincent de Paul are deeply thankful for their works throughout 2018. These included but are not limited to:

  • Weekly support for SVdP Foodbanks making foodparcels
  • Weekly mentoring programmes at De Paul Emergency Housing Centre, Takapuna
  • Weekly homework assistance at St Pius Primary School
  • Bulk food drives to supplement SVdP foodbanks
  • Bulk clothing drives
  • Cooking bulk meals for the community
  • Preparing and serving meals at Ronald McDonald House
  • Cancer awareness, fundraising and support initiatives
  • Gardening for the elderly
  • Picnic days for Oranga Tamariki / Children under care
  • Cooking meals for those who are homeless
  • Cardmaking for those who are incarcerated
  • Rest home visitation
  • Homelessness Immersion experiences
  • Care pack collections for families

Each of these projects has brought the members of Vinnies Youth Auckland closer to the community. We give thanks to all staff and students involved, as well as the many collectives throughout Auckland with whom we are connected to.


Caring for Those who are Incarcerated

The first visit to a corrections facility as a volunteer minister can seem daunting at first. The array of forms to fill out, the checks and processes to learn, as well as the prospect of interacting with those who have been incarcerated can become overwhelming. However, the chaplains who reside at Mt Eden Corrections facility go out of their way to ensure all involved are made to feel welcome and valued. Approximately 1,700 volunteers work with Prison Chaplaincy Services Aotearoa to provide religious support for incarcerated men and women in NZ. New volunteers are shown the ropes, and in the case of the Vinnies group who attend – they are given every opportunity to share their gifts and talents.

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The experience is a two way street, as many of those who reside behind bars often share their wisdom and talents in return. The Vinnies group lead a liturgy of the word, sharing the messages of the Gospel through speech and song within at least two housing units within the facility. Alongside a few other collectives anywhere between 10 and 12 services can be celebrated on a given Sunday. In one week alone, it was found that a total of 148 men were listed as attending these opportunities to share and reflect. For new volunteers, they have noted that it has built their confidence, shattered stereotypes and given a platform for a greater understanding of the criminal justice system to be realised.


West Vinnies’ Social Event

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West Vinnies Youth Leaders

In preparation for community projects in the Christmas season, the Vinnies of both St Dominic’s and Liston College have run a series of fundraisers. Recently, the two groups hosted a neon themed social gathering. The proceeds of this fundraiser will go towards an upcoming community day for the families at Ranui Caravan Park. Recognising the youthful side of being a Young Vinnie has allowed both groups to tap into their talents and organisational skills to provide a social event that is tied to a specific work in the community.


Connecting With Those Who Are Homeless

Whether it’s a temporary set-back or a long-term issue that needs expert attention, the Auckland City Mission seeks to give aid to families and those who have no place to call home. In 2017 alone, a total of 112 people who were homeless were successfully housed. Often aside from simply having a place to call home, individuals yearn for a sense of belonging and someone to talk to. Each weekend, a group of Vinnies aid in serving tea and coffees to those who come through the City Mission doors.

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Auckland City Mission Drop In Volunteers

Over a cuppa those who are gathered engage in conversation – sometimes tales of what was discovered earlier in the day, a funny story from the street or sometimes an insight into what brought about a life without a home. These opportunities for genuine connection are well received by all, with some volunteers opting to volunteer every week so as to keep their friendships strong. Hearing their stories and simply being present is significant for those who volunteer, as it reveals that homelessness is a complex and multi-dimensional issue. Each experience of connection affirms this fact.


Helping the Healing Process: Hospital Visitation

With over 1,100 beds, the Auckland Hospital can become a busy space at any time of the year. Amidst the journeys of recovery and healing, a few faithful Vinnies dedicate their morning to accompanying patients on the way to Sunday Mass.

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These short, brief moments of exchange to and from mass build upon the sense of community in an institution that values health and wellbeing. Many of the Vinnies who volunteer on Sunday’s also partake in studies within the health sector. In recognizing the importance of face to face contact, that which they learn in University becomes all the more significant. Sunday volunteering at Auckland Hospital will carry forward until the end of the year.


Thanksgiving Ceremony 2018

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AVSSC Awardees

Within Auckland, Vinnies Youth comprises of 14 Catholic high school groups, as well as a young adults conference. Numerous other project-based groups are located across city central such as those at Auckland Hospital, Local Resthomes, Mt Eden Corrections Facility and Auckland City Mission. The thanksgiving ceremony is an annual event which recognizes the achievements of those who lead in the aforementioned. It is through their care and compassion that so many lives were aided within the community. To date, 2018 has seen a total of 46,580 volunteer hours completed. This is telling of the impact created by each group as they prepare and run their service projects. During the ceremony, those gathered were honoured to celebrate such deeds – the service works, relationships built, and faith journeys of the Youth leaders as well as their respective groups. In addition we also heard some poignant words of wisdom from Deacon Martin Wu, our celebrant for the night.

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Deacon Martin giving his blessing to the leaders

He spoke of the importance of connectedness and remaining faithful to the gift of service. Deacon Martin also gave his blessing to the leaders, beckoning them to carry out their works for the many years to come. Last of all we recognized the significance of parents and caregivers who attended the ceremony. The Society was mindful of the many late nights spent picking up their children from leadership gatherings, afterschool projects and special events throughout the year. If not for their care and nurture the students would not have been able to achieve what they set out to do. Each leader was presented with an award, as well as a few tokens of appreciation for the journey ahead.


Afterschool Assistance at SVdP Centres

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Volunteers from Mt Albert Grammar School

Despite the incoming exam season, the Society of St Vincent de Paul are grateful for the many students who have continued to support their local foodbanks and opshops. On any given day, anywhere between 10 and 15 families can come through the SVdP Centre in need of food assistance. There is no doubt that the students’ assistance in ensuring that foodparcels are prepared neatly for families and maintaining the retail area has made serving the community all the more smoother.