Vinnies News Weekly

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”.