Over the last few months, members of the Young Adult Vinnies group have heeded the call to assist in a number of ministries around Auckland. As a weekly occurrence, many have been able to create significant connections with those whom they serve.
Groups that visit the prison on Sundays facilitate a liturgy of the word alongside many other collectives. They also provide a space for those who are incarcerated to share a part of their story in relation to the reading. With hymn and prayer, the collective brings a sense of peace and calm within the confines of the correction facility walls. Hospital Ministry invites Vinnies members to assist in taking patients to and from morning mass at Auckland Hospital each week. Many patients have reflected that simply having someone to talk to along the way to Mass has made their time in Hospital much easier. Amidst the healing and recovery process, this provides an invaluable opportunity for all to connect in enjoy one another’s company.
Simultaneously on the other side of the city, Young Adult Vinnies assist in serving tea and coffee to people who come through Auckland City Mission. For those without a place to call home, the shelter afforded by the Mission provides a warm respite from the cold and wet weather outside. Aside from serving tea and coffee, those involved have steadily gained trust in one another – to the point where humor and bubbly greetings has become the starting point of every conversation. In each of the above service projects, people are held at the forefront. It is in this frame of mind that the Vinnies involved have come to a deeper understanding of the Vincentian charism and the significance of positive socialization through face to face contact.
Preparing for Upcoming Initiatives
Throughout the year Vinnies from Liston and St Dominic’s College have been fundraising for their annual Ranui Caravan Park Christmas Fun Day. Amidst their focus on different projects, events and initiatives, this preparation will allow them to ensure that families in need are able to celebrate Christmas. There has been a lot of feedback from the caregivers of the children throughout the years, and all of it is positive. Both Junior and Senior students have stepped up since and did the Colleges proud, with many leadership qualities coming to the forefront along the way.
North Regional Gathering
Recently the Vinnies of Carmel and Rosmini College came together for a regional gathering. In the space of a few short hours, the collective shared with one another what drew them to the Vincentian charism and how they choose to live it out. The group also unpacked what home means to them, and how they can create a space of belonging for those they serve. This included an exploration of homelessness and the importance of mindfulness when planning projects for the community.
As part of the Vinnies Youth Programme, schools that are involved receive regular input sessions for education and formative purposes. These are designed to inform their service works throughout the year. Recently, a series of schools have undertaken the exploration of Social Exclusion – one of many topics the Vinnies Youth Team unpack in schools. Teachings have been focused particularly around real stories of those we work with, the importance of upholding dignity and learning specific empathy tools. These are all promoted so as to provide students with a deeper understanding of how they can best serve those on the margins of society.
In addition, other schools have chosen to focus on homelessness, alongside participation in projects to support those who go without. During the input session students explore the three types of homelessness: Those who sleep it rough on the street, those moving from house to house such as couch surfers, and lastly those who are in temporary conditions such as boarding houses or hostels. These visits are important as they provide the backbone for Vinnies to see the situation and reflect upon it before acting.
Every Bit Counts: Students Assisting at Kingsland SVdP
Volunteering at the Vinnies Centre afterschool goes a long way in supporting the day staff and volunteers. Each week, four schools rotate to assist at the opshop and foodbank of Vinnies in Kingsland. Tasks that they may be involved in are maintaining the stock of clothing for the opshop, unloading donations from generous donors and creating food parcels for those in need. Without their assistance we would not be able to aid the hundreds of families who come through our doors. After a long day of serving clients and customers, these school volunteers provide a breath of fresh air and energy to keep the team going.
Gathering As One Family: AVSSC Meeting
Recently the Auckland Vinnies Secondary Schools Council (AVSSC) gathered for their second to last meeting for the year. These young men and women have been receiving leadership and formation over the past eight months, and so the evening was an opportunity to reflect on the journey so far. The collective viewed a short clip which detailed their actions for those in need.
Fatigued as the students were from juggling a number of realities, they were thankful for the opportunity to take a step back and look at their service works and its impact upon society. Through reflective process they were able to feedback the ways in which service resonated with them and how they hope to use the teachings in future.
United in Faith and Mission
We were privileged to connect in with Olivia, Youth Coordinator from Christchurch, Stephanie, Queensland State Youth Manager and Amanda, State Youth Coordinator from Australia over the course of four days. Though our time together was short, they wasted no time getting in and amongst the service projects and events that Vinnies Youth Auckland had to offer. They attended school visitations, AVSSC and regional Vinnies gatherings, and even put together an assortment of food parcels and toiletry packs for families.