A group of Year 8 St Margaret’s students spent Friday night sleeping in St John’s Cathedral to ‘walk a mile in the shoes’ of youth who sleep rough and to raise funds to help people in the community who are disadvantaged.
Run by Anglicare Southern Queensland, ‘A Night in the Cathedral’ raised awareness among school students of the issue of youth homelessness and the fact 40 per cent of Queenslanders who sleep rough are under the age of 25.
The thirteen Year 8 student participants raised over $700 through fundraising activities and camped out in the Cathedral, alongside St Margaret’s Chaplain The Rev’d Canon Nicki Colledge and Head of Year 8 Claire Bloomer.
Canon Colledge said watching the students setting up their makeshift bedding for the night in the Cathedral helped make the students more mindful of both their own home comforts and the experiences of youth who sleep rough every night.
“Sleeping on cold stone with only a layer of cardboard for padding certainly built an appreciation for the comforts of home, on so many levels,” Canon Colledge said.
“One night’s experience opened their eyes to the plight and circumstances of others in their own city, and hopefully their empathy hasn’t diminished on their return to their own warm beds and fridges of food.”
Participating student Lily Shann described the experience as eye-opening.
“I felt as if sometimes the things I have, such as a comfortable bed and a roof over my head, are taken for granted,” Ms Shann said.
“This experience has shown me that not everyone has life’s basic necessities, such as a roof over their head and a soft, warm bed and that we should be grateful for these things.”
Another participant Emi McBride said she could now empathise with those who sleep rough after having the opportunity to walk in their shoes.
“Sleeping on cement with merely a thin layer of cardboard to separate you from the ground and keep you comfortable is extremely different to my fluffy mattress and pillows at home.
“I was able to empathise with the homeless youths because I walked in their shoes, although not quite to the full extent.
“It made me realise I am fortunate to have shelter, a protective roof over my head and food and water.”