St Philomena's Moree
Mini Vinnies Conference
Year Book, 2018
From the Youth coordinator
Mini Vinnies Gatherings Snapshots
Table of Contents
High School Camp Snapshots
The drought has impacted many of the communities in the Diocese this year. I would like to point out though, just how generous our kids and their families have been. Mini Vinnies and High School Conferences have raised much needed funds & material goods for us to distribute around the region to people in need. McCarthy in Tamworth deserves a special mention in this regard. However there are also smaller schools like St Joseph's in Warialda who have stepped up and contributed despite the suffering in their community. School based Vinnies Conferences have continued to be generous contributers to the Winter and Christmas appeals, through events like sleep outs and pauper's banquets, in donations of food and clothing, and also in cash. On behalf of the Society and everyone who you have helped, thank you very much.
This year, we had almost full participation from schools in our Diocesan High School Camp at Lake Keepit. Students came together in mixed groups to discuss which social justice issues they were most passionate about, and where they wanted to effect change in their world. There was robust discussion and lots of ideas were floated around. When back in their school groups, the kids decided what projects they would embark on in 2018.
Our primary school kids participated in activities involving similar themes at the 3 Mini Vinnies Gatherings held this year. and were likewise focused on effecting change in their worlds. It has been exciting to see growth in the number of Mini Vinnies Conferences around the Diocese and I would like very much to thank all of the teachers and coordinators for their ongoing support of Vinnies in their schools.
Outside of the school environment, we have also expanded our children's respite programs into Tamworth. The Tamworth Family Support Service and the Coledale Community Centre have been instrumental in providing a venue, free of charge and referrals to the program. I want to thank our dedicated group of volunteers also, without whom we would be unable to deliver our programs. We will continue to run Homework Club and Buddies Days in Armidale and Tamworth during 2019. My vision is to have at least one of these programs in each of our four regions in the Diocese. The dream is to be able to reach out to all children facing disadvantage in each of the major towns. If you would like to know more about how to get involved with our children's programs, always feel free to give me a ring on 0433810423 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lastly, I would like to make special mention of some appointments to our Diocesan and Regional Councils. Sophie Warner has been appointed to the position of Diocesan Youth Representative. Sophie, an active Mini Vinnies and High School conference member, completed her HSC at O'Connor in 2018 and has been a committed Youth Leader in our Armidale Homework Club program for the last two years. Sophie has been involved with the local Scouts unit in Armidale for sometime and recently received a medal from the NSW Governor for her hard work. Sophie will be involved in all matters Youth in 2019. Nicholas Brown and Jessica Zhou, both 4th year Medical students and seasoned respite program helpers have been appointed to Diocesan Social Justice and Twinning advisors respectively, while Amber Fisher and Belinda Macri - both recent UNE graduates and Homework Club volunteers will serve as Youth and Social Justice reps in said order. I'm personally very proud of each appointee.
Wishing you and your families a safe, enjoyable, productive and Christ focused 2019
Best wishes, Michael O'Kane -Youth Coordinator.
From the youth - Coordinator
Jasmine Cuell - Yesterday at the Mini Vinnies Gathering we had to get into groups to interact. It was very loud but it was a lot of fun and good to meet others.
Lachlan - Yesterday we had the Mini Vinnies Gathering. Thank you for coming and we really appreciated it.
Mini Vinnies Gathering Snapshots
Jasmin Briggs - The Mini Vinnies Gathering was a great day. We got to meet different students and made new friends. We learned new things and got to meet new the teachers from St Philomena’s.
Breeanna Dunnicliff - The Mini Vinnies Gathering was a great day. There were a lot more kids than I expected. I made some new friends their names were Charlotte and Jane. I think they were really nice
...who can you see?
High School Camp Snapshots
"Throughout the year students at St Joseph's have been involved in many works through Mini Vinnies. All 33 students from Kindergarten to Year 6 are a part of our Mini Vinnies group. Each week the students visited the residents at McMaugh Gardens Aged Care Centre. Whilst with the residents the students chatted, interviewed and learned, entertained, sang, performed plays and just spent time together. The residents were also hosted at our school to take part in and judge our Easter Hat Parade, and watched our Christmas play. This brought joy and happiness to both the residents and the students alike.
In addition to visiting our local nursing home we have been very aware of the needs of others in our community. The students met on several occasions to pray and discuss the needs of our community. An extensive list was created. From this list the students prioritised according to the most pressing need. The decision was unanimous; supporting the drought relief through St Vincent de Paul was our greatest concern. The students suggested many ways to fundraise for this cause. A Bike-a-Thon was the preferred event.
Last Friday saw the climax of our school Mini Vinnies fundraising with a whole school Bike-a-thon. This was a very successful event, raising beyond our target of $10 per student. The students showed perseverance, a healthy competitive spirit and enjoyment, but most of all they understood that through their effort someone else in need was being supported. The event was capped off with a well deserved BBQ lunch. Several parents/grandparents came to share the occasion with their children. All Staff, and even the painters working in the school, supported our fundraising effort."
St Joseph's Uralla
"Our Kinder to Year 2 students joined our Mini Vinnies to present the ladies from Warialda St Vincent de Paul with our donation for the annual Winter Appeal. The children wore items of warm clothing to school and brought in blankets and wraps. They sorted these items and were rewarded with some yummy treats and lemonade. Thank you to the families and friends of St Joseph’s for their generosity and thank you to the Vinnies ladies for hosting us."
St Joseph's Warialda
"On Friday 30th November the St Nicholas School Mini Vinnies team issued a challenge to all staff and students. The challenge was to spread Christmas Joy throughout the school community by wearing something ‘Christmassy’ or having a ‘Crazy’ hairstyle and to say one nice thing to another person that would make them feel good. We raised over $600.00 on the day which will be donated to our local St Vincent de Paul Society."
St Joseph's Tamworth
St Nicholas Tamworth
Joey's kids presenting winter appeal donations to Tamworth conference members
Sarah-Jane Canham busily leading the kids during a Mini Vinnies Gathering Activity at St Edward's Tamworth
St Patrick's Walcha
"The Christmas Season is the perfect time to stop and reflect on the meaning of Christmas, because of the birth of Jesus we take the time to give and spend time with special people. St Patrick's Walcha Mini Vinnies have capitalised on this theme and have had a busy Term 4 carrying out several projects they have been planning. Posters posters posters are hanging in the school everywhere! The students have just completed making the all the posters for each of the events that are happening!
Mini Vinnies are currently running a colouring-in competition. The colouring-in aptly chosen was the nativity scene of Mary, Joseph and Jesus. Students paid $2 to enter with prizes to a winner from each class. This closed in Week 9 with the winner announced the following week.
In addition, the Mini Vinnies encouraged the Christmas Appeal. Families were asked to bring in items that could be donated to people less fortunate than us for their Christmas lunch or celebrations. Families donated special foods and items that make Christmas gatherings that little bit more special. At Week 9's assembly, students precessed forward and placed their donations under the Christmas tree. Our school was very generous in their giving!
It's show time! The students are busy practicing for the Talent Show to be held in week 10. There are stacks of acts already signed up on our sign on sheet. Acts include magic, Katie Perry and even .... Students are charged a gold coin to enter and a gold coin to watch - or both! We look forward to some home grown talent on show!
Finally, the students will visit Riverview, the age care facility in Walcha. The students will make some special gifts for the residents for Christmas and then head down to spend some time with them. While we are there, the students will sing some carols and spread some Christmas love to those in our community who may may be lonely at this time of the year. "
St Joseph's Quirindi
"Our Mini Vinnies and Secondary SVDP chapters supported the work of Catholic Mission during Mission Month. One event held was the sock-it-to-poverty day... Students wore crazy socks and donated a pair of new socks (to our local SVDP). At lunch time K-10 came together for a "Rock Your Socks Off" dance party! It was a fabulous day and 372 pairs of socks were donated to Moree SVDP President Mrs Colleen Nash."
St Philomena's Moree
St Philomena's students tape the teachers to raise money for St Vincent de Paul winter appeal
"The school got behind St Vincent de Paul Society’s 2018 winter appeal on Friday, June 22, with the St Philomena's School Mini Vinnies and Secondary SVDP Chapters organising a fun day of fundraising. Students dressed in Vinnies’ colours blue and white for a gold coin donation and at morning tea they taped six teachers, including principal Karen Jagers, to poles. For a $2 donation students could wrap a teacher in a length of tape, until eventually all teachers were suspended to the poles they were taped to. The brave teachers included principal Mrs Jagers, Mr O’Donnell, Mr King, Miss Fogarty, Miss Gibson and Miss Russ.
Organising teacher Mary Davison said it was a huge success. “Everyone had a great time and we raised quite a bit of money,” she said.
On Friday night, the students were also encouraged to organise their own sleepout, giving them a glimpse into the realities of ‘sleeping rough’ for a night to raise awareness and funds for Vinnies’ homelessness services. With their parents’ permission and support, the students could get together with their friends and generate awareness by posting photos to social media using the hashtag #philliesvinnies2018wintersleepout. All money raised will go directly to Moree’s St Vincent de Paul Society to help local people struggling to make ends meet this winter. "
"'McCarthy students launched a fundraising campaign in 2018 with a goal of $20000 to help drought affected families. While the adult leaders involved appreciate it, they say that they're not suprised at the teens' generosity. Still Principal Geoff McManus said "It heartens us."
McCarthy Catholic College and Students have worked closely with Vinnies to get cash and items to people in need. They collected non-perishable food, and raised money through a variety of other events held at the school. Mr McManus said "It wouldn't be the first time that kids would come and knock on my door...and say 'I think we need to do this.' We've previously been working with Australia's Catholic Mission and have outreach to a number of places overseas - Africa, India and Uganda in recent times - but the kids felt that it was so important that we don't look overseas this year, that we look locally", he said. "Our mission statement is receive, worship, serve." 'We're always trying to encourage them to understand that - funny, for teenagers - that life isn't always about them, but it's about: how do I position myself to be looking outward to support people who are worse off than me?
Year 11's Alice Bruyn said peers from farming families were doing it tough.
."We had a couple of girls come into one of our meetings and they were like, 'This is really affecting us personally; thank you so much', which brought it all back to home."
"We had a couple of girls come into one of our meetings and they were like, 'This is really affecting us personally; thank you so much', which brought it all back to home." Co-organiser Cameron Martin said: They mentioned that they were struggling to get running water to their house, and other resources." School Captain Tom Rindo said it was another worry for students off farms. "We've got all the pressures of study, school, sport and everything, and this drought has created another level of stress."
Vinnies Diocesan President, Paul Burton said that he was "deeply impressed" with the "energy, enthusiasm and commitment" to help. The Young students he'd worked with in his career had been "just magnificent - they always have been and they always will be."
"These students are very, very typical of the support students have given the society over a very long period of time" "
Edited version of article published in the Northern Daily Leader - Thursday 6/9/18. Reproduced with permission.
"This year we, students at St Mary of the Angels, have been reaching out to the children within our own school that might be feeling lonely or want to meet or make new friends. During the first two terms we ran an activity during lunch time where we invited any students that want to come and participate in this.
In term 1 we attended a Mini-Vinnies Gathering at Glen Innes St Joseph’s School. We met up with other Mini Vinnies groups from other schools. It was a chance for us to make friends with people that are reaching out to others at their school as well as to find out what they are doing. It was a fantastic opportunity and we thank Michael from St Vincent De Paul for organising this day.
We invited all students that wanted to be part of our Mini Vinnies group. We got a fantastic turn out and had about 40 students attend this. Our Mini Vinnies team ranges from Kindergarten to Year 6. Together we decided that we would plan a roster for the first two terms with fortnightly activities. We invited all students to participate in activities to reach out to those lonely students. We included students from Year K to 6 to run groups making sure that we have a senior leader with our younger students. This worked really well and we noticed students mixing with other students. It was a fantastic start.
During Term 3, we invited students in the school to learn to knit. Again it was a great turn out with a different mix of students. This term, with the increased school activities we have slowed down but have gotten together to make cards for members in the community that are going through hard times. It has been a great year for our Mini Vinnies team and they have definitely met their goal of reaching out to other students. "
Shanae Wark, Brooke Newbury & Emily Jackson, Mini Vinnies Publicity Officers 2018
St Joseph's Guyra
"This year Glen Innes Mini Vinnies students have raised money for the drought appeal and the Vinnies Christmas Appeal. The students have also organised and run a number of events for the whole school. The Vinnies students worked with the school SRC to plan and run a “Down on the Farm Fun Day” for the whole school. This was a wonderful opportunity for the whole school to enjoy a variety of farm themed games.
The students have also organised a very successful Christmas Free Dress Day at which they had a Christmas biscuit icing activity.
The Mini Vinnies students have supported the Kindergarten to Year 2 children by leading a variety of games at morning tea and lunchtime during Term 4. They have also had “Early Bird reading” in which they listened to Kindergarten children read before school."
St Joseph's Glen Innes
Down on the farm day
Christmas Free Dress
Christmas Biscuit Icing
St Joseph's Barraba
Sacred Heart Boggabri
Also late in Term 1, all of our members from Years 3-6 were very fortunate to be involved with a Mini Vinnies Conference that was held at St Joseph’s Primary, Glen Innes using the Google Hangout program. All of the members had a great time, especially with having the chance to work with other Mini Vinnies members from other schools. The children are definitely looking forward to attending a Mini Vinnies Conference next year."
"This year the Mini Vinnies Group at Sacred Heart Primary, Boggabri have changed their plan of attack in their fundraising ideas. Every week throughout the school year, all of the members have been collecting various bottles and juice containers from home and also the school. They then cash them in at the collection depot at the Woolworths car park at Gunnedah. The whole community have supported the Mini Vinnies members with this fundraising idea as parents, grandparents, local clubs, pubs and other business ventures allow the students to collect their bottles. A big thank you goes out to our school cleaner and other helpers who make the weekly trip to Gunnedah to cash in the bottles.
Lake Keepit at dusk 26th October 2017
Conference members were presented with their badges earlier this year.
St Mary's Armidale
"This year at St Mary’s our Mini Vinnie’s team has worked hard for both our school and the wider community. They have shown great enthusiasm and spirit in all they have been involved in.
St Mary’s Sending Out Smoko
St Mary’s provided “smoko” for farmers in the far west of the state over the last week of the October school holidays.
The School’s Mini Vinnie’s team made gift cards for all the parcels and spent the day tying them up with string and adding in cards of support and encouragement that had been made by all students in the school. St Mary’s staff member, Mrs Phelps and her family visited some of the drought affected areas 150 km west of Moree around Rowena and Spring Plains. They delivered 7 large boxes of over 100 individually packaged home baked goods. The Phelps Family personally visited around 15 - 20 homes and chatted with farmers and farm workers and their families. They had a lot of cups of tea and ate a lot of cookies!
During the 4 days, they delivered the St Mary's Smoko to about another 50 mailboxes. The children of this school put so much thought and effort into drawings, art and sentiments on these notes. Drought affected people found these most touching and the gesture truly helped them in a meaningful way.
The school has since been receiving many notes, cards, FaceBook posts and text messages acknowledging this thoughtful gesture from St Mary's School. The common theme is of appreciation and gratitude in having found the surprise gift of smoko in their mailboxes, along with the thoughtful cards and well wishes
Check out some of the responses below;
Anna Sevil "Thank you so much students, staff and parents for your very generous “smoko”. It has made its way all the way to Rowena in NW NSW and was such a lovely surprise when I got home today. "
Leigh Butler Sevil "Thank you so very much for the beautiful morning tea and the lovely notes. Your gorgeous gift made our day and the cookies, cakes and slices were absolutely delicious!"
Christine McDonnell "Thank you so much for the home baked goodies & gorgeous cards"
Vanessa Radford "Absolutely loved coming home to freshly baked biscuits and opening cards with beautiful heartfelt messages Thankyou "
Aleena Greenaway "Thank you for the lovely letters and biscuits left in our mailbox. Definitely brightened our day!! "
Teresa Brummell "Thank you for the delicious treats in our mail box. It was a lovely surprise."
Susan Ricardo "We were blessed to receive a surprise visit from our beautiful friends the Phelps family. They delivered the most amazing cards and messages with delicious smoko to us. I cried. I was so moved that the kids and parents and staff and the Phelps family all went to so much trouble to make us feel loved and cared for. Thank you all very much for these blessing you wrote and made for us. Lots of Love the Ricardo family." "
Jacaranda Social Club Visits
"St Mary’s Mini Vinnie's students visited the Jacaranda Social Club throughout Term 4. This is run by the Home Nursing group and offers a variety of activities designed to promote positive interaction and to meet client's physical needs. Our students went along with games to play and books to read. Our group were a credit to our school striking up conversations with the elderly clients and playing games with them."
St Vincent De Paul Winter Appeal
"St Mary's School community raised $454.50 to support the Winter Appeal with everyone wearing their Winter Woolies. The school was also able to provide 104 blankets to our local St Vincent de Paul. Our Mini Vinnies team was very active in the fundraising ensuring that all students knew what was happening and then collecting money and blankets when they arrived at school. They then delivered the blankets and a cheque to our local Vinnies shop."
What else has Our Mini Vinnie’s Been Up Too?
"The team at St Mary’s has been; cleaning the Cathedral, helping out at Mother’s Day and Father’s Day stalls, wrapping prizes for the lucky dip at the school fete, setting up the coin line and collecting money for the Catholic Missions. All in all the St Vinnie’s team at St Mary’s has done a fantastic job of which the school is very proud."
Frederic's 'Conference of Charity'
planning their activities..