One such ‘light bulb’ event in the ATC calendar was held last Friday. Our Year 9 ‘Seniors’ embarked on their retreat ‘The Southbank Story.’ Southbank is frequently referred to as a bit of a pride of place within Brisbane. It hosts large community events such as River Fire and the Bridge to Brisbane fun run, but also contains many restaurants and bars which lure tourists from all corners of the globe. However, in the surrounding suburbs, many locals confront challenges every day which shape their lives and influence our perspectives of them.
Many of the poor and marginalised people in our city, spend substantial parts of their lives in the inner city. Homeless men, women and children shelter under bridges and depend on organisations such as St Vincent De Paul and Blind Eye Ministries to get through each week. Our students had the opportunity to engage with such organisations and listen to the stories of those most affected. It was my highlight of the year to observe 95 boys completely encapsulated by the lessons of a former prisoner (Wade served 8 years in Wacol goal) and young men living on the streets. Our young men were empowered by the words of Father Tony (chaplain to 6 prisons in South East Queensland) and the story of the local Indigenous people presented by Uncle Des Sandy. The boys learned and experienced how we all can help to serve those most in need.
Our boys listened, learned and reflected on some of the real stories that play out around Southbank. The day is sure to act as a catalyst for them as they continue to grow into men of action, embodying their ‘Signum Fidei’ and growing to be advocates and aware for those most in need in our world.
As quoted in Matthew’s Gospel, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
I look forward to more of our boys experiencing a similar transformational experience as they mature, and for our Year 9 cohort to embrace the concept of ‘Service’ with even more determination.
Service Program Week 5
Zachary Williams (Year 6) and his mum volunteered for OzHarvest, a food rescue charity, rescuing excess food that would normally go to waste, and using it to feed the needy. At the Night Noodle Markets, part of the Good Food Month festival in South Bank, they helped sell fortune cookies for a gold coin donation. Volunteers have helped raise a fortune, well over $3000!
Some boys attended the Sailability program again this week. It was great to have boys coming for a second time as they are familiar with the clients and staff. It truly makes you appreciate how blessed and lucky we are and how simple everyday tasks like eating or moving about, are not as simple for everyone.