Roby Curtis, the founder of Emmanuel City Mission (formerly Blind Eye Ministries), is well known to ATC. A former student at a neighbouring Edmund Rice school, Roby has frequently visited ATC to speak with year groups and staff about his mission. He impresses upon our young men, the importance of looking out for the homeless and those who are vulnerable.
However, what is most impressive about Roby, is that he’s a man of action. His commitment to serving others has manifested into what is now Emmanuel City Mission, which feeds, clothes, and supports up to 100 men and women on a daily basis. What was once a small space with a simple BBQ, is now a haven, consisting of toilet and shower facilities, drop-in marketplace for clothes and essential supplies, areas for prayer and reflection as well as a newly installed commercial kitchen, the latter, a clear indication of the growing demand to help support people living on the streets. People from all walks of life are welcomed with open arms for a tea or coffee, or simply just for an opportunity to find some rest in a safe place.
Under normal circumstances, our entire Year 9 cohort would be gearing up for a retreat that would see them spending the whole day with Roby and the team at ECM. They would hear the stories of the people that frequent ECM, learn about the issue of homelessness and prepare lunch for the visitors. You would find the Yr 10, 11 and 12 students of Munster at ECM on a weekly basis, serving food and providing comfort to the many visitors. With the year that has been so far, our students are unable to visit ECM in person, but that has not prevented our community from rallying behind the cause at ECM.
Our Senior Munster homerooms have been providing home cooked meals for the visitors at ECM on a regular basis. In addition, recently the College was able to donate over 80 care packs containing everyday essentials, as well as a pallet of long-life milk to support the tea/coffee station at ECM. Our connection with Roby, the volunteers and the people that make use of ECM’s services, is one of the most authentic links to Service that we provide our students. Through this association, our students see Service through a very real lens. They get a boots-on-the-ground feel for the need to Serve and assist others, and they, like everyone who is involved with ECM, come away energised and wanting to do more.
Our community will be aware that to facilitate each student’s development in the realm of Service, each cohort and/or House is linked with a Friendship Group. These Friendship Groups are an external organisation that we partner with to provide students with authentic opportunities to help others. As much as we aim to help these organisations, the help is very much reciprocal, in that, while our students set-out to do the ‘helping’, the people in these organisations give our students much more. The students come away from their time with Friendship Groups motivated to do more. They come away knowing more about other people, more about the world they live in and more about themselves. It’s for this reason that we’re so grateful to work with the amazing groups and people that form our Friendship Groups.
Whilst it has been difficult for us to maintain the presence that we would normally have with these Friendship Groups, students and families are encouraged to look into their respective Friendship Groups, learn more about them, what they offer, who they cater for, and if possible….how we can help. After all, that is what it means to be an ATC Man of Courage.