Connecting with schools

It has been a hectic start to 2016 for schools and McAuley Community Services for Women.  Early in the new school year our CEO Jocelyn Bignold and communications and advocacy advisor Penny Underwood met with Mercy Education and Mercy school principals to explore ways to connect more intensively over the next three years.

As Jocelyn told the group, the opening of McAuley House in Pickett Street at the end of 2016 will provide more opportunities for schools to fundraise for our homelessness service, and to have the chance to learn more about the link between family violence and homelessness for women.

An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report released earlier this year once again highlighted the link between family violence and homelessness, with 36 per cent of the total demand on homelessness services made up by women and children escaping family violence.

It found that 187,000 people, mostly women and children, accessed homelessness services because of family violence from 2011 to 2014.

“Our work with schools very much focuses on this link as well as the need for boys and girls to learn that no means no and that mutual respect and respectful relationships are critical,” said Penny Underwood.

Over the last two months, McAuley staff have spoken at four different schools – Carey Baptist Grammar School, Padua College, St Aloysius College and Melbourne Girls Grammar School – about its work.

Each school has committed to raising funds for our work, with Academy of Mary Immaculate leading the way with a $4,000 cheque, followed swiftly by Gadsden House at Carey Baptist Grammar School which raised $800 at its house assembly while students and parents donated enough new linen for 50 women and children in our refuges and safe house.

Kaillee Dyke, our events and fundraising coordinator, said: “It was thrilling working alongside students from Padua and St Aloysius and to hear their plans to learn more about the twin issues of family violence and homelessness, as well as their determination to raise funds and awareness.”

McAuley Community Services for Women has an enthusiastic team who love to work with young people to make change happen. Please call us on 9371 6600 or email to discuss how we can support your initiatives.

Caption: Kaillee Dyke with St Aloysius College students Vicky and Kelly.