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The gift of giving

Mercedes College students have helped spread Christmas cheer to a group of young mums who most need support this Christmas, donating special festive care packages to clients residing in MercyCare’s Coolock Units.

Fifteen Year 11 Students have been exploring some of the issues around homelessness as part of their Family and Community Stage 1 WACE studies, which involves creating family care baskets to assist young homeless mothers accessing support services through MercyCare.

The family care baskets are packed full of little luxuries such as perfume and moisturisers, children’s toys and essential items such as nappies.

MercyCare’s Coolock Units provides up to six months medium term accommodation and support services, teaching the young women important life skills in areas ranging from cooking and cleaning to budgeting, parenting skills, linking with community, emotional support, tenancy preparation and practical support and assistance to find and maintain independent accommodation or housing.

Ms Venaille said that the family care baskets would be a much-appreciated gesture for the young mums, particularly at Christmas-time, due to many of the mums residing in the Coolock Units not having the means to splurge on luxuries.

“Each year the MercyCare team is enormously appreciative of the beautiful baskets Mercedes students prepare,” she said.

“When we pass the goodies on to the mums at Christmas it’s not something they expect, so they are really grateful, because the baskets contain things they wouldn’t normally be able to go out and buy for themselves, things like toys for the kids, or little luxuries like perfume or moisturisers, as well as the practical things they need like nappies.”

Ms Venaille visited Mercedes last month to speak with the students about MercyCare’s support services for people within the local community who are homeless or facing homelessness.

“The response from the girls was really fantastic – they were really engaged and interested in wanting to know more about the service. They asked lots of questions at the end of the session about homelessness and how the services were able to help young mums in particular,” she said.

Mercedes College Technology and Enterprise Teacher Carolyn Vlahov said thanks to the project the Year 11 students gained an insight into how poverty and homelessness not only effects the elderly, but a growing percentage of young people across Australia

“We feel that this group of individuals need support and recognition regarding their situation at a time in their young lives where they find themselves in need or in a crisis situation,” Ms Vlahov said.

“MercyCare Youth Services does a great deal to support young people and young women, and we are grateful that as a College we can contribute in a small way to making their Christmas a little bit more special by letting them know that other young people acknowledge and care about them, as it is approaching Christmas and the message of ‘giving’ and thinking about others in need can be enacted in a very thoughtful way.”