Deni’s Minis make a load of difference

Deni’s Minis make a load of difference

The Record
02/07/2024 12:00 PM

Bubbling with enthusiasm, the Mini Vinnies group at St Michael's Parish School, Deniliquin supports the Society and learn about social justice issues. 


Best known for hosting the ‘Deni Ute Muster’ (it takes place in early October) the south-western NSW town of Deniliquin is also ground zero for one of the most active Mini Vinnies groups in the land, thanks to the enthusiasm of St Michael's Parish School whose Principal, Nicholas Braybon, says he is thrilled to have both students and staff participating in the program. 

‘It's wonderful to acknowledge the contribution of our Mini Vinnies volunteers at St Michael's,’ Mr Braybon told The Record. 

‘Empathy in action, kindness in motion, and service with a smile - Mini Vinnies embodies the spirit of compassion that makes our St Michael's community shine. By lending a hand to those in need, with unwavering faith and compassion, we not only uplift our community but also enrich our own souls with the profound satisfaction of making a difference.’ 

Hurrah to that! 

St Michael’s Parish School, Deniliquin, has had a strong connection to the Society for many years. Activities include collecting non-perishable food items, toys and Christmas party food for adding to the hampers SVdP distributes locally at Christmas time to households in need.  

‘Our annual Pyjama Day, held in June, is often the launch for Vinnies Winter Appeal,’ Principal Braybon said.  

‘Children, parents and teachers come to school dressed in pyjamas, and enjoy a hot breakfast, and donations (both monetary and in the form of goods such as bed linen, warm clothing) are collected for SVDP.’ 

Mini Vinnies began at St Michael’s around 2015 but went into recess during the COVID-19 years. They began again in earnest in 2022 with members of staff volunteering to lead the group.  

‘Children from years 3 to 6 are invited to join - it is totally voluntary. While fundraising for the Society has always been a priority, it has now evolved to include awareness of social justice issues and giving up our own time to assist others,’ Nicholas Braybon added. 

At the beginning of the year, children who wished to be a part of Mini Vinnies attended a commissioning Mass and pledged to take care of themselves, others and God’s creation through prayer and good works. Each meeting begins with the Mini Vinnies prayer. 

This year around 55 children are members - almost one-third of the students at the school. The children were given SVDP badges as a way of displaying membership of the group. Three teachers who are passionate about making children aware of social justice issues, volunteer their time to run the group, which generally meets once a fortnight, at recess, to come up with ideas/activities, learn about social justice issues, organise activities. The group is inviting guest speakers to talk with the children about social justice issues such as homelessness, global poverty and environmental concerns.  

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