Primary School Communities
The St Vincent de Paul Society is a large organisation committed to the Catholic faith that works to improve the lives of people who are disadvantaged by giving them a ‘hand up’ and by advocating on social justice issues. The Society is often referred to as ‘Vinnies’. In the Sydney Archdiocese Central Council Vinnies has over two thousand volunteer Members and around one hundred and fifteen Conferences (groups of people who meet regularly and support people in their local community).
What is Mini Vinnies?
Mini Vinnies Conferences are groups of primary school students who get together within their school community to help others who are disadvantaged. Mini Vinnies introduces children to social justice issues, to the St Vincent de Paul Society and to living faith through action.
What does a Mini Vinnies Conference do?
Mini Vinnies is about doing good works in the community, but it is also about young people meeting to talk and share ideas and concerns, to have fun and to support each other. The Vinnies model of ‘See, Think, Do’ is a great way to get young people thinking and talking about their spirituality. By connecting their beliefs and values with service activities and issues in their community, they can help make their faith real, meaningful and relevant.
Typically the group will meet regularly and will set goals on what they want to do and achieve. The group will look at why they need to do something and how they will do it. Students make up toiletry packs, gather donations of sleeping bags, blankets, scarves, beanies and socks and write messages of hope and friendship to include in gift packs to specialised services across Sydney Archdiocese including accommodation services for women and children and mobile food services such as Sydney Night Patrol
What makes Mini Vinnies such a valuable experience for the children who are part of it is the change it makes in school communities!
How can our Conference learn?
You can choose to take a term by term approach.
Term One- learn about Caritas and opportunities for giving. Raise awareness on overseas aid and what challenges other children are facing in their lives.
Term Two- Look at homelessness and what issues the children can see in their local area. Support the Vinnies Winter Appeal in some way.
Term Three- learn about what the school has to say about charity, research the school’s charism and social justice in general- what does it all mean?
Term Four- Learn about the different causes of poverty, look at what the community can do to improve this. Support the Vinnies Christmas Appeal in some way.
Alternatively you can order some Mini Vinnies Fact Sheets and work your way through each of those. Please click here for these resources.