Joseph Frawley, a former intern at the St Vincent de Paul Society who has committed to sleeping out in his car for 15 weeks whilst completing his Law Honours thesis at the Australian National University, reached his $13,000 target today through the generous support of Lambert Parkhill Financial Group.
Joe’s Thesis Sleepout started on July 20, a frosty night in the middle of winter, and will run through to the end of his thesis on October 30 to raise awareness and funds for the Society’s Clemente higher education program.
"When I learned about Joe’s extraordinary effort via the media, I immediately gave Vinnies a call to offer our support," Ron Lambert, Managing Director of Lambert Parkhill Financial Group, said. “I’ve done well in my business and sharing a modest part of our business success to help people doing it tough to improve their situation feels like the right thing to do.”
Joseph says that after 46 uncomfortable nights sleeping out in his car, the generous gesture of Lambert Parkhill is a welcome boost to his morale.
"I feel truly encouraged by the tremendous community support that I’ve received in the past six weeks,” he said, admitting that sleep deprivation, cold and rain do add to the challenge. “Receiving a donation like this is exciting and humbling. It is incredibly uplifting that Canberra's business community is committed to helping those who are disadvantaged receive a hand up. Meeting with Lambert Parkhill today, I was amazed by their warmth, generosity and enthusiasm for my endeavour. I hope to be able to be as charitable as they are in the future."
When asked whether this would be the end of his fundraising efforts, Joseph says: “Every $2,000 that I manage to raise in the remaining nine weeks enables a student to attend a semester of tertiary education so I hope that there may be more organisations out there that see the value of contributing.”
Frank Brassil, President of the St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn, explains “Our Clemente program in partnership with the Australian Catholic University enables people who have experienced homelessness, family breakdown, addictions, mental health issues or disabilities to access a higher education program and be introduced to the opportunities of tertiary study. It receives no government funding and it costs Vinnies approximately $2,000 to put a student through a semester. It is a real “hand up” program than transforms people’s lives. It is a worthwhile investment considering what doors education can open for the participants.”
Last year 119 persons who have suffered trauma or setbacks in their lives enrolled in Clemente in Canberra.
“Joseph’s selfless dedication to making a difference in the community and giving a hand up to people less fortunate is incredibly inspiring,” said Mr. Brassil who warmly thanked Lambert Parkhill Financial Group for their generous support.
Joe has been documenting his experiences through short videos and a blog, where you can hear about his experiences and struggles, “to try and stay positive despite being extremely sleep deprived”, and more.