On Tuesday 22nd October 2019, the VCAL students at Ozford College took part in the Salvation Army Homelessness tour of Melbourne.
The two and half hour program is situated in the CBD. The Ozford students spent the first hour or so in the 59 Bourke Street Education office developing their understanding of homelessness and challenge any stereotypes. An open discussion around the issues of homelessness, followed by media clips and a range of activities were incorporated to allow students to deeply engage with the issue. The activities encouraged students to connect with why someone may experience homelessness and some of the challenges the experience poses, particularly for young people.
In the second hour, the group were taken for a walk around the CBD, stopping in locations where people have slept rough in the past and sharing stories, with consent, that encourage empathy and the idea that ‘everybody has a story’. Students learnt how to support one another and themselves in the case of social hardship. The Salvation army also provide advice on where to seek support and reinforce the importance of reaching out if you’re struggling.
For many of our students, it was the first time they had confronted a dark reality of living in Melbourne. For many, it was an eye opening experience that left them reflecting on their perceptions and understanding of those less fortunate than themselves.