Geelong’s Girl Guides have had a taste of sleeping rough to raise money for youth homelessness in the region.
The community group completed its Brave The Cold initiative to raise money for The Geelong Project as part of Homelessness Week.
The Geelong Project aims to prevent homelessness by keeping young people at home, in school, and linked to the community. Early intervention is a key part to reducing homelessness.
The program is led by BCYF, run in conjunction with seven schools in the Geelong region, Geelong Region LLEN and Upstream Australia (which works with UniSA). Last calendar year, The Geelong Project supported 408 young people.
Brave the Cold typically is an awareness project where the Guides sleep overnight, outdoors in a cardboard box.
Because of social distancing guidelines and restrictions, the girls instead gave up their beds for a week and slept on the floor.
Girl Guides Greater Geelong District Manager Belinda George explained the process gives the girls a small insight into the hardships of homelessness, as they asked family and friends to sponsor them, with all funds going to The Geelong Project.
“If they can’t give up their bed for physical or other reasons, we’ve asked the girls to challenge themselves by giving up something else for the week like electronics,” she said.
Geelong Girl Guides already donated $1500.35 to The Geelong Project in May.
“As Brave the Cold has a focus on homelessness, and with Girl Guides being a youth organisation, we feel that The Geelong Project fits in well with our direction and values by supporting youth facing homelessness,” Belinda said.
“We are proud to be able to continue supporting them.”
Manager Youth Services, BCYF, Mandy Baxter thanked the Geelong Girl Guides for their contribution.
“It is pleasing to see young people understanding the importance of supporting young people at risk of homelessness in our community,” she said.
“The Geelong Project delivers a collaborative early intervention approach that has produced unprecedented results in preventing ‘at risk’ young students from becoming homeless, disengaging in their education and leaving school early.”
Results from The Geelong Project in the initial three pilot schools, showed The Geelong Project was successful in reducing the number of homeless young school aged young people in Geelong by 40%, and reducing early school leaving by at risk students by 20%.
For more information on The Geelong Project, visit bcyf.org.au
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