Homelessness in Tasmania Awareness Program and Challenge

  • Are your students motivated by social justice issues?

  • Do your young learners want to make a difference?

  • What is the Bethlehem House Schools Sleepout?

This inaugural school sleep-out event is a fun opportunity for your school to hold an overnight school camp or an awareness raising activity to raise funds for homeless men in Tasmania and raise awareness of some of the challenges they face. The event is an opportunity for Tasmanian schools to educate students, teachers and parents about the challenges that homeless men face on a day to day basis.

How does it work?

The sleepout will be facilitated and supported by Bethlehem House but school events will be managed and run by each participating school. The sleep-out can be held at any time of year, to integrate with the school calendar of events. The idea is that each participating school create a sleep out camp for students and parents. If this idea doesn’t fit with school policy, however, you’re welcome to run a different kind of awareness raising activity. Some ideas; turn off heating for a period of time, turn the lights off so it’s hard to see etc.
Why are we running this event?

Schools Sleep-out Challenge

Bethlehem House CEO, Stephanie Kirkman Meikle On A Sleep-out

Last I took part in the CEO sleep-out to raise awareness and funds for homelessness and was humbled by the stories told in a very dignified way by homeless men of their experiences, often as a young person, of sleeping rough through freezing winter nights.

This year, I thought how amazing it would be if every young person had the same opportunity to sleep out and to reflect on what it would be like to be homeless, having to sleep-out rather than choosing to. This has motivated me to extend this invitation to schools in Tasmania to sleep-out just for one night.

How does it align with the curriculum?

This new event aligns with the PSHE, religious studies, human geography and community studies curriculum to engage students in learning about homelessness in Tasmania today, it’s causes and the challenges the social care and voluntary sectors face in trying to assist people who have lost everything in becoming homeless.

Who is Bethlehem House?

Back Pack Bed and Tent

Back Pack Bed and Tent

Bethlehem House is a well-loved not-for-profit organisation that assists over 300 men each year who needs a bed for anything from 1 night to a full year and longer. 12,000 meals are provided to homeless men, including residents and street homeless persons. When 33 bed spaces are full then sadly, we can do little more than provide a hot shower, a meal and a blanket or sleeping bag for those who sleep on the streets, in the bush, in cars and on friends’ couches. This event is an initiative to increase resources for this highly valued organisation so they can turn away less homeless men and support those needing assistance better.

Benefits for schools

  • Support and educate students and the community about men’s homelessness
  • Run an event which supports a vitally important local charity
  • Run an event which provides educative tools, talks and material to make the event organisation easier
  • Your school will retain control over how and when your event is run so that the event can comply with school policies and fits with the school calendar and priorities

Benefits for students

  • Learn about the realities and challenges homeless men face
  • Senior students can gain industry understanding of the social care sector’s response to homelessness
  • An avenue to express compassion for a disadvantaged group
  • Event organisation experience for the event champion and team

What happens next?

If you would like to register your interest in participating in the Tasmanian Schools Sleep-out Challenge, fill in this form to register before 31st April 2018.

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Bethlehem House Tasmania will provide participating schools with:

  • An event kit containing support materials, fundraising tips, instructions for student and staff organisers
  • An inspirational speaker for your school assembly to kick start the sleep-out challenge.

Thank you in anticipation of your support and participation in the Tasmanian Schools Sleep-out Challenge!

Kind regards

Stephanie Kirkman Meikle, CEO