BRAVING the elements and forgoing sustenance for 24 hours, close to 80 students from Crescent College Comprehensive experienced conditions akin to being homeless this week.
The sixth year students - together with a running rota of 14 dedicated teachers overseeing them - began a 24 hour ‘sleep-out’, collection and fast at Crescent Shopping Centre this Wednesday in order to raise much needed funds for the local society of St Vincent de Paul.
The school recently reinstated its own St Vincent de Paul society due a recognition of the growing need within the local community.
Most of the students were due to sleep outside the shopping centre after a day spent collecting for the society and fasting and teacher Dermot Cowhey said they “were keen to do something”.
“We have reinstated the society and are trying to reinstate this sleep out as well, which used to happen in the school every year,” said Mr Cowhey.
“Basically we want the kids not just to collect money, but to understand what is happening.
“The students will experience the hardship of a fast and sleeping out in the cold and damp and, hopefully, this will give them a sense of what they have and what is worth valuing,” he continued.
“They are going to sleep out here, they are actually going to be outside the shopping centre in the cold and the wet. It could be colder but it is going to be quite damp and yet there was no problem with volunteers, every single one of them was keen, so it was a great response,” added Mr Cowhey.
Kate O’Brien and Sarah Toomey, both sixth year students, told the Limerick Leader that it they thought it was “great to be able to do something to raise money for charity, especially one that is so active in our local community, while also being involved in such a different experience”.
A roster of 14 teachers - including veteran Dan O’Connell - were assigned to supervise the endeavour, which used to be a fixture every year in Crescent College, but which Mr Cowhey reckons last took place nearly 20 years ago outside the former Todds building on O’Connell Street.
“A lot of the kids really wanted to do something, they kept coming up with ideas,” he said, “kids want to do something practical and that is their thing, they don’t want to just give money, they want to go out and do something. We decided to try this and we have had a fantastic response. Crescent Shopping Centre have been great.”
As well as the sleep-out, the Crescent Society of St Vincent de Paul are also organising a ‘Ten Cent Student Appeal’, where each student in the school is being asked to bring in 10c once a week, with the intention that “small amounts can build up to make a big difference”, they explained.
See St Vincent de Paul for details on how to donate to St Vincent de Paul.