Students’ give confidence to Dandenong’s homeless

Our students’ studying VCAL in Dandenong have rallied together to raise funds and collect donations to make hygiene packs for people who are sleeping rough or homeless.


Cornerstone is a drop-in and contact-centre in Dandenong that provides meals and crisis assistance in the municipalities of Casey and Greater Dandenong. Students from VCAL in Dandenong volunteer every Wednesday.


Recognising that people who are disadvantaged or homeless are often unable to afford basic things like toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap or deodorant was a confronting experience for the students. As a result they were empowered to start the “Power to the People” project.


What started as a small project quickly grew with the students’ enthusiasm and commitment to assist the Cornerstone community.


Donation boxes were placed at all SkillsPlus’ offices around Victoria. The students sent out emails to staff, talked about it in class, approached local stores that sell hygiene products, and organised a special fundraising event.


“When I walked into Cornerstone for the first time I finally recognised the meaning of “community,” and soon that word community evolved into “family”. Cornerstone gave me and the other students so much that we decided to give back,” said Student Paris Porter


“We have developed a strong relationship with Cornerstone. We all enjoy going there to help and talk with the people,” said Liam Drew


“We are so proud of our students for taking the initiative to help others”, said Ben Vasiliou.


He emphasises that projects like this will have a multi-faceted effect on the young people who study in the VCAL program. “A large percentage of our students don’t fit the mainstream school environment and are having challenges of their own. Projects like this have an effect both inside and outside of the classroom.”


“We have enjoyed the students from SkillsPlus coming along to serve and learn at our Cornerstone lunches over the past while, they have been great in getting to know our regulars and going outside their comfort zone. A great way for community to support community,” said Cornerstone CEO Stephen Barrington.


The students behind the ‘Power to the People” project participated in a hand-over ceremony at Cornerstone on Wednesday 9th November 2016, where they presented the CEO of Cornerstone, Stephen Barrington, with all the hygiene packs that they had put together.