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Street Retreat

The School Street Retreat Program is a short (8hr to 48hr) experiential retreat program that gives senior students the opportunity to meet homeless people and work alongside volunteers from Rebeccas Community.

The retreats are conducted in Sydney. Students or schools typically make a donation of $100 or more per student. A limited number of retreats are run each year, with a preference of no more than 10 students per retreat.

As each school comes with different retreat objectives, Sydney Homeless Street Retreat programs are tailored for each group.

Typically though, all Street Retreat programs are structured from an experiential learning perspective, giving students adequate space to prepare and be introduced to an experience, conduct the experiential activity, then reflect and debrief the activity.

[above] 10 students from St. Joseph's College Hunters Hill with Gish during their
street retreat with Rebeccas Community - part of 'ministry week' at Marist College.

The retreats are co-facilitated by staff from Rebeccas Community and homeless people themselves.

What sets the experience apart as a truly memorable and often life changing experience is the opportunity for students to give personally. The retreat builds to the final activity where students are able to work alongside volunteers from Rebeccas Community in a highly interactive way with homeless people.

Given the right preparation and support, young people are capable of making a real contribution to other people's lives, not just handing out food or participating in token activities.

For schools founded or operated by religious orders we can include reflection on the life and faith of the founding saint and the order's charisms.

Our preference is to provide several retreats for one school, rather than several retreats for several schools as teachers who accompany the students on a number of retreats often become known by the homeless. This makes for a warmer welcome for the teacher and their next group of students.

The Director of Rebeccas Community has facilitated street retreats for hundreds of students from several schools (in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria) ranging from groups of 6 to 26 students.

Some comments from Street Retreat participants:

  • "A huge reality check which broadens the spectrum of our everyday lives."
  • "Removes any mind set / naieve stereotypical perceptions about the forgotten people of our society."
  • "A lot of fun, were treated like adults."
  • "Realization of everyday people like you and me caught in a bad situation."
  • "The confrontation of what we thought as a fantasy existed only in the media."
  • "Meet people from different backgrounds and hear their stories."
  • "Realization that homelessness isn't just a lack of shelter but also a lack of social interaction."
  • "Breaking down barriers between social classes. A paradigm shift."
  • "Awesome time."
  • "Once in a lifetime experience."
  • "Gave us a realistic view of the world and the people in it."

For more information about the Street Retreat Program please contact us.