Sleepoutss

Jake, with his school principal James Forrest, presents Barnardos Australia staff Amy Lee Hopkins and Sarah Matthews with a cheque for $4,401.65.

 A conversation between a mother and son has led to an act of charity that involved a school and community.

Jake Walters' mum, Joanne McDonald, is a Senior Constable with the Queensland Police and 12 year old Jake is a school boy with a big heart.

He decided to raise money for Barnardos Australia by holding a Box Sleepout at his school, Mount Cotton State School in Queensland. He mobilized his local community involving the local Coles and Woolworths to provide food for the 55 sponsored sleepout participants.

In an email he sent to Barnardos, Jake tells us why he felt the need to help.

"My mother is a police officer and often deals with children in foster care and homeless people.

Late last year I was with mum at her workplace one day when a I noticed a young boy talking with her.  He seemed very fond of my mother and seemed to have a very high respect for her.  On the way home after mum had collected her things, I asked her who the young boy was and why he liked and appreciated her so much.  It turns out that the boy was in foster care.

She told me how hard life was for the orphaned and homeless, and how much their lives change after being put with people that will care about them and love them.

I began to wonder what life would be like if I had a bad family or no family at all, and how lucky and fortunate most children are that they have the safety of a home and happy family.

Almost a year later, I was reading a magazine featuring the story of a 12 year old boy who had started a fundraising event at his school for foster care kids.  He had raised a lot of money that could possibly change the lives of a lot of children. 

This immediately rustled thoughts of the boy who talked to mum and looked at her so fondly, and I realise that he appreciated her so much because she was probably the only one that cared for him as much as a mother would. If only there was a way that I could make such a positive impact in another child’s life, then I thought of how much money that 12 year old boy had raised and it came to me. 

If I could start a fundraiser in my school, I could easily raise a huge sum and help children who are orphaned or homeless and give them the opportunity of a better future.  I quickly talked to some friends at school about it and they eagerly joined my campaign.  They came with me to bring up the subject with our school principle, Mr Forrest, who immediately loved the idea and helped us come up with the plan that we now are putting forward to you."

Jake mobilized his community to help. The Sleepout was supported by a local church group, which provided a van full of sausages, bread and hot Milo to feed the hungry fundraisers and to give them a feel for what it is like to have to line up for food. He also involved the local Coles and Woolworths to provide extra food for the 55 sponsored sleepout participants.

Thank you very much to Jake, his mum and the Mount Cotton Public School and community for raising almost $4,500 for Australia children in need.

If you would like to hold your own fundraising event for Barnardos please email events@barnardos.org.au.