Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Good news about struggling student

A tidal wave of generosity has swept in from Age readers after the publication of the plight of a young homeless woman featured in Wednesday's Age.

Alicia (not her real name) is trying to complete Year 11 while living under a bridge in Melbourne.

Since the story was published, the homeless service assisting Alicia has received hundreds of offers of help, including a single anonymous donation of $10,000.

During the day Youth Projects had to divide the correspondence up between staff in order to be able to email and call everyone back. By night time, donations were coming in at a rate of one every five minutes. The original story featured in yesterday's Age. It is important to remember how tough some kids do it.


Children at Catholic schools have been sent home with glossy booklets that oppose gay marriage following a request by the Archbishop of Melbourne.

But the move has been criticised by some principals and an anti-bullying program that aims to stamp out homophobia in schools.

Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart wrote to about 200 principals at Catholic primary and secondary schools on Monday, urging them to lobby parents to support the current "meaning of marriage".

Archbishop Hart said it was urgent that "the meaning of marriage" and the "implications of redefining marriage" were highlighted.

The Archbishop's intervention came as politicians continued to lobby Prime Minister Tony Abbott to allow a free vote for Liberal MPs on same-sex marriage. On Monday Labor Leader Bill Shorten introduced a bill in federal parliament to legalise same-sex marriage.

According to the Age Education Facebook page some Catholic principals are offended by the material and have refused to pass it on to students and parents.

The Safe Schools Coalition, which works to create a safe environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender students, urged principals not to distribute the material.  

The coalition's co-ordinator, Roz Ward, said the material could damage the mental health and wellbeing of same-sex attracted young people, by suggesting their relationships were unnatural or not as important.

 "At school it is particularly important that they can feel they can be themselves and valued for who they. In a situation where you feel that is not valued, everything else becomes more difficult."

She said same-sex families who sent their children to Catholic schools would see this as a "direct attack on their existence as gay Catholics".

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