Read the article 'Young but mighty: One student helps thousands of homeless' and go to Vincent's Facebook page and read about some of the places and people he has been instrumental in helping since he was 7 years old. Answer the following reflection questions. Then share your answers in pairs or groups.
1. Do you know of any other young person who may be carrying out any act of charity that needs to be publicised? If so what could you do to help them either fundraise or put them into contact with the right people or businesses to take their project to the next level?
2. What other things do you think need to go into the bags for the homeless, in order to make their lives at least bearable. Would they be different for men and women?
3. What did Jesus say about the poor and the dispossessed? Are we, as Christians obliged to do something to help them?
1 a. Get into groups of four and brainstorm a project that you, as a class, may be able to start up that would be a help to the community. You need to say what it is and what steps need to be covered in order for it to get off the ground. Don’t forget you may need the help of adults (teachers and families) to make your project a success. These people would have to be approached before anything is done.
1 b. Have each group present their idea to the class, and write them all down on a list on the whiteboard. After all the presentations are finished, the class might want to vote on which project they would like to tackle. Remember you will also need the permission of the principal, your parents and the staff in order for your project to be a success.
2. Divide the class into three groups and give each of them one of the following biblical passages to read and discuss: Acts 2:43-47, 2 Cor 9: 6-15, Gal 6:1-10. What are they saying to us as Christians in the 21st century?
Questions and activities for younger students
1. Tell the students about what Vincent has done. Emphasize that he began his project of providing necessities to the homeless when he was 7. Ask them if any of them have been involved in any charitable works even with their parents? You could perhaps put a picture of Vincent from the Facebook page so that it becomes a little more real for the students.
2. Ask them what they have observed in the world around them that perhaps needs to be changed. If you receive no answer ask them to observe very carefully when they go home or to ask their parents what things are wrong with our country, city or suburb that perhaps, could be fixed with a little help from them. When returning to school the next day or in the next RE class ask them to break into smaller groups and to discuss some of the things the class could do to help change the problem they have observed. It may be something in the school or school grounds not necessarily in the community.
3. As Advent is about to begin they could have a box in the classroom which acts as a different type of Advent calendar. Every day, instead of receiving something from their Advent calendar, they could give something (food or toys) for those less fortunate than themselves. Christmas could be a much happier time for many people if they would be generous. You may need to contact your local St Vincent de Paul society or any other society that your school works for and ask them what they need at this time of the year.