A few years ago whilst holidaying overseas, I was confronted for the first time with the reality that there are homeless people living on the streets. My ten-year-old mind was filled with so many questions. Where did they shower? How did they wash their things? But the question I struggled with most was who did they talk to when they felt alone or scared?
With all these questions still fresh in my mind I was blown away when I learnt about Nic and Lucas, co-founders of Orange Sky and the work they do in providing free laundry and shower services, but most importantly an opportunity for those doing it tough to connect and engage in meaningful conversation without the labels of their situation or circumstance.
Clean clothes, a warm shower and the freedom to talk about your day is something many of us including myself take for granted, so from that moment I knew The Sudsy Challenge was something I needed to be part of and felt inspired to make sure I could get others to do the same.
Last year after 12 months of talking to people about Orange Sky and with the assistance of Mr Nield, Director of Student Development, myself along with 6 other students and 12 teachers from Canterbury College donned orange shirts for the schools inaugural Sudsy Challenge. Although only a small group we still managed to raise almost $5000.
Now pencilled in as an annual event in the school calendar, so far 30 students have already signed up to participate this year, and still 4 weeks to get many more on board with fundraising still to take place through school barbeques, car washes and ice-cream days. As a result of our efforts so far, we have already surpassed last year’s total and have set a new goal of $10,000. The 2022 Sudsy Challenge is looking to be an enormous success, a new tradition that I hope will continue long after I leave with students – past, present, and future, continuing to start conversations surrounding homelessness and doing their part to get involved.
After the devastating floods that affected thousands of families across Queensland and New South Wales earlier this year, I witnessed the struggle my own family and friends in the small community of Broadwater in Northern New South Wales faced, highlighting how someone’s circumstances can change at any moment. Orange Sky’s services are invaluable, providing much needed showers and access to clean clothes that is still ongoing. The kindness and understanding provided by the volunteers at Orange Sky was vital in assisting not just Broadwater but surrounding communities and many more struggling to get by each day.
I hope along with my team we inspire and encourage as many teachers and students as possible within the Canterbury community, to take on The Sudsy Challenge and keep their kit on to ensure that Orange Sky can continue their mission to positively connect communities through clean laundry, warm showers, and genuine conversation.
For more Sudsy stories, check our our blog!