The Society of St Vincent de Paul has been engaging with young people and education since its earliest days. Today the SVP England & Wales is pleased to highlight its continuing strong links with young people, through the development of its new 'Mini Vinnies' programme - a ground-breaking Primary Schools initiative, based on good work done in Australia, piloted in the Diocese of Shrewsbury, and which is seen as having, "the potential to significantly contribute to the future of our Society."
'Mini Vinnies' are children aged between 7 to 11 (or younger) who, with the permission of their parents and the support of their Schools, are encouraged to embark on their first steps as possible 'Vincentians for life'.
As Mini Vinnies, the youngsters have their own 'treasured' Prayer, Pledge and Badge, a dedicated website and a range of bright and colourful documents which guide them in their formative steps - helping and enabling them to become in every sense, young Vincentians - or 'Mini Vinnies'.
Our Mini Vinnies group is very active at St. John Vianney. They get together to organise and talk about helping others in need within our school and community.
The Mini Vinnies meet every fortnight with our Mini Vinnies coordinator, Mr Bonnar, to discuss our mission- See, Think, Do, and to share ideas and concerns.
Our Mini Vinnies enjoyed spending some special time with Mama Cath. Together we reflected on the day and Mama Cath shared her experience of the people and children she met in the rural community in Malawi. We placed those people into a bowl that would become a safe place. We were then all invited to place into the bowl our thoughts, feelings and special people in our lives. We shared how loved each and everyone of us are and those people that we had placed into the bowl too.
We also had the opportunity to ask Mama Cath questions that we had prepared.
Meghan asked "Did anyone inspire you to do this? Have you always wanted to help other people"
Mama Cath's repsonse is one that we will all remember.
Thank you Mama Cath for coming to our school- we look forward to seeing you again soon and putting our motto into action 'see-think-do' to help you to finish the school in Malawi.
Walk The World Project
On Friday 23rd September 2022, at their first meeting of the school year, the Mini Vinnies discussed the importance of charity for people around the world. They spoke about some of the various organisations and charities that try hard to make changes to the lives of people at home but also abroad.
A charity that is very important to us at St John Vianney is CAFOD - a charity that we have supported in the past. The Mini Vinnies started to think of some ways that we could raise money for them.
Over the next two meetings, they came up with the idea for a 'Walk the World' charity walk around school.
The donations were limited to 'bring in a silver coin'. The Mini Vinnies designed posters which were placed in prominent places around school in the run up to the event.
The event took place on Wednesday 7th December and it was a huge success! All children took part with real fun, pride and enjoyment, raising lots of money in the process! In the New Year, the Hexham and Newcastle CAFOD team will be visiting school to enable us to present them with the money and learn more about their amazing charity work through an Assembly.
During Advent 2022, Mini Vinnies organised their yearly Christmas Card event, making Christmas cards for the lonely, vulnerable and housebound members of the parish. As always, this token of love from school was very much appreciated.