Rosies team leader Len McCandless knows better than most the importance of his work for the outreach organisation, which helps homeless people - he lived on the streets during his teenage years.
After being removed from an abusive home, Len was shuttled between 47 foster homes and a dozen institutions in just five years, eventually leaving the system at 13, because for him, living on the street was the safer, more stable option.
Len started volunteering for Rosies four years ago while unemployed as a way to give back to the community and get some experience, however small, on his resume.
He is now a mental health support worker, primarily caring for those with a disability and autism.
“While I was living on the street, services like Drug Arm and Rosies were the only thing that gave me some sort of social interaction and stability in my life – two things I’d never had, homeless or not,” Len says.
“I think of the people who visit us at Rosies as the forgotten Australians, these are people who haven’t had things work out for them for whatever reason and have no one else to turn to,” he says.
“I can relate to them because I’ve been in their shoes, and I know that sometimes it just takes a bit of advice or the right conversation to help you break the cycle.”
Rosies brings connection and hospitality, offering acceptance, belonging and friendship to those who are experiencing homelessness, social isolation or loneliness.
Through connection, Rosies fosters self-worth and dignity, reaching out to people where they are - on the street.
This Christmas Rosies needs support more than ever, and is asking the community to make a donation to keep the Rosies fleet of vans operating, fully stocked and staffed by teams of dedicated volunteers, as they deliver outreach services every night during the festive season.
Rosies volunteers visit the Caboolture train station, at the corner of James and Matthew streets, on Fridays from 8-10pm, including Christmas Day.
To donate or volunteer, click here.
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