Bursting Bubbles: How St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace’s Rough Night In is Making a Difference

Jun 10, 2024

At St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace, something special has been happening since 2011. Reidy House, a cornerstone of the College’s commitment to social responsibility, has been on a mission to burst bubbles. Imagine this: high school boys, armed with nothing more than a sleeping bag and a cup of soup, spending a night outside. It’s not about punishment; it’s about empathy, understanding, and a profound lesson in compassion.

According to Reidy House Dean, Mr. Wooldridge, it’s crucial for students to grasp the importance of being non-judgmental. “They can never truly know someone’s story; they can never truly know what it is like to walk in another person’s shoes,” he emphasized. This sentiment lies at the heart of the charitable work happening at St Joseph’s College.

Reidy Houses Christmas Hamper Donations to BYS
Reidy Houses Christmas Hamper Donations to BYS

A Lesson Beyond the Classroom

One of the key initiatives that Reidy House champions each year is the Rough Night In. This annual event isn’t your typical school sleepover. It’s an eye-opening experience designed to give students a taste of what it’s like to sleep rough. Imagine trading a warm bed for a gym mat, and a hearty dinner for just a cup of soup. It’s a powerful way for these young men, many from privileged backgrounds, to gain empathy for those in their community who are less fortunate.

“The Rough Night In aims to get boys out of their ‘bubble,'” Mr. Wooldridge explained. “As the boys get older, they can better understand the complexities of homelessness and its contributing factors.

“In the College’s Catholic tradition, we are taught to respect the dignity of every person. Working with BYS allows us to put this lesson into practice.”

Since 2011, Reidy House has raised almost $40,000 for young people experiencing homelessness and disadvantage.

Reidy House students getting involved in Rough Night In October 2024 by sleeping in sleeping bags outside at St Joseph's College, Gregory Terrace
Reidy House Rough Night In

Together, Creating Brighter Futures

According to St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace, the partnership with Brisbane Youth Service (BYS) goes beyond charity; it’s about friendship and mutual respect. “Reidy is very proud of its ongoing association with BYS,” Mr. Wooldridge expressed. “The youth homelessness crisis is one existing in our community right now. There is also the chance that in the future the boys may find themselves in difficult circumstances and it is important for them to know that there is support available in the community.”

For Brisbane Youth Service, partnering with schools like St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace is a game-changer. BYS CEO, Pam Barker, highlighted the impact of Reidy House’s support: “It has been invaluable to us, and together we’re excited to continue working to create a difference to the lives of young people who are in crisis or experiencing homelessness.”

BYS doesn’t just provide immediate relief; they aim for long-term solutions. “With support from BYS, most young people we assist can move out of crisis,” Ms. Barker explained. “But we need donations and support to provide long-term housing and assistance.”

The collaboration between Reidy House, St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace, and Brisbane Youth Service exemplifies the power of community-driven change. “Working together, we can raise vital funds, spread awareness, and advocate for change to create better and brighter futures for young people being impacted by homelessness and disadvantage,” Ms. Barker concluded. It’s a partnership built on empathy, compassion, and a shared vision of a more inclusive and supportive society.

So, the next time you see a group of high school boys camping out on the school grounds with nothing but a sleeping bag and a cup of soup, know that it’s more than just an event. It’s a lesson in humanity, a step towards breaking down barriers, and a beacon of hope for a brighter future for vulnerable young people in Brisbane.


Reidy House students wearing daggy jumpers for Brisbane Youth Services' Daggy Jumper Day
Reidy House students getting involved in Daggy Jumper Day