Julienne Rankine - Westfield Local Heroes 2020
Inspiring young volunteers
St Luke's Primary School Mini Vinnies
Passionate. Caring. Inspiring.
Teacher Julienne Rankine is touching hearts and showing children they are never too young to help.
Julienne founded the St Luke's Primary School Mini Vinnies program, which is affiliated with the St Vincent de Paul Society, affectionately known as Vinnies.
Under her guidance, the Mini Vinnies raise funds, cook meals and do other kind deeds for families in need.
Over the past two years, volunteers from prep through to Year 6 have made and donated blankets and scarves during winter, fundraised by running clothing and cake stalls and put together toiletry packs.
Twice a term, they prepare and freeze nourishing meals to distribute to vulnerable families. Last Christmas, they collected and wrapped more than 100 gifts for children.
The students have also held a seniors' lunch, with many participants describing it as one of the best days they have had in years.
Julienne says she started Mini Vinnies to show students how to identify need, provide support and make a difference in the lives of others.
She says her role is to facilitate the group and provide guidance as they plan and implement initiatives.
"This process is very empowering for the students. Their role is voluntary, and their enthusiasm is immense," Julienne says.
Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. The Mini Vinnies will use their grant to fund many more meals for families in need, hold a seniors' lunch and distribute more blankets and toiletries.
For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here