It began with a casual conversation between Linda Stevens, UL Campus Life Services and Sr Sarah O’Rourke FMA, UL Chaplaincy team following a Prayer Service in UL Contemplative Centre. Staff of Campus Life Services had a Sleep Out for Focus Ireland in November 2013 in UL Dromroe Village. Sarah suggested building on this social justice initiative by involving students. Ellen Fitzmaurice (Campus Life Services), Keith Quinlan (SU promotions) and Sr Sarah O’Rourke (UL Chaplaincy) took it from there. It was decided to include “The Halfway Art House, Limerick” with Focus Ireland this year. The Halfway Art House is a voluntary organisation founded by Paul Thomas Campbell while he was studying for his Masters in UL. This organisation helps adults find their voice through creative expression using visual art. Halfway Art House is committed to reaching out to individuals who have sought refuge in homeless shelters. Their aim is to encourage participants to use their services to help rebuild their social and inter personal skills to help them find their place in the community. Website www.halfwayarthouse.com
In October 2012 Paul received the Outstanding President’s Volunteer Award for this work as well as a Gold Medal Award for his Volunteering with UL Chaplaincy Music Ministry. It was great to have Paul and Anthony Sheehan (Focus Ireland) join us on 24th November for the Fundraising 12 Hour Sleep Out. It also heightened awareness on campus and in the Milford Parish Faith Community around the issue of homelessness at both local and national level. It is hoped that a Sleep Out will be an annual awareness raising /fundraising event in our UL Calendar.
Sarah O’Rourke FMA : UL Chaplaincy Team