Here at St Michael’s we are proud to say we have our very own group of Mini Vinnies.
- Lead – Miss Johnston
- President – Katie
- Vice President – Niamh
- Treasurer – Amelia
What are Mini Vinnies?
‘Mini Vinnies’ are children aged between 7 to 11 (or younger) who, with the support of their Schools, are encouraged to embark on their first steps as possible ‘Vincentians for life’.
Mini Vinnies are a younger version of The Society of St Vincent de Paul. The group is seen as having, “The potential to significantly contribute to the future of our Society.”
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’.
Mini Vinnies Meetings
To find out what is happening in the Mini Vinnies have a look at our notice board in school, look at our Mini Vinnies book (located in the corridor next to the Mini Vinnie’s display board) or read the minutes of our meetings.
St Michael’s Mini Vinnies
St Michael’s Mini Vinnies meet every other week with Miss Johnston to find ways to turn concern into action.
- To care for, respect and love ourselves
- Strengthen our friendship with Jesus
- To care for others in our school and community
- To care for and enjoy God’s world
- To treat others the way we would like to be treated
- To fund raise to help those in need
So far this year we have:
- Picked a child each give to give a Mini Vinnies certificate to. Mini Vinnies look for children who are displaying our Catholic Values and following our mission statement of ‘Finding Christ in everyone.’
- Selected children to take home Vinny – our kindness bear. Children are picked when they have displayed an act of kindness in school. They then get to take Vinny home and are encouraged to carry out a further act of kindness at home with Vinny.
- Helped to organise a coffee morning to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Research.
- Celebrated St Vincent’s Feast Day
- Made 100th birthday cards for a lady in a care home
- Started the ‘Do nice things’ box. Teamed up with Mr Bourne from the Hand Dyed Shoe Company.
- Led an assembly on Remembrance
- Raised money for the Poppy Appeal
- Look for a book
- Christmas Memory Tree
- Advent Acts of Kindness
- ‘Do Nice Things’ Boxes
- Visited Langley Park Care Home to complete crafts and take cards.
Coffee Morning for Macmillan Cancer Research – September
Mini Vinnies first project was to help organise a coffee morning to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Research. The children spent time organising games and making decorations and bunting for the morning. The whole school were also encouraged to come to school wearing non – uniform in exchange for £1.
The Mini Vinnies made sure that all the children in school were also given a cake.
Mini Vinnies organised a raffle and collected prizes as well as a ‘Guess the name of the teddy.’ Parents also enjoyed playing a game of bingo during the coffee morning. All of these activities were a huge success. Mini Vinnies enjoyed helping out on the morning; they welcomed parents, ran their stalls and helped to sell cakes. All 8 children were extremely helpful and were complimented by parents on their politeness.
A huge thank you to all those who donated, supported and helped on the day. Overall we raised £450.
St Vincent’s Feast day – 27th September
Mini Vinnies learnt more about St Vincent’s life and his good work. We discussed this together and said some special prayers.
On this day we celebrate his life, example and teaching. It is also a day where we are guided towards asking for Vincent’s intercession in our prayers and within our lives.
Vincent was born poor and in the beginning he wanted to be rich. This was why he first became a priest!Later he changed his mind and decided to spend his life helping the sick and mentally-ill, orphans and old people, beggars and the starving, prisoners and galley slaves.Vincent’s life is a great reminder for us all to find ways to help those around us.
Mini Vinnies shared this special prayer together
Almighty and eternal Father, today on the feast day of our patron St Vincent de Paul we pray. Guide our eyes to see those in need, our minds to the example of Christ and our hands to lift others out of pain. St Vincent de Paul, we follow your example, please continue to guide our hearts to love and intercede for us in our work and in our lives.
100th Birthday Cards
Mini Vinnies heard that there was a lady in Nunthorpe Care Home who was turning 100. The carers at the home wanted to surprise her with 100 birthday cards as unfortunately she has a small family.We made cards and sent one to Mrs M on behalf of St Michael’s school too. Mrs M received nearly 500 cards. Small acts of kindness can be the reason someone smiles 🙂
Do Nice Things Box Appeal
This half term Mini Vinnies are working with one of our parents to launch a campaign to provide items for those less fortunate than ourselves at Christmas time. We are working with Mr Bourne from the Hand Dyed Shoe company to create boxes of items that we will then be distributing to the children, the homeless and the local care homes. Mr Bourne approached us with the idea of using the many shoe boxes that he has for a good cause rather than landfill. Each year we usually collect food items and make parcels for local pensioners so this seemed to fit perfectly. Another of our parents, Mrs Robinson will be supporting us with this as she works with young parents and women fleeing domestic abuse and the boxes would be gratefully received.
Mini Vinnies have handed out boxes to those who have requested one. We ask that you fill it with items that you think would be suitable and practical and possibly some Christmas items. Mini Vinnies, Mr Bourne and Mrs Robinson will distribute these items.
We appreciate Christmas is a costly time for families but it is also a perfect time to think of others. Thank you for your continued support.
Some Mini Vinnies along with a small group of children who are very business minded visited Mr Bourne at the Hand Dyed Shoe Company to collect the boxes. Whilst their we had the opportunity to take on different roles and put our business skills to the test. Afterwards the children enjoyed a look around the grounds of Ushaw College.
Distribution of ‘Do Nice Things’ Boxes
On Friday 13th December a group of children went to Langley Park Care Home to distribute some of the boxes collected. The Staff were over the moon and were going to sort through the boxes and hand out the items to their elderly residents (photos to follow) The Bourne family were invited along to help distribute the boxes. A huge thank you again to Mr Bourne for this wonderful idea andfor all his help.
Whilst we were there we decided to spread a little festive cheer and remind ourselves of the true meaning of Christmas. The children sang christmas carols and songs to teh delighted residents. We even added in a little music from some Y5 and Y6 pupils. The chidlren then spent time chatting to the residents. It was a wonderful afternoon. The residents thanked us for our kindness and generosity and asked us to come back again soon.
Mr Bourne collected the boxes to be distributed to the homeless. He will deliver these much needed items to people in need, espeically at this time of year. (photos to follow)
The final boxes were delivered to Mrs Robinson’s workplace. We loved helping those less fortunate than us.
Supporting the Poppy Appeal
Mini Vinnies lead an assembly based on Remembrance Day. It offered a time for all the children to come together, think about, and remember with thanks, those who have given their lives in sacrifice so that we can live in a more secure world. Together we shared two minutes silence as a mark of respect.
Mini Vinnies, with the help of Year 6, also sold poppies and poppy merchandise to help raise money for the Poppy Appeal. By raising money for and donating to The Royal British Legion, we helped them to help those in need within the Armed Forces community. They provide support for members of the Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force, veterans and their families. Thank you to all those who donated. We raised £176.
Christmas Memory Tree and Advent Acts of Kindness.
During this special time, we recognised that it is often a difficult time of year for people with the loss of many loved ones. Therefore, we set up a memory tree in school where everyone was welcome to write a message of remembrance for a loved one and place it on the tree.
Mini Vinnies also thought up some acts of kindness for children to carry out during Advent. Each angel displays a random act of kindness for each day of December.
A Visit to Langley Park Care Home
Some Mini Vinnies along with a small group of children went to visit Langley Park Care Home. We took crafts to complete with the residents. The children and residents loved making Christmas wreaths and chatting to each other. It really brought a smile and some Christmas cheer to the residents. Mini Vinnies handed out handmade cards to each resident – they were delighted. They hugged and thanked the children.
It was a wonderful opportunity for the younger and older generation to come together.
The staff and residents also commented on how well behaved and polite the children were. We hope to make it a regular thing after the residents said they’d love to have us back.
During this half term, Mini Vinnies have spent a lot of time thinking about themselves and their positive qualities. It is so important to think of ourselves as well as others. We came up with adjectivies beginning with the letters in our names to descibe ourselves. We also left kind messages for staff on Valentines Day. #Inaworldwhereyoucanbeanythingbekind.
100 Acts of Kindness
Mini Vinnies want to continue our motto of ‘In a world where you can be anything, be kind.’ During Lent, we have set each class the challenge of completing 100 acts of kindess. We want to show that Lent isn’t just a time for giving something up, it’s a time to change and think of others.
Postcards and Rainbows
To help the elderly combat the loneliness during these unusual times, Mini Vinnies encouraged the older children in school to write postcards to the residents of Langley Park Nursing Home. This idea came about after one of our governors told us about a scheme called ‘Postcards of Kindness.’
Year 5 and 6 children wrote postcards to the residents giving a little bit of information about themselves and then asking some questions to help generate discussion (especially in dementia patients) between the carers and the residents. The response we got was great and we were only happy to help. The residents are currently unable to have any visitors so any form of communication from the outside world brightens their day – especially from children.
During these unprecedented times, an online group called #frommywindow encouraged children (and adults) to put up paintings of rainbows to spread hope. Pictures of rainbows began springing up in windows across the country. With our President, Katie, and some of the other keyworker’s children, we set about painting many rainbows to send to a local care facility. These were gratefully received and were handed out around the village to vulnerable residents.
Easter Egg Raffle
Mini Vinnies and Year 6 sold raffle tickets in school for our annual Easter egg raffle. Staff and governors kindly donated the eggs. This year we chose to send some of the money to an Autism charity. With the rest of the money we will be teaming up with Eco – Warriors to either adopt a dolphin or a whale. We wanted to ensure that our kindness spread to animals as well as people. Take a look at Mrs B all kitted out to announce the raffle. We will update you with a total once the money has been counted.
You can view archived Mini-Vinnies information on our website.