Caulfield Campus launch of the Lighthouse Foundation 'Cut Out Youth Homeless' campaign

129 life-size cut-outs are on display at Caulfield Campus in a new statewide campaign by Lighthouse Foundation to raise awareness of the number of local young people facing homelessness. 

The “Cut Out Youth Homelessness Campaign” is the brainchild of Year 10 Caulfield Campus student Yasmin Bowden, who came up with the idea while planning her school Community Project last year. 

Yasmin is the granddaughter of Susan Barton AM, who founded Lighthouse Foundation more than 30 years ago to provide therapeutic care and housing to children and young people experiencing homelessness in Melbourne. 

“I said to Nanny that the usual options for fundraising didn’t feel like I was making a real difference. We delved into discussions about how many children and young people were homeless around our school community and I was so shocked there were so many,” Yasmin said. 

“As part of my Year 9 Community Project at school, we brainstormed how we could let my friends and their parents know that this was happening, by placing cut-outs on our school oval to bring the hidden issue of youth homelessness out into the open.”  

Using Census data, the initiative uses cut-outs to represent the number of homeless youth in a council area, encouraging students to think about, and fundraise for, those in their local area doing it tough.  

Caulfield Grammar is the first school to roll out the campaign, with 129 cut-outs representing homeless youth in the Glen Eira city council area, where Caulfield Campus is located. Another seven schools across Melbourne have already booked in the initiative, which Yasmin hopes will “spread to schools nationwide”. 

Caulfield Grammar School Principal Ashleigh Martin said: “Caulfield Grammar School is incredibly proud to support Lighthouse Foundation’s vital mission to help end youth homelessness through educating and raising awareness of the youth homelessness crisis in local communities.” 

“It’s also so wonderful to see Yasmin’s Year 9 Community project, which is all about our students finding a cause they’re passionate about and taking action within the broader community outside of school, turning into real and meaningful action here supporting Lighthouse Foundation’s work with the most vulnerable in the community.”  

Lighthouse Foundation Founder Susan Barton AM said: “Knowing the work Lighthouse does and the pressing issue of homelessness among children and young people, I wanted to support Yasmin’s ambition to personalise the issue for school kids in order to create meaningful change in their local communities.” 

Lighthouse has worked to realise the concept, ensuring the cardboard cut outs look authentic and are relatable to school-aged students. Yasmin’s dream is to make significant strides towards ending homelessness for children and young people. 

The most recent Census data shows nearly a quarter (23%) of all Australians experiencing homelessness are aged 12 to 24 years. We know schools have a significant role to play in helping end homelessness for children and young people. 

Students at Caulfield Campus also participated in ‘Club Colours Day’, a fundraising initiative driven by our Year 12s and Community Service leaders in support of the ‘Cut Out Youth Homelessness’ campaign.