VOLUNTEERS: Rosies Gold Coast volunteer Richard and co-ordinator Kathleen Vlasic provide a helping hand at the Southport drop-in centre.
VOLUNTEERS: Rosies Gold Coast volunteer Richard and co-ordinator Kathleen Vlasic provide a helping hand at the Southport drop-in centre. Yvonne Gardiner

Step up and reach for the sky to help Rosies

AMID the glitz and glamour of the Gold Coast, there are people on the streets, families escaping domestic violence, men and women with sickness who can't make ends meet, workers who can't find a job...

A simple change in circumstances can put families in the ranks of the disadvantaged and needy.

Rosies area co-ordinator on the Gold Coast, Kathleen Vlasic, sees people in need every day, and is thankful for the overwhelming support of volunteers and donors in her community.

Kathleen started Rosies drop-in centre at Southport nine years ago, where people have access to showers, haircuts, drinks and food.

"We put out the hand of friendship. It's very important," she said.

"If we don't talk to them, we don't know where they're at.

"There's a lot of mental illness out there.

"It's not our place to judge. We don't question who you are or what you've done."

Kathleen, aged 70, oversees a band of 266 volunteers at Southport, Surfers and Nerang.

They help out at the Southport courthouse, run daytime and night-time outreaches, and visit the women's prison.

"I think there's more needy than ever," Kathleen says.

"There's a lot of families falling through the cracks."

Rosies receives no government funding.

"We wholly and solely depend on the community to keep us going," Kathleen said.

"The Gold Coast community is just fabulous. Rotary has been very generous.

"We get our food donated. People know what we need.

"We go out at night and take sleeping bags, blankets and toiletries."

If Kathleen were to have one wish granted for Rosies, she would ask for a larger drop-in centre.

"We need a bigger space, not hidden in the boondocks, somewhere easy to access - halfway between Southport and Surfers Paradise," she said.

Established on the Gold Coast in 1987, Rosies now helps thousands of people around Queensland every year, providing friendship with hospitality to those who have been abandoned, marginalised or socially isolated.

One way to show support for Rosies Friends on the Street is to take part in this year's SkyPoint Sea to Sky Q1 Stair Challenge on Sunday, March 11.

The fundraising target is more than $100,000.

Participants run or walk up 77 gruelling flights of stairs in the name of charity.

Activ8Change event director Steve Corrie said, on average, participants took 18 to 20 minutes to climb the 1331 steps to the top.

But it won't be easy to beat the record of six minutes and 41 seconds set by Mark Bourne in 2016.

To register, visit stairchallengeaustralia.com.au/gold-coast-challenge.

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