On Monday Oct 8 Carole Maxwell was delighted to introduce the Guest Speaker at the Rotary Club of Attadale meeting young Vincent Pettinicchio. Vincent explained that in 2013 at only seven years of age he founded his charity - 'Vincent's Project for the Homeless'.
He got the idea for his project after coming home one day, upset from being bullied. He was sad and crying so his Mum told him to think of doing something nice for someone else. Vincent knew who he wanted to help. He had witnessed the homelessness crisis in WA while going on walks with his grandparents who live near Perth.
Vincent thought about what would be useful to a person living on the streets, to make their life more comfortable and came up with a careful list.
These days each of Vincent's packages are worth $66 and include a pillow and pillowcase, towel and facewasher, blanket, toothbrush and toothbrush container, toothpaste, soap and soap container, deodorant, hairbrush, razors and shaving cream, shampoo, a pack of tissues, a bottle of water, poncho, notepad and pen. The female bags also include feminine hygiene items. Hundreds of students and volunteers help pack the items into a duffle bag and the finishing touch is a tag with a simple note - 'Just to let you know that someone cares', written by school children Vincent has enlisted to help. Over the years Vincent's Project have filled 5615 bags that are in high demand from charities such as St Vincent de Paul and the Red Cross and have also been requested by the Department of Community Services.
Mrs Pettinicchio said while each year her son's project had grown beyond expectations, this year had been a bit more of a struggle because Vincent had fallen ill with chronic fatigue syndrome. Normally he goes out every weekend and fundraises but this year he just hasn't been able to do it as much she said.
Without his family, especially his parents, Vincent said his project would not be what it is today. Beyond all the help he receives, Vincent said his Mum's role is essential. She gives up lots of weekends to take him places to speak, helps with the delivery and collection of items and co-ordinates the different schools for him, orders the stock and budgets the spending. Vincent's Mum Pina Pettinicchio admits it isn't always easy. Running a household, working two jobs and helping Vincent manage his project sometimes does not leave enough time for her to do the other things she needs to.
Vincent has deservedly been given many awards for his great work. In 2016 he was the youngest recipient of a Rotary Paul Harris Fellowship by the Rotary Club of Hillarys. Vincent has not only made a huge personal difference in the community, but is also a role model and inspiration for other children and young people showing what can be achieved with commitment and compassion.
Today Vincent knows 'That he can achieve his dreams if he works hard and perseveres' and that his Mum was right that 'Helping others does make you feel good about yourself'.
The Members and guests of the Rotary Club of Attadale were very impressed with Vincent, his Mum and the amazing and inspirational Project they work on and thanked them both for coming and speaking at the meeting. Everyone wishes Vincent a good recovery from his current Chronic Fatigue condition.
Club President Ian Pittaway was delighted to present Vincent with a cheque for $250 for his Project from the Rotary Club of Attadale and thanked those who had brought along some items for Vincent's project as well.
If you would like to learn more about Vincent's project for the Homeless go to