It’s one thing to look down on Melbourne from the Eureka Skydeck. But rappelling off a skyscraper while attached to two ropes requires a different set of nerves.
Foster care provider Anglicare Victoria is giving Victorians the chance to abseil off the roof of the 27-floor St James Building for Altitude Shift, a two-day fundraising event in March.
When you step off the roof of a 113-metre building, all your instincts tell you this is a bad idea – especially when it begins on a shaky little wooden plank. Even the experts holding the rope at the top can’t totally assuage your fears.
Anglicare Victoria CEO Paul McDonald hopes the abseiling event will give Victorians an understanding of the fears vulnerable children in foster care face every day.
“They're going into the unknown and they've got to have their own sense of courage going through a whole range of circumstances. They've been pushed into a new place and new environment,” says McDonald. “Abseiling pushes people into areas in which they need some courage.”
Pressing your footprints onto the building’s windows gives you some stability, before the breeze lightly swings you back and forth. Your body is telling you this isn’t normal. Your legs take over as if to say “we got this”, before you realise they can’t hold on to anything. But you’re still alive, which is reassuring.
As you sail down the glass you might frighten people working in the offices while you dangle outside – so be sure to give them a wave. But at the bottom you feel like it’s all over too quickly. Newly confident, you look up at the next person descending and shrug off the height, like a pro.
Anglicare placed 1200 children in Victoria into foster care last year. The organisation provides foster families with everything from educational support to everyday materials.
“It does take the wider community to help raise [these children], so here's a chance for the community to be involved,” says McDonald.
Only 200 spots are available for the abseil. To participate, you’ll need to register online and raise at least $850.
Just remember to enjoy the view – and don’t look down.
Altitude Shift takes place at the end of March. Register here.