Support Open Family Australia's work with at-risk and homeless young people

Stories from the street

 
 
Leah Mum Charlotte Daughter News2015 Portrait iStock small

Escaping Violence with a 4yr old

Leah looked into her four year old daughter's eyes and knew she had to make a change.

Leaving her home was the hardest decision Leah ever made. She had no employment prospects or extended family to turn to and her four year old daughter Charlotte was completely dependent on her.

Leah lived under the same roof as her abuser, her stepfather.

When Leah's stepfather moved into the home she shared with her mother, it felt as though the missing part of the family was filled. Laughter filled Leah's home as the three adults played with young Charlotte. Within months that mood changed. Leah's stepfather started coming home drunk. He would lash out at Leah if Charlotte's toys were in sight. He gradually started using violence every day to control the household, throwing items at the family, shoving Leah against walls and cornering her while he hurled abuse.

One afternoon in 2014, he attacked Leah with more violence than ever before. He beat Leah black and blue and inflicted severe injuries.
Leah knew she wouldn't survive much longer. She had to get Charlotte and herself out from under this tyrant. She turned to her friends for help. They provided the best they could, a mattress here, a couch there, a space where she and her daughter could rest, safe from her stepfather's violent hands...

Leah's friends were encountering difficulties of their own. Addictions to ICE and alcohol lead to unpredictable, violent behaviour. Leah and Charlotte moved from broken home to broken home before turning to life on the streets. It was in this time that Leah was referred to our street outreach team.

The first priority was helping Leah and Charlotte enter stable housing. Reviewing Leah's family situation, it was quickly apparent that living with immediate or extended family was not an option. With no previous experience in securing private accommodation, Leah needed help to view houses and complete tenancy applications, obtain grants for bond and initial rent payments. We also helped with donations of furniture, kitchen items and whitegoods.

Leah and Charlotte finally have a home of their own. At 23 years old, this would be the first home where Leah could feel truly safe. Charlotte will begin kindergarten this year, knowing she has a home to return to after school.

Leah and Charlotte represent the thousands of vulnerable young people in Australia who are classed as 'secondary homeless' – young people who are sleeping on friends couches, in emergency accommodation, shifting from place to place and only one step away from sleeping on the street. With no consistency in housing, not knowing where they will sleep the next night, the spiral continues downward until young people feel they have no future. With your help, they will find the courage to choose a better a future.

*In the interests of safety, some names may have been changed.

Please-donate-buttons

 


Mentoring Coordinator, Tasmania

 

Mentoring Co-ordinator - Northern Tasmania

 

Full-time negotiable

Whitelion is a non-profit community organisation that supports and empowers young people to reach their potential. Our mentoring and Ashley Visitation program works to recruit, screen and train adult volunteers as mentors to disadvantaged young people needing a stable, consistent role model in their life.

We are seeking an experienced, committed and highly motivated person to work with mentors and young people to assist them in engaging with their community. Applicants will need to have a strong understanding of the child protection and out of home care system in Tasmania or the ability to acquire. To be successful in this role you will require a relevant tertiary qualification in Social Work, Youth Work, Psychology, Social Science or related areas and/or demonstrated relevant employment experience. You will also be required to undergo a criminal record check.

To be successful in this role you will be required to:

  • Engage      and build relationships with young people within the Out of Home Care      environment, as well as within the community
  • Co-ordinate volunteer recruitment,      training, screening and ongoing support
  • Generate and maintain strong local      support among key stakeholders and the community for the program
  • Co-ordinate the matching of young people      with suitable mentors and provide ongoing support for matches
  • Manage program administrative tasks such      as database, program reports, evaluation, budget management etc
  • Demonstrate a proven ability to work autonomously within guideline parameters

Applications close 5.00pm Wednesday 18th March and should be sent to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To be considered for this position applicants will need to provide a resume and completed response to key selection criteria. Position Description and selection criteria may be obtained from our website: www.whitelion.org.au or contact Barbara Walters Ph 0400 855 850


Mentoring Coordinator, Tasmania

 

Mentoring Co-ordinator - Northern Tasmania

 

Full-time negotiable

Whitelion is a non-profit community organisation that supports and empowers young people to reach their potential. Our mentoring and Ashley Visitation program works to recruit, screen and train adult volunteers as mentors to disadvantaged young people needing a stable, consistent role model in their life.

We are seeking an experienced, committed and highly motivated person to work with mentors and young people to assist them in engaging with their community. Applicants will need to have a strong understanding of the child protection and out of home care system in Tasmania or the ability to acquire. To be successful in this role you will require a relevant tertiary qualification in Social Work, Youth Work, Psychology, Social Science or related areas and/or demonstrated relevant employment experience. You will also be required to undergo a criminal record check.

To be successful in this role you will be required to:

  • Engage      and build relationships with young people within the Out of Home Care      environment, as well as within the community
  • Co-ordinate volunteer recruitment,      training, screening and ongoing support
  • Generate and maintain strong local      support among key stakeholders and the community for the program
  • Co-ordinate the matching of young people      with suitable mentors and provide ongoing support for matches
  • Manage program administrative tasks such      as database, program reports, evaluation, budget management etc
  • Demonstrate a proven ability to work autonomously within guideline parameters

Applications close 5.00pm Wednesday 18th March and should be sent to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To be considered for this position applicants will need to provide a resume and completed response to key selection criteria. Position Description and selection criteria may be obtained from our website: www.whitelion.org.au or contact Barbara Walters Ph 0400 855 850


donatenow

"It's hard to be thankful for life when no-one would notice if you were gone"

The nights are cold and long. The minutes tick by slowly: tick, tick, tick... It takes an eternity for one measly hour to pass. Tonight will be another hard night, with little sleep. Huddled under a bridge, knees tucked up to the chin, hands stuffed under armpits for warmth. This is not how a Tuesday night should be spent. Hunched over in the darkness; aching joints, stiff legs, the wind whips around the bridge pillar that presses cold against your back. At least the road overhead keeps the rain away.

Through the constant rumble of the traffic above, sitting in the dirt and the filth, you wait for dawn. But when it comes the strong beams of light barely penetrate your soul. You are thankful for only one thing - that you weren’t harassed by drugged-up strangers in the night. You don’t even count being alive as a blessing, it’s hard to be thankful for life when no-one would notice if you were gone.

Slowly you unfurl your legs, trying to massage away the damp cold that settled in overnight. There is no joy to be taken in the chirping morning bird song. It is merely a stark reminder that you are alone. No-one is here to wish you good morning. No-one looks for you during the day. No-one is thinking about you at all. You are worth nothing. And you will never be anything.

Feeling insignificant and worthless sits deep within your bones. Your mind drifts back to the countless times that Dad called you pathetic. The way he scorned your requests for help as Mum stubbed cigarettes out in your arms. Her eyes filled with hate.

Stinging tears stain your cheeks as you think of them. Home is no longer a place for you. It is a construct, a fictitious environment dreamt up by strangers living happier lives. Yours is desolate, decaying shell, housing vicious people who you cannot trust, to which you will never return.

You step out from under the bridge and into the wind. You have no school or workplace to go to. You have one objective for the day… Where will you hide tonight? Where will you hide from the weather and the volatile people that angrily roam the streets?

When will your life turn around?

Countless numbers of young people that Open Family Australia support have lived this very experience. Your donation will help us deliver young people into safety, housing, education and employment. Please donate today.

Thank you.

 


OPF MonthlyDonation Button


Follow us on Twitter

Wednesday, 04 May 2016 22:57
Open Family Aust The Longest Night of the Year will be upon us soon. On this night, thousands of homeless young people in... https://t.co/n17Zdc6r7z
Wednesday, 04 May 2016 02:24
Open Family Aust Reports like this confirm what we see in our work every day and that's what motivates us to do more and more. https://t.co/uJFZZcSfzr
Sunday, 01 May 2016 04:42
Friday, 29 April 2016 08:26
Open Family Aust Thank you to all the @amaysimAU & @heyyou_app customers for Paying it Forward today! We really needed a boost... https://t.co/g1WKcJaWPT
Thursday, 28 April 2016 06:03

Contact Us

Open Family Australia
155 Roden Street
West Melbourne VIC 3003
T. 1300 669 600
E. ofaonline@openfamily.com.au

You are here: Home Uncategorised