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Government House honours Lighthouse Foundation’s 25th anniversary

Recently Lighthouse Foundation recognised 25 years of transforming young lives at a celebration at Government House.

Lighthouse Patron in Chief Judge Anthony Howard and Lighthouse Chairman Peter Edwards gave heartfelt speeches recognising the many contributors who have made Lighthouse what it is today.

Mr Howard acknowledged the important work of the Foundation and the growing social and economical issues associated with the cycle of homelessness. He said “Although Melbourne is a beautiful city and has been voted the World’s Most Liveable City for the past six consecutive years, we must work assiduously to ensure that no one is left behind.”

He acknowledged the fact that the Foundation is almost entirely self-funded by its generous circle of donors, supporters and corporate or philanthropic organisations and paid tribute to each and every person who has joined Lighthouse on its journey over the past quarter of a century.

The Lighthouse community wish to thank Her Excellency, the Honourable Linda Dessau, Governor of Victoria, and our Patron in Chief, Mr Anthony Howard, for their hospitality at Government House.

From little things, big things grow, and that is exactly what we have seen happen. We started just with Susan Barton’s own home, and with too many children under her roof, because she couldn’t turn any child away that was out in the cold.

Local businesspeople and philanthropists got behind Susan’s passion to make sure every child had what our own children take for granted – a safe home, trustworthy adults, loving support to complete their education, and a secure base to launch into independent adult life.

We expanded to having our first official Lighthouse home, and began with Terrie Barton as the first paid employee 25 years ago. Gradually the number of homes grew to ten, and remarkably, over the years, over 800 young people came through the program.

Over the years, a unique model of therapeutic care evolved, one that was based originally on Susan’s own parenting instincts, and the understanding that these homeless young people were suffering from severe trauma, which if left untreated, would continue to undermine their efforts to get their lives back on track. This highly regarded Model of Care has seen outstanding positive outcomes for those who come though the Lighthouse program.

Ultimately, it always comes down to courageous and insightful people, who share the Lighthouse mission to end youth homelessness, and are willing to join the fight. You, our most loyal supporters, have been the game changers for Lighthouse and gone above and beyond expectations to, literally, transform lives.

Our community have become heroes for our Lighthouse young people and we thank you.

Here’s to the next 25 years and beyond.


Photo credit: Melbourne Photographer – Man With a Camera

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