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“She moved house 18 times in 2 years”

Imagine a 13-year-old girl having to move house 18 times in just two years. This is Hollie’s story as told by her Carer Mikaela.

“As Hollie’s 19th carer, I began to understand why she was so hostile towards me.

If you really think about what moving 18 times means…

18 car rides with garbage bags of stuff to 18 different houses

18 different sets of people with 18 different rules

18 times of not knowing what will happen tomorrow

18 times of not knowing how long you will last at this house

18 times of trying to trust someone new

18 times of being told that you are too much, unbearable, impossible and unloved.

Instead of caring for Hollie, her guardians taught her that she was bad, worthless and expendable. The depth of her trauma is apparent daily. In my world of having loving parents and family around me, I could barely believe that a child could be so neglected. I’m Mikaela and I’ve been a Lighthouse carer for five years now. In fact, it’s stories like Hollie’s that inspired me to become a carer in the first place.

When I first walked in the door for an interview at Lighthouse I knew from that moment that I would not be leaving any time soon. Since then, I’ve been a carer to five amazing young people, including one of our young mums and her bub.

I hope that by sharing Hollie’s background with you helps to show you why my role as a Lighthouse carer is so important in changing young lives. Every child deserves a safe, loving home and with your donation it’s possible.

It’s sad to say, but Hollie’s story is not uncommon at Lighthouse. In fact, it’s our role to show these young people, that they are loveable. That they are special, worthwhile and treasured. That they can build their own, meaningful lives free from violence and abuse.

I love my job. It’s challenging, but it’s also the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. Together with our amazing team of psychologists, social workers and volunteers, we all work to instil self-belief in every Lighthouse young person. We begin to unpack their trauma piece by piece through regular counselling sessions, individual development plans and day program engagement.

Part of our Model of Care is about providing predictability and consistency so that our young people feel safe and supported. We know that this is when their trauma will start to bubble to the surface and with a whole-community approach, we can support every young person to work through their pain and rebuild their lives. What helps keep me going is knowing that I’m supported in my role as a carer.

Lighthouse doesn’t just talk about how they support their employees, they actually do it really well. They understand that, as carers, we can’t give to the kids in the way they need if we’re not in a good space ourselves. So, we have access to constant clinical, peer and moral support. This support really helps to ensure we’re here for the long term.

Please do not underestimate for a second, the impact YOU have by making a donation to keep our programs running. Please give what you can. Every dollar makes a difference.

With love, Mikaela. xox