One of our happiest days at Lighthouse was June 6 at the opening of the newest Lighthouse Home in Coburg North. The home was built by the Property Industry Foundation (PIF) and Henley Properties on land provided by Moreland Council. The Vicki Vidor Lighthouse program for Mothers and Babies has already come to life in this home and provides a nurturing 24/7 program of support for young homeless women to bring their newborns home from hospital, and help them get off to a strong start together. This is the second home constructed for Lighthouse by PIF and it marks an extraordinary philanthropic commitment from PIF’s membership of property sector companies.
I was pleased to be able to meet many more members of our extended Lighthouse community of supporters at the fundraising luncheon for the Mums ‘N Bubs program held at Encore at St Kilda on 4 May. This event, hosted smoothly by newsreader George Donikian, raised substantial funds to support the ongoing supply needs for this program. A highlight was hearing from one of the graduates of the Mothers and Babies program, who first entered the Vicki Vidor Heathmont Lighthouse home six years ago, staying for two years. One of the things that struck me from what she said was how she hadn’t properly experienced her birthday being celebrated until she came to Lighthouse. There are so many things that we can take for granted that we have, but homeless youth do not get to experience. This is another reason why our program is so vital.
This courageous young woman has now gone on to form a stable and happy relationship and is now the mother of two gorgeous boys, with her youngest now seven months old. It wasn’t easy for her to talk at the microphone but she did a remarkable job, prompting a person in the room to make a major donation in support of the current expansion of the Mothers and Babies program.
I also would like to acknowledge the efforts of the Lighthouse staff who work in our homes and also in the Youth Resource Centre in Richmond. Their dedication to our young people and their commitment to excellence in professional practice make me proud to lead this team. I would also like to make a special acknowledgement of the remarkable Terrie Barton who prefers to work quietly behind the scenes. As Lighthouse now enters its 25th year of formal operations, it means Terrie has also racked up 25 years of continuous and devoted service. All of you who know her will agree with me that she is a pillar of the organisation.
With sincere best wishes and thanks
Simon Benjamin, CEO
I truly do feel ‘lighthearted’ when I am able to celebrate the progress of each one of our young people as they achieve their goals in health & well-being, relationships, education and employment. Recently our community came together to say farewell to a young woman who has been with us for a couple of years, and who completed her education in her time with us. It inspires us to see her ‘all grown up’ and bubbling over with confidence, and now ready to commit to higher education as a way of becoming the best she can be. She has found good friends she can trust, and will now also have the ongoing support of our community care team in our Outreach program. This means that if she hits a tough patch in the years ahead, she will be able to still get some help from our counsellors and carers.
Lighthouse has given her the safe and stable home base that she needed, after a long period of unstable housing and shifting frequently. She had lost count of the number of places she had stayed, and schools she had started. Her general health had suffered, and she was in need of medical support as well as dentists, and optometrists. (That’s a reminder to me to give a shout out to Lighthouse’s good friends at Clifton Street Dentists in Richmond as well as Chester Eyewear in Balaclava).
There are so many devoted supporters who help us to surround each one of our young people with a circle of love and genuine caring. One of these supporters, Ralph Todisco, was honoured by being given an award from the City of Yarra for his Extraordinary Volunteering efforts for Lighthouse. Ralph is a long-serving member of the Springvale Lighthouse Community Committee and has been a major donor and fundraiser over many years. Ralph also helps us by sharing our Facebook posts and getting others involved. So we salute you Ralph, our big-hearted and loyal friend, who is always there as a shining beacon in our Lighthouse community.
So please consider joining those like Ralph who work so hard to support our young people. You can contact us easily over the phone on (03) 9093 7500 or through our website at www.lighthousefoundation.org.au.
Stay warm and cosy!
Susan Barton AM, Founder
In the years since Susan Barton AM first opened her own home to children who had nowhere else to stay, the Foundation has now helped over 800 young people to stabilise their lives, regain their health and well -being, return to education, find employment, and transition to independent living.
With the support of the community, and without recurrent government funding, ten Lighthouse homes now provide the highest quality of therapeutic care to young people who have experienced a traumatic childhood which may often include abuse and neglect. Some of these homes also support young mothers and their babies through a tailored program especially designed to support new mums. The Outreach program, based from the Youth Resource Centre at 13 Adolph St Richmond, provides ongoing support for those who now live independently, and are still part of the growing Lighthouse Community.
There is much to be proud of in this Silver Anniversary Year. Please read more, and connect with us to find ways you can join in the major celebrations planned throughout 2016.
It’s official. The new Lighthouse Vicki Vidor Home for Mothers and Babies, built and donated by Property Industry Foundation (PIF) and Henley Properties was officially opened on Monday 6 June.
Our sincere thanks go to all of the extraordinary companies and individuals involved in creating this stunning new six bedroom home. Thank you to Moreland City Council for donating the land, to Property Industry Foundation and Henley Properties Group for generously building the home and to all of the suppliers and tradespeople whose commitment ensured such quality finishes and fittings throughout the home.
We especially acknowledge Vicki Vidor for her continued commitment in supporting our young Mothers and Babies program since it’s inception. This support will enable the Lighthouse Model of Care to be provided within the home, ensuring that every mother and baby resident can get off to a strong and healthy start together.
This home will provide a nurturing 24/7 program of support for young homeless women to bring their newborns home from hospital, and help them get off to a strong start together. This is the second home constructed for Lighthouse by PIF and it marks an extraordinary philanthropic commitment from PIF’s membership of property sector companies.
It was a wonderful night of Cabaret where guests enjoyed intimate performances from three incredible artists Kate Cebrano, Paul Capsis, and Bernadette Robinson, who all donated their time and talent to help Lighthouse.
One of artist/photographer Bill Henson’s artworks was auctioned on the night, as well as two stunning lightbox artworks from Jason Sims Art.
Over $150,000 was raised to assist our Lighthouse programs over the coming year.
Thank you to our brave ex- Lighthouse young person Iesha whose speech inspired the room, and to our Ambassador Jane Badler Hains for her passionate support of all our young people.
It was a happy gathering of Lighthouse supporters, both old and new, at the Mothers and Babies Luncheon at Encore at St Kilda on 4 May. The very smooth TV newsreader, George Donikian, hosted the event, which featured a talk by Susan Barton AM and from a past resident of the Vicki Vidor Mothers and Babies Program at the Heathmont Lighthouse.
This brave young woman was able to give the guests an insight into how the program enabled her to stay together with her baby son, enabling her to stabilise her life and make a strong beginning together. Six years later, she is now thriving independently, and her life, and young family, is doing well.
Special thanks go to Deb Barton and her event committee who organised a bevy of prizes and auction items which raised an amazing $27,000 for the Vicki Vidor Mothers and Babies program.
Without the support of wonderful community committee members like Deb and friends, we would not be able to equip our new Mums and Bubs home with so many lovely and useful baby items. Thank you to all of the generous suppliers and attendees.
You too can take the challenge and join Team Lighthouse. This year we have a dedicated Lighthouse Marquee that will provide refreshments and a meeting point for all participants. We’re aiming to raise $20,000 and we need your help to achieve this.
Check out our handy cheat sheet to get yourself registered with the team. It’s not too late to start training and it’s never to late to fundraise.
If you can’t Run Melbourne yourself, why not make a donation in support of one of the team members who is. Simply visit our team fundraising page via this link to make a secure, tax deductible donation today.
These are the thoughts of Francis, Michelle and Sia.
“I’ve never been in the Arts Centre before, and it was fancy, like you’d think. Peter Evans was really nice. He’s not the paleo TV cook guy. He’s the smart Shakespeare guy. He knows an unbelievable amount of stuff about Shakespeare and he wants people still to ‘get it’ today. He explained a lot about what we were going to see. Romeo & Juliet is Shakespeare’s greatest hit. It’s 400 years old. Everyone knows the story. And *SPOILER ALERT* – they are gonna die because their parents basically suck.
Peter said that the first half’s actually a comedy, up until a big brawl happens. Then the second part’s when all the tragedy happens. He said that teenagers could see in the play that the things they worry about are the same things that teenagers had to deal with 400 years ago. He said that the sword fights are complicated and are practiced for an hour before every show. We couldn’t wait to see them.
The play was in the Fairfax theatre and it was dark with actors carrying lanterns around and a mix of building scaffolding and old-times curtains and balconies. They were in ‘olden days’ clothes, like high pants and boots, but they acted like modern times with the way they gestured. There were a lot of dirty jokes and we laughed a lot, especially at Juliet’s nanny who was hilarious.
At the start, there’s two gangs who hate each other and they get their swords out and have a crack at each other. Romeo is young and cute and his cousin teases him. It’s love at first sight when he sees Juliet at a party he’s crashed. He stalks her and she’s totally into him too and then it’s fully on. Then the biggest sword fight happens and it’s AWESOME. It’s not like some old movie fight where the swords just go clink- clack- stab. It was quite dangerous and we clapped hard at half time because we were all impressed with the fighting and the excellent dying.
The second half had another great sword fight and showed Juliet’s folks trying to force her to marry, because girls were just property. But she snuck off and married Romeo. They had just one romantic night together. She made a plan to escape but *SPOILER ALERT* the plan was effed up. Romeo didn’t get his instructions. Basically, they were now screwed. She took fake poison. He took real poison. She stabbed herself. Then everyone was really, really sorry they’d been fighting over nothing.
It was a captivating performance by all the actors, especially Juliet, Romeo and the nanny. The best bit was definitely the men’s sword fighting. Thank you Peter Evans and Bell Shakespeare for letting us see this amazing show. It gave us a lot to think about and to talk about.”
Ralph has been a member of our Springvale home community committee for many years and has contributed generously through donations and in fundraising event organizing, as well as practical help for the home.
He is also famous as being our most prolific sharer of our Facebook posts, which helps draw attention to our cause, and brings us new friends and supporters.
We are proud of you Ralph and grateful for your loyal support. Please consider following our Facebook posts and ‘be like Ralph’ – share our messages with your own networks.
Carly Cameron, has returned as Director of Lighthouse Institute after maternity leave. Carly has already re-structured the training and research divisions of the Institute as well as organised tailored training packages across many aspects of Therapeutic Care for a range of organisations in the care sector. Carly’s gorgeous daughter Mackenzie is now 14 months old and her mother describes her as “Curious, determined, mostly happy, and loves eating and dancing.” Welcome back Carly.
We also delighted to re-introduce Karli Jacobsson to the team as Marketing and Communications Manager. Karli has rejoined us with a breadth of experience in digital, communications, fundraising and campaign development, most recently working as part of anti childhood violence charity – the Alannah & Madeline Foundation. Karli is currently enjoying renovating her home with her partner Matt and miniature dachshund Kransky. Her attention to detail and flair for all things creative is much loved at Lighthouse.
We are thrilled to have both Carly and Karli back as part of our growing team.