Winter has well and truly set in, with the coldest day in over a year recorded last week. As a result, it’s no surprise that we become more attuned to the plight of homeless people in the cooler months and the story of ‘Alicia’, a young woman completing year 11 while sleeping rough, caught the public’s attention when she was featured in The Age last week and on The Project last night. At Lighthouse we are all too familiar with incredible stories of resilience just like Alicia’s, and it was heartening to see an outpouring of support from the Melbourne community.
We have celebrated many of our young people’s successes over the past couple of months. One of our outreach young people secured refugee status while another, who recently completed her film degree, this week got to experience working on set.
In May we held the annual George Awards, where young people currently in the program were recognised for excelling in education, employment, and interpersonal relationships.
I am ever mindful of the generosity of our supporters, and the fact that we would not be celebrating all of these milestones without you. Thank you from all of us here at Lighthouse, especially our young people.
Together we can end youth homelessness.
Chief Executive Officer
Last month we had the opportunity to celebrate some of our young people’s fantastic achievements at the annual George Awards. These awards are made possible each year by Dessie Kontis, a long-time member of the Clayton home’s Community Committee and generous Lighthouse supporter.
Named after Dessie’s father, these awards recognise the incredible resilience of young people in the Lighthouse program; acknowledging their engagement in education and employment, as well as their cooperation with carers and with each other. This year’s winner of the excellence in education award was Sarah*, who is 19 and completing a Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care. She started her course this year and hopes to follow it with a Certificate that will qualify her to work with children with special needs. Sarah says, “I was a special needs kid. When I did a placement working with some of those children they were just so happy to see me every day, it was an eye opener.”
Sarah was surprised by her win, “no way did I think it would be me.” She has used her award to buy a laptop to help her complete her assessments. “I find it much easier to figure out what I’m trying to say when I’m typing, rather than writing by hand.”
Dessie says, “my father’s life story inspires young people at Lighthouse to excel in employment, education and relating to one another. It makes me feel very happy to be able to bring smiles to these young people’s faces, each one is very special to me.”
We are currently recruiting volunteers to join Community Committees for a number of our homes. Find out more and register your interest here.
*Name has been changed
Jon Ballantyne is a long term supporter of Lighthouse, individually and as a member of the ZNS Lighthouse cycling team. Later this month Jon is taking his passion for cycling to a whole new level, when he takes part in the legendary Cycle to the Sun in Hawaii – one of the world’s most difficult bike climbs. And he’s fundraising for Lighthouse along the way!
We caught up with Jon on our blog last month, to find out about this ride that stands out from the ordinary, making it a challenge beyond the norm. There are many dangers of Cycle to the Sun, including single-digit temperatures and a reduction in oxygen during the ride, but Jon is also worried he might forget he’s in the US and ride on the left by accident! Jon’s determination and passion is truly admirable, and his extensive training and preparation has been made possible through a great support network.
You can support Jon by donating to his everyday hero campaign, and helping him achieve his target of $20,000. Keep up with the ZNS cycle team on Instagram @lighthouse_zns and with Jon on his journey @jonballantyne. Good luck with the training and fundraising Jon, we wish you all the best!
- Journals, notebooks and diaries
- Money boxes / piggy banks
- Boys / men’s clothes (in good condition)
- Colouring books (for any and all ages)
- RACV driving lessons
- Toiletries: soap, bodywash, facewash, deoderant, haircare, hairbrushes, toothpaste, toothbrushes, towels, etc.
If you can help by donating wishlist items, please contact us at the Youth Administration and Resource Centre, call 9093 7500 or reply to this email.