Welcome to our regular update on all things Lighthouse. It has been an exciting period over the past few months with our involvement in the Home Stretch Campaign (which has been a joint sector lobbying campaign for the government to extend the age of out-of-home care for vulnerable children from the age of 18 to 21 years. This has generated the tag “#makeit21”, which has received excellent traction in recent weeks. We are really encouraged by the response to this campaign, and gratified to see it taken up by mainstream media, as shown on Network Ten’s The Project.
As many of you are aware, Lighthouse has been filling the government’s/out of home care gap for over 25 years and we are one of the only organisations providing ongoing/long-term care for young people after the age of 18. It is no surprise the evidence tells us that half of all young people who are evicted from state care on or before their 18th birthday, end up either homeless, in jail, or drug addicted within their first year. In fact, over 20% of these 18 year olds don’t even know where they will be spending the very first night after leaving care. There is compelling evidence from the UK, USA and Canada which shows that raising the age limit of government funding from 18 to 21 years, allows a greater period for the development of life skills, education and employment. It actually saves the community money to extend the years of support for vulnerable young people. As I have heard many in the field say, “it’s a no brainer”.
After all, we do not expect our own children to be completely independent and financially self-sufficient from their 18th birthday. So then how can we expect a young person who has had to be removed from their family due to risk of harm, who may have experienced living in many different homes before leaving care (when it hasn’t worked out) to then be ready to ‘be independent’ at 18. Being removed from family is traumatic enough, despite the potential harm that they suffered that led to them being removed. It seems unbelievable that we would ‘kick them out’ at 18. You don’t need to be an expert to figure out that these young people simply aren’t ready. Research shows that most families continue to provide some financial support to their offspring aged between 18 years and 30 years through their years of study and settling into independent living and employment. Young people from state care don’t have this luxury. So, thank you for your support of Lighthouse and of this campaign.
On another note, I would also like to acknowledge the announcement of another year of exceptionally generous support from the Future Generations Foundation (FGX), which donates annually to a select group of children’s charities from the earnings of their major investment fund, which will assist in providing the core programs in a group of five of our suburban Lighthouse homes. This is an inspiring example of the power of social impact investment by a committed group of philanthropists.
Thank you to all those who have so loyally supported the work of the Foundation and we look forward to meeting as many of you as possible in coming months at our 25th Anniversary celebration events.
Simon Benjamin, CEO
For ten years now, we have been celebrating the annual George Awards for our young people. These are presented at a whole community event at the Clayton Home, and are sponsored by Dessie Kontis, in memory of her late father George. Once again this year, the evening was a special, and sometimes emotional gathering, with the young people receiving scholarships prizes of $1000 for their contributions and achievements in education, work, and community building. We are immensely grateful to Dessie for her long history of financial support, and her caring relationships with the young people in our homes.
It has also been a time of reunions and catching up with many people who have contributed to the early years of Lighthouse. This past week we gathered together at the North Melbourne Hotel with 30 friends and supporters from the early years, and we recalled stories of when the first committee of supporters gathered around a kitchen table and helped us to plot the way forward so we could find a way to help more homeless children. I’m proud that so many of that early crew are still a part of the daily life at Lighthouse. Many of these supporters had met at the personal development seminar Money & You, which is where I first stood up and asked for help to get a caravan for the driveway to house one of my homeless boys, as the house was full to overflowing. I am pleased that these seminars are still happening here and around the world, and that the promoters continue to get behind our staff and young people to provide support.
I’m also proud to say that several of our young people have been brave enough to challenge themselves by public speaking at some very large events on behalf of Lighthouse. Amber spoke at the Melbourne Town Hall for the City of Melbourne’s Women In Business luncheon to over 400 people. Iesha spoke at a private Cabaret function at our Ambassador – Jane Badler Hains’ home to over 130 people, and Mia spoke at the Kids in Philanthropy – Hang Out For Homeless event to over 100 people. I’m simply in awe of their courage and self-confidence. I still struggle myself with public speaking, even after all these years, so it was breathtaking to me to watch them do this so amazingly well.
There are still more events to come to celebrate our 25th year, so keep your eye on these updates so you are in the loop for what’s coming up.
Susan Barton AM, Founder
Thanks to our partners RedZed Lending Solutions, we kick started the week by running an engaging live-activation at NAB in Docklands. Hundreds of people participated in the activation by taking a photo of themselves “saying NO to homelessness” and adding their printed Insta-pic to giant H.O.P.E letters.
The display engaged new supporters for the foundation and showcased our communities’ support for ending youth homelessness.
Our voices were heard loud and proud as we all said #44nomore!
Throughout the week our community continued to support the #44nomore campaign in many varied ways. People participated online through Instagram sending the hashtag viral and our Founder, Susan Barton AM spoke at a Rotary event where the crowd stood up and chanted “44 no more” in unison.
Why #44nomore? Because more than 44,000 young people are homeless every night in our own backyard. We wanted to bring attention to this shocking statistic and to put youth homelessness on the agenda.
Thanks go to everyone who participated and to all of the fabulous volunteers from our proud supporting partner RedZed Lending for helping us to raise awareness of this shocking statistic. Your support means so much.
Thank you to all of our Lighthouse Foundation #runmelbourne2016 team who braved the bitter cold Melbourne weather on Sunday 24 July, leaving your footprints in the streets of Melbourne.
Your efforts were amazing and it was definitely was a FUN RUN! Thanks to the support of everyone who ran, including Lighthouse staff, volunteer committee members, partners and friends.
We raised over $5,000 to support our core Lighthouse Homes programs. Go team!
Our brave Lighthouse young person Amber held the crowd sharing her personal experiences alongside our Founder Susan Barton AM who gave a heartfelt introduction.
Thank you to The City Of Melbourne for hosting this wonderful event and to the sponsors Spotless Group, Smooth 91.5, Horner Recruitment and MC Sam Lane from Channel 7 Melbourne.
A delicious luncheon was enjoyed by all, raising over $8,600 to support our life-changing program.
Thank you to the Carlton Football Club who welcomed guests to their inaugural Corporate Kitchen raising funds for Lighthouse on Thursday 23 June at the Albert & Sydney.
Carlton players impressed guests by cooking and serving a standout three course meal. Lighthouse young person Amber was a guest at the lunch and gave an impromptu speech about what Lighthouse means to her.
We especially acknowledge our wonderful volunteer and Lighthouse Ambassador Andrejs Everitt for your ongoing support of Lighthouse. This amazing event helped to raise over $2,500.
The appeal will support our transformative Mother and Baby program which has already helped to provide loving support for young mums and their bubs.
We aim to submit our appeal in the Fundraising Institute of Australia’s Awards for Excellence in fundraising.
We couldn’t do it without your support, thank you!
Launching on Monday 22 August, the campaign drew on findings from a landmark report release by Anglicare. Lighthouse CEO Simon Benjamin has been part of the committee leading this call for change. To add your voice to the campaign visit: thehomestretch.org.au.
For over 25 years Lighthouse has supported young people aged 15 – 22. We see first hand the positive impact of providing care for young people until they are READY.
It’s simply unacceptable to turn our backs on young people as soon as they turn 18.
It’s time to #makeit21 #wecandobetter
The generous support of community groups and individuals ensures our homeless young people receive long-term therapeutic support helping to rebuild their lives.
To FUNdraise for Lighthouse visit: lighthousefoundation.org.au/fundraise
However large or small your idea is, it’s worth doing because every donation helps.
Sunday 19 July our Kensington and Springvale Community Committees held a joint Movie Day to watch Finding Dory. This event was a great opportunity for all the family members to support Lighthouse with over $600 raised on the day.
Our East Malvern Community Committee held a Movie Night on Thursday 28 July raising over $1,700 where guests enjoyed watching the fabulously funny and inspiring movie Sing Street.
Our Bonbeach Community Committee spent Sunday 31 July at Carrum Downs Bunnings sizzling sausages to raise funds. They made almost $1,000 on the day. Our Clayton Community Committee also ran a fabulous Bunnings BBQ at Notting Hill on Saturday 3rd of September raising over $1,500.
Thank you to all of our incredible volunteer committee members. Your support means so much.
Our Community Committees Coordinator, Fairlie Cottrill and Lighthouse CEO Simon Benjamin also ran an information session to help recruit committee members for our brand new Coburg North Community Committee. Many new local people attended the info session, with applications now open.
The incredible team from Figurehead Constructions did wonderful job at our Mums and Bubs Mega Garden Makeover on Monday 22 August.
The fabulous team helped to makeover our Heathmont Mother and Baby Home’s backyard by building a pergola to create an outdoor space, clearing weeds, installing a new drainage system and extending the fence line to create more privacy. A total backyard transformation just in time for Spring.
The team went above and beyond supplying beautiful outdoor furniture and equipment to get the job done. Thank you Figurehead!
The training session taught us about the theory behind Lighthouse’s unique Therapeutic Family Model of Care as well as provided useful examples of our work in practice.
Participants on the day commented “Lighthouse’s model of care training was insightful and interesting. As partners of the Foundation we went away from the session understanding just how challenging and inspiring it is to work with young people who have been homeless. It gave us a deeper appreciation for what it takes to look after someone who has been traumatised or neglected.”
For Lighthouse staff and volunteers, attending at least one training session a year is encouraged, refreshing their knowledge and stimulating deep conversation amongst participants.
To keep updated with upcoming sessions visit lighthousefoundation.org.au or call 03 9093 7500.
As Primary Carer for the Kensington Home, Christina and her gorgeous puppy Maggie (who’s been visiting us all at the Youth Resource Centre this week) she is a lovely new addition to our Care team.
We’d also like to introduce Tino – our fun loving, big hearted Senior Care Coordinator. Tino has worked for the foundation now for several months and has a much-loved infectious laugh and positive attitude. He also brings in his gorgeous boxer-cross-labrador, Tubby from time to time.
Our Care team are such an important part of our organisation. With a dedicated, supportive team caring for our young people and each other – it makes Lighthouse a pretty special place to work.