How Lighthouse Foundation breaks the pattern: Cherrie & Amity
For 30 years, Lighthouse Foundation has been working tirelessly to try and #breakthepattern for as many neglected and vulnerable children as we can. Without a solid foundation and a place to call home, a child can often become lost and slowly find themselves spiraling down a destructive path of bad patterns. It can start off by not attending school, which can snowball into larger scales of unhealthy social behavior. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Our mission at Lighthouse is to break these patterns early. Providing therapeutic care and holistic support, we offer these young people an alternative: to and to live happy, healthy, and safe lives. By providing them with therapy to heal from their trauma, a community that whole-heartedly embraces them, and a safe place to call home, we can break the pattern of youth homelessness – as was the case with our beautiful mum and bub, Cherrie, and Amity.
In 2012, Cherrie was welcomed to Lighthouse after experiencing repeated patterns of traumatic childhood experiences. With her parents not being able to look after her, like many homeless young people in our care, she was abandoned and left to navigate life by herself. When young people experience such isolating patterns so young, the ability to form attachments can be severe, if not entirely broken, and being able to love and bond with someone can be impossible.
During her first stay at Lighthouse for 2 years, Cherrie was able to transform her life with the help of her carers. She established a beautiful circle of friends who supported her, and with these attachments, she was able to address her trauma and begin to heal. “I found my first real family,” she said.
Cherrie was able to transition out of Lighthouse and use the skills and therapy she had developed in care to build a life for herself, knowing that she had the love and support of her newfound circle and that she could go back at any time like you can with any family. “Knowing this really helped me to build my life. I knew that I was always a part of the Lighthouse community and they would never abandon me”. Cherrie had never experienced this form of relationship in her past.
As a few years passed, with Cherrie continuing to keep in touch with her Lighthouse support, she hit a bump in the road and fell pregnant unexpectedly. An occasion that is usually celebrated with joy was darkened and Cherrie felt entirely alone once more. She was kicked out of the home again and had no choice but to live out of her car.
She reached out to her Lighthouse family who instantly took her back in with wide-open arms. Her carer Barb was essential support, reassuring her that she was going to be a wonderful mum and that she had the support of the home. Cherrie welcomed a beautiful little girl, Amity, into the world. She was able to take her newborn baby home to a safe and secure environment where she had the support she needed. The new little family was supported and loved and began to form an irreplaceable attachment, something that can be difficult when you haven’t experienced it yourself. “I had carers at home 24/7 who helped me bond with Amity and gave me the support I needed to turn my life back around”.
Cherrie and Amity are now doing great in life and are living independently in their own little home. “I was so lucky to find a safe home at Lighthouse and have created a life that we are really proud of”. She is still in contact with her Lighthouse friends and family who she refers to as an ‘aunty or uncle’ to Amity. By providing Cherrie with love and support that she had never had, Lighthouse was able to teach her new ways and healthy life patterns that she never would have known and create bonds with her daughter that wouldn’t be possible.