How Lighthouse Foundation breaks the pattern: Marcus
With our #BREAKTHEPATTERN coming to a close, we thought we would share with you the story of one of our very first Lighthouse children, Marcus. By offering your support and getting involved in Lighthouse Foundation’s fundraisers, you are able to make stories like Marcus’ possible, and help us truly break the pattern of youth homelessness.
Marcus was only 7 years old when he was made a ward of the state. With little recollection of his early childhood, the one thing he was certain of was that both his parents left when he was very young due to a history of drug abuse and domestic violence. Marcus was left to face the world by himself.
He was placed in the government system, being moved in between homes over 18 times. “When you have been institutionalised for as long as I was, you end up in a bad pattern.” Going through a revolving door of homes, foster carers and abandonment, Marcus was unable to develop a sense of who he was or where he belonged in the world. Something that every child deserves.
Being abandoned at such a young age left emotional and mental scars. Marcus missed critical development stages growing up- he couldn’t read or write as he was never at school for more than a couple of weeks at a time. He describes this pattern as isolating and destructive, having to turn his life upside down every couple of weeks.
“My schooling experience was one of getting in trouble and fighting others because I couldn’t tell anyone what was wrong” he said. Not having a constant wraparound of support and love prevented his healing and was only causing more damage as Marcus got older. “I found myself spiraling down a destructive path at full speed. I remember thinking, I will end up just like my parents.”
Marcus arrived in Lighthouse’s care and the concept of having someone love and pay attention to him was foreign, as he had never had this before in his life. “It’s what the personal development programs at Lighthouse did for me – being able to accept other people and not having them judge”. Over time, with the support from his Lighthouse family, he broke down his walls and created connections. His carer’s helped him to learn how to read and write, and he was able to finally articulate the trauma he had been through. It was in our care that he was able to find a place he finally belonged. “They were always there for me, and I felt like I finally had somewhere to call home. Lighthouse broke that cycle of being moved all the time, because it’s very different, not rigid like institutions.”
Thanks to Lighthouse’s therapeutic care and secure home, Marcus was able to find himself and rebuild his life. Being taught how to read and write meant he was able to complete his apprenticeship as a mechanic and has now been in stable employment his whole adult life. He is also now a loving husband and a father of three beautiful little girls who he brings along when visiting Lighthouse every year, as he still considers the Foundation his extended family. Marcus’ future could’ve been very different if we weren’t able to care for him and help him heal. “I felt like I was a criminal when I was younger and then I was let out. I have the rest of my life now and I’m excited for the future thanks to Lighthouse”.