Jess's Survival Story
It's sickening to think that right now, there are 44,000 children and young people in our community who are still without safe and loving homes. Over the coming months, we want to welcome more of these kids into our care, but we can’t do it without our community's support.
The story we're about to share with you all is about a past Lighthouse young person named Jess and shows the power of your gift in preventing homelessness and transforming a young life forever. The smiling girl you see in the photos here is not the girl who initially walked through our doors. Jess was suicidal, struggled to manage her feelings, and often displayed violent behavior. But thanks to people like you, she is a survivor and found her way to happiness, with the help of Lighthouse.
Please donate what you can, even if it's only a few dollars so that we can open our doors to the 44,000 children and youths who desperately need our help. Not everyone is able to look past homelessness statistics and see each number for a human being as our community can. So thank you from the bottom of our hearts for choosing to support our cause.
Growing up in a traditional family home in Melbourne suburbia, Jess never imagined that she would ever be at risk of homelessness. Sadly, a traumatic childhood experience saw her life change forever, and her world fall to pieces. At the age of 15, Jess began to act out and found herself in a downwards spiral of depression. Wild mood swings, aggressive impulses, and suicidal thoughts became her new ‘normal’, leaving her family helpless and unable to care for her at home.
“I wasn’t the same girl anymore - I’d gained 50kg and my violent outbursts had caused relationship breakdowns. I started losing hope for the future, as I honestly didn’t see myself being 30, and alive.”
But our Jess is a survivor. After learning about Lighthouse’s live-in programs, she joined our Boronia home in 2013 and slowly began to heal and rebuild her life. Throughout it all, her Carers Kim and Carol were a constant. Providing love and therapeutic support, they helped Jess to better understand her anger - never reacting to her violence, but instead reflecting with her to find out ‘why’ she was feeling that way. Alongside her Lighthouse Psychologist, Jess was able to unpack the trauma hiding beneath and find ways to regulate her emotions.
“Once I knew ‘why’, it was so much easier to calm myself down. I still practice some of the coping mechanisms that I learned at Lighthouse to help myself unwind”. Reminiscing on her time at Lighthouse, Jess now believes that having a safe, secure, and stable home played the biggest role in her recovery.
“It really felt like our house. To this day, if I had to think of somewhere where I feel most at home, I’d still say Lighthouse because it’s the only place where I could be 100% myself.”
This feeling of warmth and security provided a secure base for Jess to build her self-confidence, reclaim control and take steps towards achieving personal goals; like getting a job, enrolling in University, and transitioning into independent living. Which is exactly what she did. Fast forward to today, Jess has finished her undergraduate degree and is in her fourth year of studying psychology at University. She is the happiest she’s ever been- allowing her bright mind and bubbly personality to shine. Although she acknowledges that some days can still be challenging, her purpose in life is to continue to heal and help other Lighthouse young people do the same, recently joining one of our Committee volunteer groups.
We’re so proud of everything this brave and determined young girl has been able to achieve, and she will always hold a special place in our community as part of our ‘On For Life promise’. Jess found her way. She is and forever will be, a survivor.
With your help
$45 could help provide essential items for new children entering our programs i.e. clothing, bedding, and toiletries.
$125 could provide additional counseling and support services for children who have been deeply traumatized.
$350 will help us make sure that therapeutic Carers like Kim and Carol are there to support our young people.