TODAY, OVER 700 YOUNG PEOPLE CAN CALL LIGHTHOUSE HOME.
These stories are from current and past Lighthouse young people and remind us how important a loving home can be. (Names have been changed to protect identities).
Social workers moved Liana into a foster care family when she was 13, but she didn’t settle and bond with her foster carers. She skipped school repeatedly and acted out her angry feelings against her foster family. She eventually ran away at age 15 and after couch surfing at friends’ houses, she experienced incidences of sexual abuse. She felt like a worthless human being and began to harm herself and engage in high risk behavior. She was referred to Lighthouse by a social worker at an emergency refuge, due to her young age and the danger of further self-harm.
Liana spent a year with Lighthouse, during which time she was able to complete Year Ten and begin VCE. She connected well with her carer and enjoyed taking her turn at cooking and, unusually for a teenager, being responsible for household chores. She became very proud of her Lighthouse home and enjoyed the Friday nights when past residents would come back for a family meal.
A family reunion was carefully monitored by the Lighthouse Care team, and she was ultimately able to be reunited with her aunt, and begin a new life in a country town in Victoria. She is now completing Year 12, and remains in contact with the Lighthouse team through the Outreach support program. With their psychological support, she has negotiated a new relationship with her mother, who now is doing better personally, and is considering relocation to the same town with Liana’s two siblings.
Lighthouse provided a secure and safe family home in which James could rest and recover, and get some medical attention for his health issues. With unhappy past school experiences, and very low confidence, he was reluctant to return to school, and after several months, and several attempts at re-entering school, his Lighthouse Carer then focused on assisting him into beginning a TAFE training course which will qualify him to gain work in Aged Care.
Now almost 19, James is taking longer than the usual time to complete his training certificate, and he will need a great deal of further support to gain his qualification. He is shining in the hands-on work placement elements, but is struggling with the written assignments, and in the demands of meeting time commitments. There are many positives to his situation, as he is gradually learning to manage the routines of getting himself to and from his study, and he is taking better care of himself.
For James, coming into the Lighthouse program has enabled him to get the psychological counselling he needed, in order to deal with the traumas of his past. His future is looking hopeful, and his Lighthouse Carers will be there beside him, helping him make each step towards the life he deserves.
My biggest thanks to everyone, you have filled my life with love and shown me more kindness than I have ever felt and it really seems I have been given new eyes and see more beauty everyday and a new heart.
Thanks to Lighthouse, I have felt for the first time in years that I am me again.