Young people have no control over their world when growing up. Due to chaotic childhoods, many haven’t completed their basic education. Searching for a way to deal with their childhood trauma, and without support, many turn to risk-taking behaviours themselves, such as drugs, alcohol or crime. At-risk youth need help to get back on track. They need someone to believe in them, to invest in their future. They need Whitelion.
Invest in me
Whitelion’s purpose is to give young people the pride, courage and opportunities they need to change their lives for the better. By investing in young people we can help them to create a positive future for themselves.
When you give to Whitelion it’s so much more than a one-off donation to a charity. It’s an investment in a young person’s future.
Rachel and Eve are two young people Whitelion has helped to turn their lives around - and they have achieved amazing things with admirable strength and resilience. They just needed the opportunity.
Whitelion first met Rachel* when she approached the outreach team on Whitelion’s street outreach service, known as the Chatterbox Bus. She was struggling immensely with her mental health and the trauma of being abused since she was a little girl.
Rachel tells her story: “I have always loved school and wanted to do well, but it’s hard to do homework when you’re too afraid to go home; or be confident in yourself when you’ve been told your whole life that you’re nothing. I felt hopeless and believed my future would not get any better. And then one night, when I was living on the streets, I heard that Whitelion’s Chatterbox Bus was coming around giving out food and blankets. I decided to check it out.”
After Rachel approached the Whitelion team that night, with their help she was moved into Whitelion’s local housing program. This move meant she could stay in school and remain connected to her teachers and friends. It was a big move in the right direction for Rachel.
“My teachers have commented on my transformation, both academically and personally,” she says. “I’m seeing a counsellor, I’m doing really well at school, and I feel university is actually a possibility for me. I can’t believe it. I’m so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to start a new life for myself but still stay close to my friends and community. Even though I can’t go home, being able to be around people who I know care about me has made all the difference.”
With Whitelion’s help and its investment in Rachel, she has been able to work towards a better future, and to create a new life for herself she can truly be proud of.
Eve* was a young woman who desperately needed help when she was referred to Whitelion at the age of 18. Eve presented with mental health concerns, a significant trauma history, unstable housing and was unemployed and not engaged in education.
Whitelion provided intensive case management support through the Wyndham Outreach Program. Eve’s Whitelion worker provided collaborative support around mental health, working closely with fellow community organisation Headspace to help Eve gradually transition into tertiary education. This transition alone was a huge step forward for Eve, having not been engaged with education for some time.
In addition, Eve’s worker helped her to create a resumé and apply for jobs. To help improve Eve’s employability, Whitelion worked with Eve to participate in community run skills training courses. She was linked to Whitelion’s Wyndham Resilience Adventure Program (WRAP), where she participated in group activities including volunteering, which helped Eve build her self-confidence and engage with others in a positive way.
Eve and her Whitelion worker also focused on accommodation – developing strategies around Eve’s current accommodation situation, as well as exploring alternative accommodation options. Eve’s worker was able to provide her with a truly holistic service – working with her individually, as well as supporting referrals to other relevant specialist organisations as needed.
Eve is currently engaged in full-time tertiary education and is achieving high marks! She is also engaging in positive peer relationships and continues to apply for employment opportunities. She is managing her housing situation positively and is looking to move into a private rental.
The future is looking bright for Eve, who reflects on her time with Whitelion. “My experience was definitely a positive one,” she says. “It helped me realise my options and helped guide me in achieving certain goals.”
Every year Whitelion collaborates with local communities, services, businesses and governments to find solutions to the issues facing at-risk youth.
More than 300 individuals are trained each year by Whitelion to be mentors or support mobile outreach services to do important work in the community, including:
- Delivering prevention programs in schools
- Providing mobile outreach services for homeless and disengaged youth
- Helping homeless young people find stable housing
- Providing case management and mentor programs to connect young people to their community and opportunities
- Connecting young people to education, training and employment to increase their economic participation rates
Your support of Whitelion Australia helps to empower young people to rebuild their lives for a better future. Find out more here or visit Whitelion’s social channels to find out more about its many programs supporting young people in need.
#InvestInMe | @WhitelionAustralia
#InvestInMe | @WhitelionAus
* names have been changed.