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Stories & outcomes

We always strive to achieve good outcomes for our young people, even when the journey isn’t easy. Read some of their stories below.

Stories & outcomes

We always strive to achieve good outcomes for our young people, even when the journey isn’t easy. Read some of their stories below.

Dylan's Story

Lighthouse Young Person

Dylan was abandoned by his mother when he was a young baby. Family members took him in; however, they weren’t equipped to raise a small child who had experienced such significant loss. Over the next 10 years, Dylan was shuffled around various institutions and foster care homes.

Later in life and desperate for a sense of belonging, he turned to negative peer groups and had several stints in the juvenile justice system. Over time, our Carers helped him understand the likely consequences of choosing to hang out with negative influences and continuing to be involved in unlawful activities.

Lighthouse has given Dylan a ‘safe place’ – somewhere to call home. He has developed strong bonds with members of our Care team and prefers to hang out with his Carers and other Lighthouse community members rather than being involved with negative influences. Lighthouse has become his family. Dylan is about to start a hospitality course and we believe he is now in a position to switch to a very different life trajectory from when he first arrived at Lighthouse.

Neve's Story

Former Lighthouse Young Person

Neve came to Lighthouse because her parents were unable to care for her as they had to go into psychiatric units for long stays at a time. Neve had been abused as a child and needed constant support for her ongoing self-harm and psychotic episodes.

Over the years, she was able to attend in-house counselling and had the support of the local doctor. She changed from being someone who had frequent admissions to the hospital to a beautiful young woman who is now celebrating her daughter's fifth birthday and her eighth anniversary of marriage with her supportive husband. She has not had a hospital admission for these five years. Neve during her time at Lighthouse, became a Carer herself and supported lots of other Young People who entered the program and was a gorgeous, welcoming, and emotionally supportive Carer to these Young People.

Brodie's Story

Lighthouse Young Person

Brodie describes life before Lighthouse as being incredibly challenging and unproductive. He never really had something to look forward to. “I would rarely leave the house because I didn’t see the point of it… there wasn’t anywhere for me to go”. Over time, this routine spiralled into a toxic lifestyle which led Brodie to question his confidence in the outside world. Without any dreams or aspirations, he began ‘switching off’. “It was like I was in a dark hole, getting deeper and deeper. I don’t remember much about that time in my life other than the fact I felt so alone”.

When Brodie eventually found his way to Lighthouse, it took several months of patience and understanding from his carers before he could even have a conversation with them. Sometimes just making eye contact was difficult and having people around the home all the time felt unusual. But although his reservations made it hard for him to communicate in one-to-one time with his carers, it certainly didn’t make them any less meaningful. Even if they only spoke a few words to one another…they would still show up and be there for Brodie every day… and that mattered more.

With Lighthouse Carers constantly by his side, Brodie eventually gained the confidence to turn his words into sentences and explore new opportunities that came his way.

Now that he felt safe, he started to view the world through a different lens…a positive one. “I had a list of things I wanted to do and work towards, like starting a footy tipping competition and making new friends at Lighthouse. I’d go to sleep each night looking forward to the game and sharing the results with everyone”.

Brodie’s carers also helped him to register for a hospitality course which he not only completed but finished in record time. Recognising his bright mind and appetite for education, they’ve since supported him to enrol in yet another course…this time, accounting. “I love going to my accounting course on Fridays and telling the carers what I’ve learnt. Some people find numbers boring, but they excite me”.
From the young boy who walked through our doors who wouldn’t even look somebody in the eye, Brodie is now a treasured part of the Lighthouse community with the kindest nature and one of the biggest smiles.

Asan's Story

Lighthouse Young Person

When Asan’s parents were killed in a war waging in his country of birth, he joined the growing ranks of other war orphans searching for a place to call home. Like many others, he ended up on his own in a refugee camp. Eventually, Asan arrived in Australia as an asylum seeker and endured another long wait to be placed in out-of-home care. When that didn’t happen, he ended up homeless and living rough in Melbourne. When he was referred to Lighthouse by another agency in 2014, he was 17 and carrying an extremely large suitcase.

Asan had been living in our Bonbeach home for about a week when his carers noted the impeccable way he made his bed each day, carefully placing the cushions in their original positions, without a wrinkle in the bedding. The truth eventually came out: he had been sleeping on the floor. “This floor, this warm carpet, this room that has a door I can close ... is all I need,” Asan told the carers. “This is the best I have ever known. You can put another person in that bed.”

It took many hours of counselling to help him understand that he was worthy of sleeping in the bed – and worthy of making the best of his true potential. The large suitcase, which Asan had apparently found abandoned just before entering the home, also proved to be nothing more than a container for the usual small plastic bag of possessions.

Over time, he developed a close and trusting relationship with the full-time male carer in the home. One of Asan’s ongoing issues was dealing with anxiety. He also had to overcome severe insomnia and frequently woke in panic, covered with sweat. The traumas of his past needed to be worked through with the help of the experienced team at Lighthouse.

During the 18 months he lived with us, Asan found somewhere he could heal, pursue an education, and think about his future career. He made friendships, improved his English, and found mentors within the Lighthouse community. Over time, his brilliant smile and his natural, sunny personality began to emerge. His English improved rapidly and he loved to chat. He taught the carers and his housemates how to cook dishes from his homeland and led several fishing trips to the nearby river.

One of Lighthouse’s corporate supporters offered him an apprenticeship in an auto workshop, which he enthusiastically accepted. Unfortunately, he only lasted one month in the position. He began to be late to work, was tired and lethargic, and found the technical systems difficult to manage. Asan felt that he had let everybody down and fell into a depression. After more counselling from his care team, he agreed to enrol in a professional barista course at TAFE. He excelled in the course and its practical work experience placements. As a chatty ‘people person’, he was ideally suited to working in hospitality and customer service, rather than being in a technical workshop. Once a qualified barista, Asan found work in a café and grew in confidence to the point where he successfully transitioned to independent living.

Asan’s uncle, one of his few living relatives, immigrated to Australia and established himself in Sydney. Asan moved there to live with him and soon found a permanent full-time job in a café. He still keeps in touch with his old household at our Bonbeach house and has regular phone catchups with the Lighthouse outreach team. During some of his early outreach conversations he shared his dreams about one day running his own business with a coffee cart or café. We are delighted to report that Asan’s latest news is that he has just launched his own small hospitality business.

Taio's Story

Lighthouse Young Person

Seventeen-year-old Taio came to Lighthouse after a period of homelessness in which he moved around various emergency shelters and refuges, and slept in a car with a friend. He found himself alone after his single mother, who had complex mental health issues and drug addictions, moved in with a new partner. Tiao, who had endured abuse for a long time within his own home, wasn’t welcome in the new living arrangement.

Lighthouse provided a secure and safe family home in which Taio 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 would qualify him to gain work in Aged Care.

Now almost 19, Taio 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 Taio, 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.

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