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Supporting the Barnardos Australia Reconnect Youth Program

Their Story: Georgia*

The Australian Mutuals Foundation is proud to be Barnardos Australia’s top corporate partner, who are a national leading children’s charity which runs vital programs to help kids like Georgia stay off the streets.

Barnardos Australia received a referral from the Marrickville Council’s Breakfast Club with the aim to assist a young Aboriginal female named Georgia. Georgia is 17 years old and was not receiving any form of education nor was she employed or undergoing any form of training. Georgia was on strict bail conditions for assault charges and was experiencing a high level of family conflict which was putting her at risk of homelessness.

Georgia presented to Barnardos with behavioural issues, including uncontrolled anger. She was resistant to community participation and disengaged from education and employment. It was quite evident that Georgia was at high risk of returning to custody without appropriate intervention and support.

Georgia was signed up to the Barnardos Reconnect Youth Program which is an early intervention program, which aims to break the cycle of disadvantage for vulnerable young people who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness due to family conflict.

Georgia lived in a three bedroom townhouse in a housing estate with her mother, three older sisters, two nephews and one niece. Her cousins also stayed at the residence 3 – 4 times a week. All adults in the house smoked cigarettes, consumed alcohol and used marijuana daily with weekend usage excessive. The use of these drugs had increased since Georgia’s father went into prison.

Shortly afterwards, Georgia was charged and released on bail for a serious assault that she had committed whilst under the influence of a mix of drugs and alcohol. Her bail conditions stated that she not engage in any use of drugs and alcohol and remain on good behaviour. The Barnardos Reconnect Program supported Georgia by referring her to intensive drug and alcohol counselling.

Georgia had poor literacy and numeracy skills and had left school during Year 9. Georgia had not had any form of education for three and half years and received only welfare benefits. The Barnardos Reconnect Program encouraged Georgia to enroll in and complete a five week hospitality course which was run through the Marrickville Youth Resource Centre in partnership with Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL. Through this program, Georgia received skills in resume writing, job seeking and interviewing and was given a refresher in numeracy and literacy skills. Georgia successfully obtained a Certificate II in Hospitality, ‘Responsible Service of Alcohol’ [RSA] and ‘Responsible Conduct of Gambling Certificate’ [RCGC]. This greatly assisted in removing some of the barriers to employment and also resulted in strengthening her family ties.

The Barnardos Reconnect Program also helped Georgia and her family relocate through the Department of Housing into a new house away from their old housing estate. Barnardos was also able to empower Georgia to make the decision to not only remain with her mother and sisters but to also cease her use of drugs and alcohol since the influence of other users had been removed.

Through the intervention of the Barnardos Reconnect Program Georgia was able to significantly increase her participation in the community, family and get involved with other social activities. Georgia now socialises with a new group of friends in her community and attends youth events held in the local area. She has also taken family members to these events which has strengthened her family ties even further. Georgia to this day remains a confident and closely connected member of her family and community.

Georgia is just one example of how Barnardos Australia helps to provide support programs and services to prevent youth homelessness, and give each child and young person the opportunity to reach their brightest future.

The Australian Mutuals Foundation is proud to be a corporate partner to Barnardos Australia, which is one of Australia’s leading children’s charities. If you would like to help support their amazing work, please donate today.

*name changed and stock photo used to protect privacy

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