Lisa has been a foster carer since 2013, beginning with respite care for a young girl on a monthly basis to provide some time out for the girl’s kinship carers. In 2014 Lisa took on another respite placement caring for a brother and sister once a month for a weekend – which meant for two full weekends every month she was caring for young people.
In early 2016 Lisa started to explore the option of becoming a full-time carer for a long-term placement and in early June she became the full-time carer for a young girl. She hasn’t looked back since!
“I have always wanted to provide my time and assistance to young people who have had a hard start to life, and this was a natural progression. I had been through a relationship break up and really looking at what I wanted to do and how I could give back to help young people,” says Lisa.
Lisa’s only regret? “I wish I had done it much earlier as committing to respite care for a weekend a month is not a difficult thing to do and I realise now how much of a positive influence I could have had for many more children if I had followed through with my earlier enquiries.”
Lisa has formed a special bond with the children she has shared her life with, some for a short time and others for much longer. And she has seen two young girls flourish and grow becoming more positive in themselves and really thrive.
“I have loved the challenges on my own beliefs and styles and how much each child has allowed me to reflect on myself and grow. And I love being able to introduce and share new experiences with these children, often the simpler the better – a day at the beach, riding a bike, playing with my dog or going camping/hiking and seeing how much joy they get from these experiences and the connection with someone.”
Of course, there have been other challenges, Lisa explains, “not having a lot of information about the child’s background can be challenging so each has been a learning experience. Understanding what some of the trauma triggers are and trying to piece together what may have caused a behaviour or reaction. While this can be a challenge it is also a gift to be able to help any young person work through these challenges and have them give you their trust.”
Lisa has been caring for her foster daughter for two and a half years now, and the two of them have a developed a wonderful relationship, they have learnt so much about each other and Lisa sees the most incredible potential in her foster daughter.
“I feel incredibly privileged to be the person who can hopefully help her see and believe in her potential. We have a strong relationship where we enjoy many of the same things but also many different ones. And we have a great partnership which helps us get through the week. Being a single carer, working full-time requires things to be quite structured, something Miss 10 really thrives on,” explains Lisa.
Lisa’s foster daughter arrived with a huge personality and big emotions. “She was always wanting to please and desperate for attention,” remembers Lisa. “She instantly formed a beautiful relationship with my dog and felt very much at home immediately in the house.”
Lisa works full-time as General Manager of Community at the St Kilda Football Club. Her job can sometimes be demanding on her time, often flowing into weekend work, but the two always find time to enjoy the outdoors together.
“We are often at the beach, going camping or hiking or catching up with friends – all of which Miss 10 has really enjoyed.”
Life experiences and travel provide Lisa with great inspiration, not only within Australia but around the world.
“The idea that there are so many different places to explore drives me to plan trips/adventures well in advance. New adventures and seeing the world are important to me.”
“And Walt Disney, he inspires me, I love his creativity and the beauty he created for young people and people young at heart.”
Lisa is extremely passionate about the rights of young people and those whose lives have been affected by a traumatic start. Having the opportunity to show a young person a different way or helping them to see how wonderful they are is an especially rewarding experience for her.
When we asked Lisa what her wish for young Australians would be her response was not surprising.
“I wish for all young Australians to have their needs placed first, that they have access to medical services, education, sporting and art resources. And have the opportunity to be supported to grow to be young adults with a great future.”
We are extremely inspired by Lisa’s dedication to foster care and are so lucky to have her on our team. OzChild thanks Lisa for sharing her story.