Volunteer Mentoring Program Changing Lives
Like many fathers are to their sons, Liam’s dad was his hero. He looked up to him, he loved him, he could never have imagined a time when he wouldn’t be around.
Four years ago, mum Sharon* had to tell Liam*, his dad wasn’t coming home. Sadly, he had passed away unexpectedly.
“Liam was devastated, as were all my kids, but he took it particularly hard. He is very emotional, he really understands things, and very deeply,” Sharon told us.
After dealing with the shock of suddenly losing their dad all three of Sharon’s kids reacted differently. “Liam found it hard to manage his emotions, he was angry and sad and would often just ‘blow up’,” remembers Sharon.
Do you know, along with providing foster and kinship care support we also provide family strengthening and prevention programs?
Keeping kids safe, out of harm’s way and nurtured to reach their full potential underpins the support programs we offer to vulnerable children, young people and their families. OzChild’s Positive Horizons mentoring program is one such program.
“Liam had lost his dad, he had no other positive male role models in his life, and I didn’t know what to do. I did know that something had to change as he was having trouble at school and at home things could become explosive at times,” said Sharon.
That’s when Max stepped in, an OzChild volunteer mentor who was able to give Liam emotional support, provide him with a one-on-one outlet and help him manage his emotions.
By making a tax-deductible donation you can make a real difference to the life of a child like Liam.
Our family services team deliver a range of programs which help keep families together, especially in times of crisis. We believe early intervention and prevention are key to tackling the growing number of children and young people being placed in foster or kinship care.
“The mentor program can make an incredible difference, not only for the child or young person, but for the whole family. Max had a calming effect on Liam, he worked with him to find ways to help him manage his emotions and anger and just take him out to have fun, something that had been missing since his dad passed away,” said Claire, the program coordinator.
While Max has been an enormous positive influence in Liam’s life, it didn’t stop there. Liam’s mum and siblings have also benefited from the program.
“Things at home have improved 100%, there are not as many fights, and Max would often take all three of the kids out, while Liam was his focus he made them all feel better, we all love him, I can’t tell you how glad I am that he came into our lives,” Sharon said.
Your donation today can help us deliver programs and services to families in desperate need of additional support.
You can make a difference to a child or young person like Liam, or a single mother struggling with a new baby, even families or parents who need guidance to provide a safe and loving home for their kids. And your donation is tax-deductible.
“Liam is like a different kid now, his confidence has grown, he loves going to school, has 100% attendance rate and is getting straight A’s. Max still keeps in contact and takes Liam out or drops around to see us,” Sharon recently told us.
Prior to participating in the mentoring program things were spiraling out of control for Sharon and the kids, the difference additional support has made for this fragile family has been life changing.
With support from people like you Sharon's family can now focus on a brighter future. Please help us help more families by making a donation by 30 June 2019.
For a child and family in crisis nothing is more meaningful than giving them the chance at a brighter future.
Together, we can make a difference.
Please, can you help us by sharing this with someone else who cares about children and young people as much as we do? Maybe your friends or family would like to make a difference too. Or perhaps you might like to get involved as a volunteer mentor?
If you would like to know more about becoming a volunteer mentor, please call our team on (03) 8796 0000.
*names have been changed - we thank Liam and his mum for their permission to share their story.
Mother’s Day makeover for OzChild carer Helen Fox
On Saturday 4 May, one very special foster carer received a well-deserved early Mother’s Day home makeover.
Helen Fox has been a foster carer with OzChild since 1987, and over that time has cared for dozens of children and young people.
Helen’s home, which has provided a safe and loving place for so many children over the years received the makeover thanks to the generosity of the crew at Laser Electrical as well as a host of other trades and suppliers.
Helen’s home was transformed with the installation of a brand new 4kw solar system, new A/C units, a revamped front garden and bbq area and a fresh coat of paint for the fence and kitchen, to name but a few.
This is the second year in a row that Laser Electrical have completed a home makeover for an OzChild foster carer. For the Laser Electrical team, it is a chance to give back to the local community and help out those who do so much to care for our most vulnerable.
“Helen’s selfless commitment blows me away,” says Laser Electrical’s David Gibson. “We need people like Helen otherwise who’s going to look after these kids? Being able to make a difference in her life through a home makeover is our way of saying thanks, for everything she has done, I hope it makes a difference not only to her but for the children in her care too, for many years to come.”
Although Helen’s foster care journey began more than 30 years ago, she still gets the same satisfaction and sense of joy as she did when she first starting caring for vulnerable kids.
“I’m still at it 32 years later. And I love it,” Helen says. “I still get butterflies when I get a call and think, ‘Oh maybe it’s OzChild!’ That never goes away.”
OzChild would like to thank Laser Electrical Carrum Downs for their continued support along with the terrific tradies, suppliers and companies who generously donated their time, labour and materials to make the day such a success, making an enormous difference to the lives of Helen and the children in her care.
17 May marks the International Day against homophobia, biphobia, intersexism and transphobia – also known as IDAHOBIT.
People all over Australia will stand against discrimination in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer friends, colleagues and families.
There are many ways to get involved, events happening in many cities and towns, even in workplaces. But the biggest difference you can make is standing with the LGBTQIA+ community every day.
Speak up - challenge homophobic, biphobic, intersexist, and transphobic language and behaviour when you feel safe to do so.
Educate yourself - on the experiences of LGBTQIA+ people by reading up and attending professional development and training.
Celebrate LGBTQIA+ diversity - be proactive and support programs and events that celebrate LGBTQIA+ diversity.
IDAHOBIT DAY EVENTS HAPPENING AROUND AUSTRALIA
• IDAHOBIT Morning Tea event - Friday 17 May 9.00 am - 11.00 am The Tea Room - Melbourne Supper Club, 161 Spring Street, Melbourne
• CGU Move in May event - Sunday 26 May at ‘The Tan’ – Botanical Gardens, Melbourne
• Frankston Rainbow Flag Raising event - Friday 17 May 9.25 am - Frankston Civic Centre (Davey Street)
• Being Frank - IDAHOBIT performance - Friday 17 May 4.45 pm – 7.00 pm - Functions by the Bay, cnr Young Street and Plowman Place, Frankston
• Warrnambool Rainbow Flag Raising event - Friday 17 May 5.45pm - Warrnambool Art Gallery (26 Liebig Street)
• Whitehorse’s 2019 Idahobit Celebration - Friday, 17 May 2019 14:00-17:00 - The Box Hill Mall, Corner of Main St & Market St Box Hill
• IDAHOBiT 2019 with Rotary Friday, 17 May 2019 19:30-23:30 - St Kilda Town Hall, 99a Carlise St, St Kilda
• Professional Pride Brisbane IDAHOBIT Day event - Wednesday 15 May 5.30 pm – 8.30 pm - Level 22, 480 Queen Street Brisbane
• IDAHOBIT Ceremony - Friday 17 May 6.30 pm - Brisbane Powerhouse Plaza
• IDAHOBIT Day event host by USQ Pride - Friday 17 May 10.30 am – 12.30 pm - The Quad - USQ Toowoomba
*More events will be added once details are made available.
Building a better informed village of carers with the help of technology
The first of its kind in the Victorian child welfare sector, and possibly in Australia, The Village App is providing OzChild’s foster and kinship carers with the information they need, when they need it, and all at the click of a button.
Conceived by staff from OzChild’s foster and kinship teams, The Village App was developed to keep OzChild carers informed and up to date with the latest sector news, information, events and more.
With over 96% of foster carers now using smart phones, The Village App was a logical choice as a communications tool with its ability to provide carers with information in a convenient and easily digestible way.
The app is part of OzChild’s commitment to seek out innovative ways to provide greater support for those who are caring for our most vulnerable and to continue to develop its carer support network and Village of carers.
If you’re an OzChild carer and would like to download the App please contact your Carer Supervisor or the Foster Care team on 9212 3900.
Celebrating Youth Week – Hayden
Hayden was just 21 when he first became a foster carer. Now 24, he has a sibling group of three in his care on a permanent basis.
“It's been the most rewarding experience”, says Hayden. “To be able to look after three foster children has been my biggest accomplishment. I feel incredibly lucky to be given this opportunity. The children look up to me and are proud to call me their parent”.
Being able to keep the three siblings together as a family unit has been incredibly important to Hayden.
“Some of the highlights would be I was able to transition to permanent care so the kids will be in my care until they're 18”.
“I got to take on a sibling group and they were all reunited together. People are often inspired about my journey at my age. I feel grateful that I was given this opportunity at 21”.
With Youth Week kicking off across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, Hayden believes such events play an important role in highlighting the contributions young people are making to society.
“It gives young people an opportunity to voice their ideas and views. They get to express themselves and have a say as to what happens in their lives”.
Hayden is a great example of the amazing things young people are doing right across the country, highlighting the positive impact you can have on your community no matter your age.
“On a personal level I think it’s great to be involved in our community to help disadvantaged children because it gives me great satisfaction and fulfilment that I can make a huge difference to a child's life and be a role model that they can look up to”.
Although being a foster carer isn’t overly common for someone in their early twenties, Hayden has some advice for young people who might want to do something a little outside the norm.
“I’d say take on the opportunity you won’t regret it. Yes, it can be challenging at times but it’s all worth it when you get to see the difference you make to the kids. All your hard work lasts a lifetime for them and yourself!”