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.
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 support does 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 donations are tax-deductible.
Max’s role as volunteer mentor to Liam has now officially ended, but the two remain firm friends. And the family are slowly getting back on track.
“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.
Together, we are making 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 permission to share their story.