It has been a very busy time at Raw Potential supporting many young people who are currently homeless or at risk of homelessness in the ACT.
We are honoured that young people feel comfortable to turn to us for support. At the same time however, we are overwhelmed with the reality of the number of young people who are sleeping rough in Canberra.
We have been supporting Jack, 17 (not his real name) for the past three months. Jack became homeless due to his mother’s misuse of alcohol, leading to physical and verbal aggression towards him on a regular basis.
He went from friend’s house to friend’s house with little money as he was not receiving any income. At times, Jack had nowhere to go for the night and found himself sleeping at a local park. He described his experience as feeling “unwanted”, “lonely” and “a burden” to his friends.
Jack managed to find accommodation at an Emergency Crisis Refuge, but due to his experiences he suffered mental health challenges, including low self-esteem and motivation. He heard about Raw Potential from a friend and contacted us to see if we could support him – of course we said yes!
We met with Jack at a local café and discussed his issues. We asked him, “what do you think you need right now?” His response was, “I just need someone to talk to.” It was as simple as that.
We met with Jack on a weekly basis to have a coffee and chat. During these catch ups, Jack disclosed his past experiences and discussed his hopes and goals for the future. At the end of each catch up, Jack would say, “Thank you so much.” It is often the little things we can do to make the big difference to a young person.
Roughly around 8 weeks and 8 coffees later, we connected Jack to a Mental Health Service and transported him to his appointments. We supported him to access Centrelink and hand out resumes to get a casual job.
Around 12 weeks and 12 coffees later, Jack’s self-esteem continues to increase! He continues with his mental health recovery and attends appointments each fortnight. Jack is receiving Centrelink payments and has just started a ‘Casual Christmas’ job in retail. He has enrolled in a CIT course for next semester which he is extremely excited about.
Recently, Jack has completed his ‘Road Ready’ course and is in the process of getting driving lessons. He was concerned that he might need glasses to drive. Raw Potential took him to an Optometrist and paid for his glasses.
Jack was so overwhelmed and said, “I can’t believe this is happening, everything is going okay, I am okay for once.”
We will continue to work with Jack until he decides he no longer needs our support. He still has a long way to go. However, supporting Jack to accomplish his short and long-term goals deceases his self-doubt and allows him to focus on his own potential.
Nicolle Applewhite Youth Outreach Worker
St John’s Care is the service provider for Raw Potential which targets those young people in our community that are the most at-risk, disadvantaged and disengaged.
Items required: packets of pasta meals, 500ml cooking oil, shampoo, conditioner, 1 litre long life milk and sweet biscuits.
Drop off your donations at St John’s Care Monday to Friday 9.30 am to 2 pm. Your non-perishable food donations can be placed in the bin outside the St John’s hall Saturday and Sunday between 10 am and 4 pm.