This week is Homeless Persons’ Week, an important and timely reminder that in the heart of winter as most of us are staying rugged up in our homes, there are many people who are doing it tough out in the cold.
Last week Igniting change had the privilege of hosting a ‘meet the people, feel the issues’ visit to the St Kilda Youth Services (SKYS).
During this visit we were particularly moved by their young mum’s program where we met Hayley, who came to the program with her 1 year old son and her sister. It was a joy to talk with Hayley who was absolutely beaming with pride and confidence, something which she told us she didn’t have when she first walked into the centre.
Celia Hirsh, a friend of Igniting Change, who joined us on this visit wrote beautifully about her experience, describing the Pickles Street learning centre as “..bright and buzzing with energy. It just confirmes that people who lose their way can get back on track.” You can read Celia’s full reflection on her experiance below.
Imagine being a troubled teenager with a baby. Now picture how much your life would improve if you could go to school WITH your baby, meet and make friends with other young mums, receive drug or alcohol counselling if required, and receive support every step of the way. That’s become the reality for 19 year old Hayley, thanks to St Kilda Youth Service (SKYS).
SKYS CEO Trisha Silvers says SKYS’ strength is its inclusiveness. “We’ve never turned anyone away. We believe there’s always a solution”
Hayley’s sister Jayde, also attends the centre. Once dogged by domestic violence, anxiety and substance abuse issues, she is now undergoing hospitality training and credits SKYS for changing her life, “I have a routine now and goals for the future. I am determined. I have a purpose. Everything I need to make my life better is here”.
SKYS take a holistic approach to supporting young people which includes, providing a case plan for each young person, assisting with finding accommodation, couselling, and creating education pathways. SKYS also provides innovative approaches to helping young people such as their learner to probationary driver program, L2P.
The Pickles St learning centre is bright and buzzing with energy. The chefs and staff at Heat Catering, one of SKYS social enterprises, prepared a delicious lunch for our large group from Igniting Change. They are available to cater for events of all sizes.
I came away from our visit with a renewed sense of hope that young people who lose their way can get back on track. But SKYS resources are being stretched to the limit, and they simply can’t help everyone. I hope they don’t ever have to turn anyone away.- Celia Hirsh
Igniting Change are proud supporters of St Kilda Youth Services who are actively keeping young people off the street with their wide range of programs and initiatives. We look forward to our next visit and to developing our ongoing relationship with SKYS and its CEO Trisha Silvers who we first met over a decade ago at REACH.
For more information on SKYS visit: http://www.skys.org.au/skys2013/home.html