Tamara: planning for a better future
January 2018 NSW
Tamara’s mother was addicted to drugs and so at 6 months old she was taken into foster care. Throughout her childhood and teen years she lived with numerous foster families, each time looking for stability. She eventually became homeless when her relationship with a foster family broke down.
She now has accommodation of her own, has completed a Certificate 3 training certificate and is planning her career. To achieve these milestones she said she has overcome many challenges.
“I’m not sure how many foster families I had,” she said.
At age 17, the relationship with her then foster family became very disfunctional and they asked her to leave. Without anywhere to go and friends unable to take her in, she slept in her car.
She eventually moved in with an ex-boyfriend – but he became violent and she had to flee.
For 18 months she couch surfed, wondering how she would finally find a safe place to live.
Eventually she was referred to Wesley Mission’s Take Charge of Your Life Program. The program helps young people leaving foster care become independent.
Tamara said she now has the support and direction she has been looking for all her life.
“Without the fantastic support I received, I’d still be living on the streets,” she said.
In November 2017, two recently refurbished buildings at Wesley Dundas were opened to house 22 young people at a time, and live-in carers. The project is a joint initiative between the Wesley Mission, Property Industry Foundation and Lendlease. The Property Industry Foundation will also be providing $300,000 per year for five years to fund the live-in carers.
The houses will accommodate people like Tamara, who leave foster care without any options for accommodation and support.
This year we welcome Tamara as our Regatta Ambasssador for the Foundation's Annual Charity Yachting Regatta, sponsored by Colliers International. The Regatta will raise money for the PIF House program which builds homes, including those at Wesley Dundas, for at-risk and homeless young people.
Last year Tamara participated in the Youth Sailing Program, part of the Annual Charity Yachting Regatta, which aims to build the confidence of at-risk and homeless young people through providing a positive learning experience. This year Tamara will mentor young people doing the program for the first time.
Find out more about the Annual Charity Yachting Regatta and book your place at www.pifregatta.com.au.