Tamara: planning for a better future
March 2017 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 has now completed her Certificate 3 in Retail, is planning for a career in fashion and has recently participated in a youth sailing program, supported by the Property Industry Foundation, Colliers International and the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. 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 broke down 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.
As part of the Wesley Take Charge of Your Life program, two buildings at Wesley Dundas are being refurbished to house 22 young people and two carers. The refurbishment is a joint initiative between the Wesley Mission, Property Industry Foundation and Lendlease.
Recently, Tamara visited the site of the two buildings at Wesley Dundas to see the buildings that will eventually house other young people who are facing the challenge of leaving foster care.
This year the PIF Regatta, sponsored by Colliers International, raised money for the PIF House program which builds homes, including those at Wesley Dundas, for at-risk and homeless young people.
In the lead-up to the Regatta, Tamara, along with 11 other people from Property Industry Foundation Charity Partners participated in the Youth Sailing Program, supported by the Colliers International, the Property Industry Foundation and the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. For Tamara it was a great opportunity to learn another skills and build her confidence.