The young people that Whitelion works with have seldom have positive influences in their lives and are often victims of abuse and neglect. Many come from backgrounds that are characterised by multi-generational disadvantage, unemployment, substance abuse and offending behaviour.
These young people require consistent, practical and intensive support to break the cycle of disadvantage.
At 16, Kris already had a life experience that would cause most adults to give up - he had a history of substance abuse, criminal behaviour, low school achievement and almost no literacy skills and was grieving after the death of his father.
Kris was referred to a Whitelion Mentoring Program after being expelled from several schools. At first Kris reacted violently at times of stress and provocation, and was at high risk of receiving a custodial sentence.
Whitelion provided Kris with a bicycle so that he and his mentor could ride to school together and use this time to talk and get to know one another. Slowly, he began to develop a relationship with his mentor and together they attended a Whitelion camp, where Kris began to take pleasure in socialising and learned about health issues and nutrition. Kris's school noted an improvement in attendance and his approach to course work.
With the support of his mentor, Kris has started to explore a previously unexpressed love of art by spending some of his free time with a local artist. Kris's love of art was recognised with an award in a school based competition.
When Sarah and Joanne met during Sarah's custodial sentence at the Parkville Youth Residential Centre (PYRC), little did they know that Joanne would help Sarah through some of the most significant events of her life - getting released from custody, completing a detox program and giving birth.
Sarah and Joanne met at a Whitelion 'Indigo Nights' group mentoring activity, held behind the walls at PYRC to provide entertainment and external connections for the young women in custody. Following Sarah's release, she moved to Bendigo and the two maintained a long distance mentoring relationship via telephone and email.
Sarah and Joanne's relationship remains strong; they manage to catch up once a month in person and the bond they share is a gift that they both cherish.
Whitelion's vision is to re-connect disadvantaged young people with the community and help them reach their full potential.
To convert the vision into reality requires an enormous commitment of time, energy and money. Your financial support is crucial.
Your donation will be used to deliver youth-focused gender and culturally specific services in several areas, including:
- Role Modeling
- Specialist Outreach Support Programs
- Education-based Prevention Programs
All of which will:
- Create a positive and hopeful future for marginalised young people.
- Help to break the 'cycle of discouragement' of early school leaving, drug and alcohol abuse and violence and crime that fractures communities.
- Increase social harmony, foster civil values and build respect.
$25 will provide a birthday present for a young person who would not have otherwise received a gift from a loved one.
$50 would enable us to purchase standard goods for a young person moving from foster care into independent living.
$100 will provide a young person with clothing and shoes suitable for a job interview
$1,000 will give a young person the opportunity to attend the Whitelion pre-employment training course.
$10,000 will help Whitelion to match a mentor with a young person and help support them into employment.
$200,000 is the cost to the community to lock up one young person for a year!
On behalf of everybody at Whitelion and the young people that we work with, 'thank you' to everyone who has registered as an inmate or donated to Bail Out 2013.