We are committed to teach life skills and provide a better ongoing quality of life to disadvantaged, homeless and at-risk youth. These are just of few of the lives that we have been able to help through your ongoing generosity.
When Zach was referred to St Laurence House he was 13 and had already been part of the homeless scene for about four years. He was unable to return home as he had a volatile relationship with his mother and younger siblings.
Zach had already spent time in various refuges, had a history of drug and alcohol abuse and an inability to commit to any program.
Zach took some time to settle into life at St Laurence House and the team worked hard to create positive boundaries for him. He was linked into an alternative education program and began attending on a regular basis.
Over a period of about six months, the team worked on family restoration and Zach began to communicate with his mother and siblings. Zach then began to spend some weekends with his family, and eventually, this became a regular occurrence.
Zach returned home to live with his family seven months after entering the St Laurence House program. He continues to live with his family and is still attending school.
Sian was 16 years old, suffered from depression and lacked motivation. Her relationship with her mother had broken down and was at times violent. As a result, Sian had to leave her family home and seek alternative accommodation.
She found a short-term crisis refuge; however, she didn’t fit in and was teased and bullied. This, in turn, saw her mental condition and lack of motivation deteriorate even further.
Sian moved into the St Laurence House program a vulnerable young girl who lacked the motivation to even get out of bed in the mornings to attend school.
St Laurence House provided Sian with a stable environment and we worked towards connecting her with local services to address her immediate needs. She was referred to the Prince of Wales Adolescent Psychiatry Service where she attended counselling sessions regularly. She was also connected with the local Max Employment office which helped her secure a job in the retail industry.
With Sian’s confidence and motivation growing, she even joined the local gym, and ultimately requested to move to our outreach program.
When Sian turned 18 she was transferred to our semi-supported accommodation and decided to return to the local TAFE where she studied and completed her HSC last year. This was achieved while Sian also worked part time.
Sian no longer sees her counsellor and is off all medications. She reconnected with her mother, established a healthy and happy relationship, and moved back home. Sian has also reconnected with her father and younger brother who live in England.
Joe came to St Laurence House aged 15.
He is a good representation of the ‘wrap around service model’ available within the south-east Sydney district.
Joe spent some time in the PALM program at Noffs in Randwick for an addiction to methamphetamines, and on leaving the program, he stayed at Caretakers Cottage for a short time. Joe was then referred to St Laurence House
Joe’s family life had been chaotic. His father was deceased, and he was a ‘young carer’ responsible for the care of his mother and younger brother.
When he first came to St Laurence House, he had limited contact with this family. It took about six months for Joe to settle, and after that time, he began to reconnect with family. A significant factor was that Joe had a safe space to return to after his visits, and this helped him grow in confidence over time.
Joe had been unengaged from the education system and was supported to return to school at WAYS in Bondi. A year on and Joe continues to make progress. He has recently received several awards from school and will be representing the residents of St Laurence House at a corporate meet and greet. Joe already has had a public speaking role at one of the many fundraising events held by our local support network.
Joe has remained drug free and is pursuing options for further education, including University.
Sam is from a culturally and linguistically diverse background.
Sam’s mum died when he was a baby. He moved to Australia with his father, a successful businessman, who had very high and unrealistic expectations of him. Over time, when Sam didn’t live up to his father’s expectations, he was both mentally and physically abused.
At one stage he was taken back to his birth country, on what he thought was a holiday, only to be left by his father to fend for himself as punishment. We’ll never know the full story of what Sam went through during this stay, but suffice to say whatever he endured, both physically and mentally, had an adverse effect on him.
Sam finally found his way back to Australia when he was 15. He ended up living on the streets and became well known to the police due to his brushes with the law and his violent behaviour.
Sam spent time in a few crisis refuges, finally settling in at Caretaker’s Cottage for two months, giving him a little bit of stability. He was then given the opportunity to move into St Laurence House.
When Sam moved in, he was attending school at Youth Off the Streets’ Key College with the goal of completing year 10. This proved to be a real challenge due to Sam’s attitude towards people and authority. Sam also found school rules tedious, often arriving late for school, leaving early, or not attending at all.
He also found it difficult to adhere to the structure, rules and curfews of our program, and early on, found himself very close to losing his placement at St Laurence House.
It proved difficult for staff to gain Sam’s trust, which was understandable following what he had been through in his young life.
Over time, Sam started to realise that life at St Laurence House wasn’t all that bad and he started to build relationships with both staff and fellow residents.
With our guidance, Sam began regular counselling through the Kings Cross Mental Health Unit, which proved vital in helping Sam get his life into some sort of order.
It came to light that Sam was very good at both athletics and rugby league.
This proved to be a good ground breaker and St Laurence House staff took an interest in his achievements, regularly watching him participate in his favoured sports on weekends.
As the year progressed, Sam started to enjoy his school and soon became one of Key College’s most successful students, both academically and on the sporting field.
Sam finished year 10 and received numerous awards for his efforts. He even received a Youth Off the Streets Scholarship.
Sam’s next goal was to find employment. While applying for apprenticeships, he ‘cold called’ on building sites looking for work and finally obtained a job as a labourer.
He then completed several pre-apprenticeship courses (Safety, First Aid, Construction Training etc), as well as work experience, to enhance his chances of gaining an apprenticeship.
Just before his 16th birthday, Sam was given the opportunity to complete work experience as a motor bike mechanic. Sam took to this ‘like a duck to water’ proving to his employer that he had a great work ethic and he was signed up as an apprentice later in the year.
After two years, Sam moved from our fully supported house to our semi-independent accommodation when he was 17. While Sam wasn’t sure he was ready to take further responsibility, with some support from staff at St Laurence House, he settled in well and continued to progress in his life.
Sam later moved into private accommodation with a mate and his family and is now a qualified motor bike mechanic.
The transformation to the young man he is today is remarkable and a credit to himself and the service and support he received throughout this journey.
Chad was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of his father and spent time in a crisis refuge.
He is now 18 years old, living in a supported community house through the STAY program, and works full time as an office assistant. Chad is proud he doesn’t receive any Centrelink support.
However, it hasn’t been an easy adjustment.
Just eight weeks into his tenancy, conflict heightened between Chad and his housemate Rachel, the standard of cleanliness in the house dropped, and the two were constantly complaining about each other. It was affecting Chad’s ability to maintain his job.
Thanks to the counselling he and Rachel received from outreach workers, they were able to establish and agree to guidelines they would both attempt to follow, as well as create a detailed cleaning roster. Chad and Rachel also participated in the St Laurence House Intensive Living Skills Program.
Because of the support Chad has received, he has been able to maintain his tenancy, giving him greater stability, security, and the ability to concentrate on performing well in his job.