Our stories

“Complete turnaround”: In just one year, Kaylee*, 16, has achieved so much

Kaylee*, 16, is in our SFK Mentoring program, and while she’s faced many challenges in her life, she is currently thriving! In the past year, she’s passed her learner’s license test, started at an alternative high school, and completed a barista course.

Kaylee’s dad was incarcerated when she was eight years old, and at nine, she moved to live with her grandmother. By this time, she’d experienced considerable trauma and suffered anxiety, withdrawing from many of her friends and fearing social spaces.
Then, when she was 14 years old, Kaylee and her grandmother had to flee where they were living. It all happened so quickly that she couldn’t even say goodbye to the friends she was still in touch with.
Kaylee shut down and didn’t go to school for a year – falling behind her peers. She would spend all day at home, every day. Her grandmother was unwell and couldn’t take her out, and she was too overwhelmed by her new local high school to attend.
It was at this time that she was matched with her SFK Mentor.
Her mentor has witnessed a massive improvement in Kaylee’s well-being over the past year and says she has made a “complete turnaround”.
She says the biggest change has been her motivation, “She’s open to ideas and gives everything a shot.”
For her birthday, we could do little things like support her with donated gifts and take her out for breakfast. It seems small but makes a huge difference for these kids who have been through so much.
Together, they go on outings and spend time having fun and exploring new opportunities for Kaylee.
Kaylee even started a boxing class, a great way to meet girls her age, as she wasn’t attending school regularly at the time.
“She loves going for long drives; at first, it was just a huge thing for her to step out of the house.”
One time, they went shopping together, and Kaylee was able to buy some new clothes with a donation her mentor had secured. “She had the best time! She could pick out some items she liked that fit her, as she’d had to leave most of her clothes behind when she’d fled.”
“For her birthday, we could do little things like support her with donated gifts and take her out for breakfast. It seems small but makes a huge difference for these kids who have been through so much.”

Her mentor and the SHINE for Kids team have also supported Kaylee to enrol in a new high school that suits her much better. She’s now attending regularly, a big step for a young person who hadn’t been to school regularly for years!

Her new school is a government-run alternative high school that uses trauma-informed practice and flexible hours to make it accessible to young people like Kaylee.

“It’s been a game changer,” said her mentor, “She has enjoyed getting back into a routine. She likes cooking classes, legal studies and mathematics. It’s been amazing for her.”

After coming so far in just a year, Kaylee and her mentor are excited about what the new year will bring!

 

With the support of her new school Principal, Kaylee is now motivated to complete high school and get her VCE  (Victorian Certificate of Education).

 

She’s much more confident, has made a new friend, and is talking about attending University in the future.

 

We are incredibly proud of Kaylee and her inspiring ‘can-do’ attitude this year.

 

Her mentor said that while we’ve been here for her every step of the way, it’s Kaylee who has been putting in the hard work.

“For so many children, the biggest impact is often just having someone who cares and shows up.”

With support, young people can achieve so much.

*Names and images changed to protect the identity of program participants. 

Please donate to support our programs for young people. Every bit counts.  

“Complete turnaround”: In just one year, Kaylee*, 16, has achieved so much

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