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The holiday season is a special time, full of joy, family and love, but for our community’s most vulnerable, this time of year can be especially difficult.

Thank you for choosing to give to our holiday appeal, to help provide homeless young people with a family, a home, and an invaluable sense of belonging and love this festive season. Young people like Tanika and her brother Zach, who experienced their first family Christmas just last year, at Lighthouse. Tanika had never celebrated any holidays before, not even her birthday, and had never received a gift picked out just for her.

When young people lose their home and their family, they can forget what it feels like to matter. By helping us bring them in to a loving family home and provide nurturing therapeutic care, you are helping young people like Tanika and Zach to unlock their own potential, and take their rightful place in the community.

Thousands of young people will spend this holiday period homeless, sleeping on friends’ couches, living out of their car, or braving it on the streets after escaping violence, abuse and neglect.

Please give generously these holidays, so more young people like Tanika can begin to turn their lives around.

 

Tanika and Zach never had things easy growing up. With an absent father and a drug addicted mother, they spent their childhood in and out of the child protection system, bouncing between foster placements and wherever their mum was staying. Eventually their grandmother agreed to take them in, but she was elderly and unable to provide the nurturing care they needed to thrive. With no one concerned with her whereabouts, Tanika stopped going to school in year 10 and began to experiment with drugs. But it was when her grandmother passed away and Tanika found herself on the streets that things really started to unravel.

“We stayed with friends for a while, until their parents kicked us out, and then for a bit we crashed with some other kids in kind of a big share house. I guess you’d call it a squat. There were dodgy people around and we didn’t feel safe, so we left to find somewhere on our own.”

After a couple of months sleeping rough on Melbourne’s streets, Tanika and Zach were referred to Lighthouse.

Lighthouse provides a safe home, along with specialised care that has been proven to help young people like Tanika recover from trauma and start to rebuild their lives. But we rely almost entirely on private donations to keep our doors open, and our young people urgently need your help to break the cycle of homelessness and rebuild their lives.

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Tanika hasn’t used drugs since detoxing last year, and is on her way to completing her VCE equivalent. She’s already looking at hospitality courses for further education, and has been doing work experience in a café owned by one of our incredible supporters.

Young people who have slept on the streets before they turn 25 are more likely than anyone else to experience prolonged, persistent homelessness as adults. By breaking the cycle and rebuilding their lives, these young people are increasing their chances of finishing school, taking up tertiary study, and finding employment later in life.

Because of donations from generous community members like you, hundreds of young people like Tanika have had the opportunity to unlock their potential for a better future.

Your very generous donation towards our holiday appeal will brighten someone like Tanika’s life, by supporting them to take their rightful place in the community and showing them they are truly valued these holidays.