Shane’s life changed when he was just 17 years old. Growing up as a victim of domestic violence, he became his mum’s carer while she experienced depression, leading to him struggling at school and eventually dropping out. After his relationship with his mother broke down, Shane couch surfed with friends but after his belongings were stolen, and he couldn’t find a job, he turned to Frontyard for support.
Read Shane’s story, in his own words
“When I was 9 years old mum moved in with her new boyfriend. He wasn’t a very nice man and over time he became more abusive towards me. I’d often have cuts or bruises on my body that I would try to cover up by wearing long sleeves or pretending I’d hurt myself while playing football.
“Over the next couple of years, mum became really unwell and would stay in bed all day long - after a while doctors said she had depression and anxiety. During this time, I pretty much looked after myself.
“I did my best to take care of myself but my school work started to suffer. I found it hard to focus on what the teachers were saying and eventually I dropped out thinking I would be better off getting a job.
“Mum was not happy I had dropped out of school, in fact she was really angry. We started having intense arguments. She would scream at me and blame me for how bad she was feeling. I felt like I was contributing to her problems so I started staying at a friend’s house to avoid having to deal with her.
“I would just crash on my mate’s couch and during the day I would try to find work. I thought I would find a job and a place to live really easily but it turned out to be much harder. After a while, I had to move on from his place as his parents didn’t want me there any longer.
“I didn’t feel I could return to mum’s place so I started staying with a different person every night until I eventually ran out of places to stay. Some of my belongings got stolen while couch surfing and I had no money to live on so someone recommended I go into Frontyard Youth Services to get help.”
Shane’s story is a common one. Any given night, there are 45 young people approaching Frontyard with nowhere to sleep that night.
After speaking with support staff Shane lived in a youth refuge for eight weeks before moving into transitional housing. He also began working on his relationship with his mum and has supported her to seek the mental health support she needs. He has now re-engaged with education to finish his Year 11 & 12 and is also undertaking work experience as he hopes to pursue an apprenticeship as a mechanic.
Your support for Sleep at the ’G will make all the difference to the youth we work with
You will make it possible for our specialist team to walk alongside people like Shane.
We need your support so we don’t have to turn these young people away: so we can keep them safe.
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