Faith in Action
There are many blended families but in the happy home of Western Sydney couple, Tracey and Nigel, it’s a little bit different. Not only does their family include five older children aged 16 – 20 years, but there’s an extra addition of a fun, active, happy young boy named Blake*. Five-year-old Blake joined the family over two years ago when Tracey and Nigel, both in their mid-40s, decided to become foster carers.
Cathy always wanted to be a foster carer. For as long as she can remember, she wanted to help children and make a difference in the world.
Karen had lost confidence in her parenting abilities. She felt like she could not make it. Then she discovered CatholicCare Social Services Hunter Manning’s Brighter Futures Program. “Working with CatholicCare has changed my life in insurmountable ways. They have made me realise that the life I was living wasn’t the life I wanted,” Karen said.
Sarah and Michael* smile as they talk about their family. “Home is what you make it,” Sarah says. “And the people you fill it with make it a home as well.” The couple had always wanted more children after their daughter, but through circumstances could not have their own. After looking into adoption, Sarah felt a sudden calling.
Since the age of 15, John has been in and out of prison. He spent about six years in custody over the past 15 years of his life and had no stable accommodation for 10 years. When John was released from prison, he was referred to the Sacred Heart Mission J2SI program pilot and was offered three years of intensive case management.
When they received a message that their daughter was about to be kidnapped by a terrorist group, Jan and Silva fled their home in Syria, leaving everything they owned behind them. Now settled in Hobart, the family say the immediate warm welcome and community support changed their lives. “We were very happy when we arrived and when we didn’t feel like we were in a strange place,” Silva said.
Lynley Wilkes had been unemployed for a long time when she heard about a life-changing opportunity – a new traineeship for Aboriginal people to gain qualifications and on the job experience at MercyCare. “I jumped at the chance,” she said. Lynley started her traineeship at MercyCare’s Residential Aged Care facility in Kelmscott in March this year, and said it has given her a new direction in life.
When seven siblings were removed from their family in Northern NSW, their situation was challenging in the extreme. Swift action from St Joseph’s Cowper helped the children not only find caring accommodation in the local area, but also addressed their many needs to build a hopeful future.
On one of his routine visits to a small Aboriginal community, 185km from his office in Central Western NSW, Aboriginal men’s worker, Jack, caught up with Lisa. She told him that her husband, Tom, had just lost his job.
At 22, Jacinta found herself in a difficult place: pregnant and facing life as a single mother. With no family support and no friends with children to lean on for help, the Bendigo mum remembers that time as one of fear and uncertainty over what the future held. Thankfully, salvation came in the form of a leaflet detailing a program aimed at young mothers who were expecting, or just given birth to their baby. And at 30 weeks pregnant, it was the lifeline Jacinta had been looking for.
When 14-year-old Ben arrived at Sydney’s Dunlea Centre, he was emotionally hurting, angry and violent and his family was struggling to cope. Today, Ben is calm, thriving at school, engaging with his family and full of hope for a bright future.