Passion and determination beyond her years

Posted on 11 July 2018 by Rachel Dale

Young woman with long brown hair smiling in front of mountain and paddock

At the age of 16, Chloe* has passion and determination beyond her years. She is very positive about her future, but this has not always been the case.

Chloe’s father passed away when she was very young and her mother was not well enough to care for her. When she was 11 years old, Chloe moved into out of home care and just a year ago she came to live in a MacKillop home. This is where she met Siobhan, her current (and soon to be former) Case Manager, as Chloe has recently moved in with her older sister.

Siobhan has seen some major changes in Chloe over the past year. When they first met, Siobhan says that Chloe didn’t believe in herself. She had disengaged from education due to intense social anxiety and had difficulty trusting people.

“She is a very smart young woman however didn’t believe she had the potential to go anywhere,” says Siobhan.

Chloe was initially reluctant to engage with Siobhan and often missed appointments or absconded from the home. Siobhan linked Chloe in with Sue from MacKillop’s Way Out There program to help Chloe access additional support. Siobhan and Sue were concerned for Chloe’s safety and persevered with supporting her. Eventually it was this consistency and genuine care that was a catalyst for Chloe to change.

“I helped Chloe understand why we do what we do and built trust through honesty. Understanding this was a circuit breaker for her – it sunk in that we really do care,” Siobhan said.

“The person I see now is one of the most polite kids; she’s empathetic, driven, self-reflective and very emotionally mature.”

Sue and Siobhan persisted in reengaging Chloe in education, which has been another key to her transformation. Chloe is currently completing an outreach education course and Certificate IV in Business Management. She is a talented cook and baker and has a future vision of opening a patisserie.

“Chloe is very motivated, she can do anything she is passionate about and sets her mind to,” says Siobhan.

“Everyone at MacKillop has always shown that we believe in her. Every passion or interest has been nurtured.”

Recently, Chloe expressed that she wanted to live with her older sister, who at the time lived four hours’ drive from Melbourne. With Chloe just getting back into her studies, the distance was too far to travel. Months later, Chloe’s sister moved to Geelong and Siobhan straight away started the process of enabling Chloe to move in with her. With the support of Siobhan and the broader MacKillop team, Chloe is now happily living with her older sister and their younger brother. “I love living with my family,” she says.

The Chloe you meet today is an entirely different person to the one Siobhan first met. The shift in her attitude demonstrates the impact of showing a young person that you believe in them along with genuine, consistent care.

*Name changed and model image used to protect identity.