Nicole's story

A smiling teenage girl look over her shoulder as she walks through a park.

My name is Nicole, I am 19 years old. I came to live in Cara House at the age of 12 and lived there for five and half years.

I was taken into care because my mother was unable to look after me due to mental health issues and other sicknesses. Although it was very hard for me to be taken out of my mother’s care (who I loved dearly) and be put into a strange place where I didn’t know anyone, I realised that I could learn how to become who I want to be.

Cara's house was a homely environment, more homely than any other residential units that I have seen. There was always 24-hour care where I could seek the support of the workers. They were always loving and caring towards me.

The workers showed that they cared by supporting me during tough and difficult times where other people may have given up on me or kicked me out of their house. I went through my challenging teenage years at Cara and made some good friends and shared many different experiences from the good, the bad and the ugly. Over time, I learnt how to become confident and develop my identity and my beliefs.

Cara offered a range of different programs that I enjoyed participating in such as the music program (which was my favourite) and I got to record my own CD. I engaged in many of their other activities such as the horse program, the art program, the cooking program and the defense classes (which saved my life one day).

It was always a focus of Cara to offer a range of different recreational activities such as going to the movies, theatre shows, the IMAX theatre, the museum, scienceworks, restaurants, excursions as well as camps.

At the age of 18, I moved out of Cara and have been independently living with other people. I have skills to look after myself, I attend TAFE college and I am planning my future career path. I am linked in with services to help me in my future and I am also involved with the Cara Outreach program.

If I never lived at Cara, I don’t think that I would have a passion to help kids like myself and further be involved in the process of helping other care places become more like Cara.

A model image has been used.