Michelle* is a young woman with a bright future, but her outlook has not always been so positive. In her teenage years, Michelle had a much bleaker stance on life.
By the age of 17, Michelle had been living in an adult world for many years. With both parents suffering from significant mental health issues, Michelle took on a caring role for much of her childhood.
When she was 16 years old, Michelle dropped out of school to focus on the increasing demands of caring for her mother. In an attempt to cope with the emotional pressures in her life, she turned to drugs and alcohol. She became involved in crime as a means to provide for herself and her mother, and was a victim of sexual exploitation. Then, at the age of 16, Michelle fell pregnant.
Unable to stay at home, Michelle was referred to MacKillop's Morgan House which supports young mothers who are involved with the Child Protection System.
Once at Morgan House, Michelle thrived instantly and developed strong connections with staff. She flourished from the nurturing and attention which was lacking in her home environment.
Despite initial concerns about Michelle's risk taking behaviour, staff found that Michelle cut all ties with her previous activities and spent every day at Morgan House learning about her pregnancy, attending recreational activities offered and preparing for the birth of her baby.
When Michelle’s son was born, she took to motherhood from the outset. It was astounding to see this young woman bond with her baby and provide for his every need at such a high level.
When her baby was five months old, Michelle secured employment at a local restaurant three days per week. This new opportunity was the next stage of Michelle boldly changing her future – a journey she was embracing every step of the way.
When Michelle turned 17 and her baby was six months old, she moved into a Lead Tenant house for young mothers where she was offered the support of an outreach worker whilst living with a volunteer from the community.
Michelle always spoke very highly of her time at Morgan House and often stated she would like to live there until the age of 100. She entered into a traineeship at her workplace with growing excitement about moving onto her adult years and gaining more independence. Michelle benefited hugely from the nurturing she received from staff which she may not have had in the family home.
Michelle accomplished so much for her young age. She turned around her life completely in her time at Morgan House. The support of Cara at MacKillop’s staff helped her to thrive, however it was her own determination to change which made her succeed.
*Name has been changed and a model image used to protect privacy.