Obstacle: Trauma from parental bereavement
1. What obstacles in life have you been faced with and why were you nominated for SISTER2sister?
All I’ve ever known is my mother, my father wasn’t a strong influence on my life growing up and I had minimal contact with other relatives besides my Aunties and Grandfather. From a young age my mum always taught me to be strong and to try my best. She was a constant reminder that anything is possible because she herself had a tough upbringing, yet she still thrived and had a strong passion for helping others. Without my mum I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
When I was 12 my mother fell terribly ill with Liver Cancer. She passed away shortly after and it felt like I had lost my everything. She was my all and a life without her is more than unbearable.
Learning to live without one of the most amazing human beings in the world was extremely difficult and on top of that I was dealing with the notions of starting high school and starting my journey of self discovery. Luckily my Aunties and Grandfather took me in and looked after me as they had when I was little. Although things were different because my mum wasn’t there with us, my Aunty has been a blessing, without her I’d be lost in my grief. She encouraged me and did everything possible to make sure I had the support I needed. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have found SISTER2sister.
2. What impact has your Big Sister had on your life? Are you still in contact?
I was lucky to have attended at the end of 2012 and then had the opportunity to start again from the beginning in 2013. My big sister Kristen has been amazing. It is fantastic to have an older female influence and support in your life that isn’t family sometimes. Kristen gave me a fresh look on life and helped broaden my support network as well as helping me with my career goals. Kristen and I are still and contact and I keep her very close to my heart to this day.
3. Did the SISTER2sister program make an impact on your life? If so what impact did it make?
A lot of young girls struggling with their own individual issues may feel alone in their struggles. I know that when I lost my mum I felt like no one could understand and that I was alone in my pain. SISTER2sister provides young girls with not only a Big Sister but Little Sisters as well. Talking to all the Little Sisters and getting to know them made me feel loved, I knew I wasn’t alone. The program has helped me boost my confidence and embrace every opportunity without doubting myself. Without Jess and Marnee and the program I think I would still be struggling.
I am now proud to say that I believe in myself and my capabilities and skills. My Aunty and mother have always taught me to stand strong in who I am and to do my best. I see a lot of my mum in Jess. She is an extraordinary woman who has been a mother, friend and a sister to young girls who didn’t have anyone or felt lost.
I am truly blessed to have had this experience. The beautiful thing about the program is that once you finish the year, it isn’t over. Jess and all the Big and Little Sisters stay in touch and you always have that support network and a place to call home.
4. What have you achieved since graduating from the program?
I am currently in my last year of high school and looking into attending university next year. Without the the program I wouldn’t have believed in myself to take that leap of faith. I’ve also stood out with my passion for music and have had some amazing opportunities that I wouldn’t have taken if I was the person I was before the program.
5. Why should people support SISTER2sister?
It is an amazing program! It isn’t just about having a Big Sister it’s about having a family and unfortunately some of these girls don’t have that. No one should be denied the right to feel loved and that’s exactly what the program does. It makes young girls feel loved and sometimes that’s all someone needs to believe in themselves and achieve great things!