Some people struggle with adversity for years seemingly unable to escape. Others need only some guidance and encouragement to break free and take flight.
Jade’s movement from a troubled teen to homeless single mother and now a young woman embarking on a career was thanks largely to her own tenacity and independence, but also some timely support and encouragement from The Salvation Army.
She first came in contact with the Army after moving back to her home town hoping to find a new direction.
After falling out with a relative who she was staying with, and with no other relations or friends to take her in, Jade and her three-year-old daughter found themselves homeless, and were referred to a Salvation Army social worker.
With little more than their clothes, mother and daughter were quickly welcomed into a Salvation Army emergency housing programme for homeless single mothers.
The programme provides safe accommodation for several months and prepares clients for independent life through life skills and parenting programmes, budget planning, counselling, if required, and help in securing a home.
Jade embraced the programme, learning as much as possible and making sound friendships in the process. She says The Salvation Army provided encouragement and support to define and chase her goals.
‘I’d known that I wanted change for me and my daughter for a long time, but I didn’t know how to go about it,’ Jade says.
‘The (housing) programme gave me time to debrief, to look at myself and decide what I wanted to be and what I wanted to do for my daughter.’
The Salvation Army helped Jade arrange a house. Having a deep independent streak, Jade accepted a fridge from The Salvation Army but insisted on organising the bond and furnishing the house herself.
Seeing Jade was motivated and capable, the local Salvation Army centre invited her to apply for a temporary office administration position.
She got the job - her first apart from casual orchard work - and was later offered the position permanently. Jade is about to sit her driver’s licence and commence tertiary education in computing and office management.
Looking back, Jade says this time of year is poignant because Christmas was always a difficult season when there was no money left for presents or celebrations with family. She says even pre-school children have high expectations at Christmas that parents on the breadline are unable to meet.
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