Thursday, 1 November 2012

MELBOURNE – I have a question for you

Yes, I am looking right at YOU!

What are you doing Wednesday, November 14 from 6.30pm?

Because there are some kids who could really do with your help.

Did you know that half of the 105,000 Australians who are homeless are under 24 years old?

Scary thought isn’t it?

The sad fact is that I would have read that statistic once, shaken my head and then gone back to my lucky, lucky life.

Well that was until a boy named Ian walked through our front door.

You see one day, my then 14 year old daughter, met Ian at a school bus stop. An hour later she bought him home and announced that he was coming to live with us.

Just like that.  

And despite my angst, and as hard as it was for other people to understand at the time, that is exactly what happened.

Just like that.

'Homelessness' is not a choice that people make, it just happens.

Ian had no home. His parents had died and he had run away from his uncle's home because he was being abused. He was in and out of care. He was living in a bus shelter and trying to go to school.
He had somehow fallen through the cracks.

It was not easy for any of us. We had many issues to work through and in the city we were living in there was not much support. However, Ian made it through and is now settled and happy. And we made it through and became much better and more empathetic people.

I believe that we all have a responsibility to make sure that the vulnerable amongst us are cared for and supported. That may mean actively participating in this ourselves or actively supporting organisations who do this day in day out. 
Organisations like the incredible Lighthouse Foundation.
It provides homeless young people who come from backgrounds of long term neglect and abuse with a home, a sense of family and around the clock therapeutic care. Through their 'Lighthouse experience', the young people heal, learn again to relate to others and rebuild their lives.

However, to continue to change lives, it needs ongoing funds. And that is why it is inviting Melbournites to its inaugural NEXT event to be held on November 14 at the MARS Gallery.

It will be an evening of exceptional art, fine food and drink, great music and most importantly, a whole lot of fundraising!

The event will celebrate the next generation of young Melbourne ‘creatives’, up-and-coming artists (showcasing the potential that young people can achieve when given the opportunity and support to do so) while also raising much needed awareness and funds.

What better way to celebrate what Melbourne does best.

Go on, you could be changing someone's life. And you never know, you may even change yours for the better while you are at it.