Ryan was still a teenager when he became the primary carer and provider for his younger siblings during his parents’ challenging divorce. With so much responsibility resting on his shoulders, Ryan turned to our Belmore Outreach team for support, developing a strong bond with our youth workers who set him on a path to success. This is his story:
I’d only just turned 18 when my father left our family, and I had to become ‘the man of the house’, during what was an ugly and messy divorce. It was a difficult time for me as I cared and provided for both my sisters – a one year old and a ten year old. I was incredibly stressed for the better part of two years dealing with becoming an adult myself and helping take care of my family.
I had originally joined Belmore Outreach for something to do and to have fun, but it became so much more. The friendly banter I had developed with the team turned into longer conversations as I opened up about my home life. Every week I began to open up more and more and it became a routine that I looked forward to. They always provided me with advice that really made a difference.
When things started to get even more serious at home, the team invited me into their office to talk and here I spoke to the team about my issues and delved into every extreme detail. They didn’t judge, or interrupt, they just listened. After I finished they extended a hand and helped me, and from then on I knew everything was going to be okay because I had people that cared and were willing to help me in whatever ways they could.
I brought my younger siblings along to Outreach, who loved playing games and having people to talk to. The team organised psychologists for us at Headspace and this gave me even more strength to get my life back on track.
I began a degree in Law but was forced to drop out and work two jobs to provide for my family. It was here that the outreach team stepped in again, and referred my family to a bunch of services that truly made a difference and from it all I grew.
Today I have resumed studying a Bachelor of Law, and am also looking to start my first job at a law firm. I want to give back to my community as they have done to me and I have decided that is the type of lawyer and person I aspire to be, one that will help anyone in need.
I owe outreach so much, they are a huge contributor to my success today and for that I am truly grateful, and I want to extend my deepest thanks to the team. The work that you guys do does not go unnoticed, it may be hard to change the world, but I really want you guys to know, from the bottom of my heart, you changed mine.