When Trudi* first came into contact with Youth Off The Streets, she was 15 and homeless. Her life revolved around heroin, prostitution, crime and the streets.

She was in crisis and unable to control her drug addiction.

Our first step was to find Trudi a safe place to sleep. We found her a bed at Don Bosco Home, part of the Inner West Youth Homeless Service, and put her in contact with supportive and caring youth workers.

Trudi wanted to return to school and enrolled at Key College. Despite her worsening drug addiction, she received her school certificate.

At this time in her life, Trudi came close to death on many occasions. No matter what, she always had the support of Youth Off The Streets’ dedicated team of youth workers.

In her words, “They fed me when I was hungry, gave me a bed when I had nowhere to sleep. The youth workers encouraged me and supported me. Whether it was driving me to Canberra for rehab or bailing me out of lock up, they were always there.”

Trudi spent her 18th birthday in juvenile detention on a control order. That was when she realised that she really needed help. She says, “I knew that if I did not make some big changes, I would die or spend the rest of my life in and out of prison.”

When she was released from detention, Trudi entered the Dunlea Alcohol and Other Drug Youth Service program and faced up against her addiction. She says, “I don’t know where I would be without Youth Off The Streets. I probably would not even be alive.”

Trudi decided that she wanted to make a difference to the lives of young people. Inspired by the youth workers at Youth Off The Streets, she started studies in youth work at TAFE.

Things got tough and Trudi became homeless again – but, again she had the support of Youth Off The Streets.

Trudi returned to Don Bosco Home and recommitted to her education. There was only one problem: TAFE was two hours away. Trudi was getting ready to give up her studies when she discovered that she had been granted a Youth Off The Streets scholarship.

Through the Scholarship Program she completed a Certificate IV in youth work and a Diploma in Community Services. The Youth Off The Streets team supported her to complete a volunteer placement in South Africa and to obtain a driver’s licence.

In the five years since Trudi was awarded her scholarship, she’s completed a Bachelor of Social Science (Social Welfare). For her degree she completed a student placement with Youth Off The Streets. She says, “It was so rewarding to be able to come full circle and be able to support young people like I had been supported all those years ago.”

She’s now hard at work on a Masters of Social Work and employed as a social worker with children and families.

*Name changed for privacy reasons

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