When Sam was 18, he made the tough decision to leave the violence of his family home, with nowhere to go, no job, and no support.
That’s when he came across Brisbane Youth Service (BYS), who helped Sam access safe and stable housing, food, and financial assistance.
Once a young man who had experienced trauma, unemployment and homelessness, Sam is now about to embark on a law degree, hoping to eventually practice Human Rights Law.
BYS has since invited him to share his experience and help co-design the organisation’s Safe and Connected Futures Program, an initiative funded by Hand Heart Pocket.
Sam believes the new program will help address the shortage of support networks for young people who are facing challenging times.
“Just because young people are experiencing difficult circumstances, it should not mean they have to become homeless,” Sam says.
Sam says he is proud to contribute positively to the delivery of services to improve outcomes for homeless youth, and says the stigma and stereotyping of young people seeking help from BYS needed to change.
“Not every young person has mental health issues or uses alcohol or drugs,” Sam says.
“Some young people end up needing help due to family breakdown and lack of support.
“I’m confident the Safe and Connected Futures Program will help and encourage young people to turn a corner, and support them and their family in becoming an adult in a safe and supported way.”
*Identity changed for privacy reasons.