Everything we do at Ladder is focused on helping young people aged 16-25 to break the cycle of homelessness.
By improving life skills, supporting education, employment and training activities and linking young people to their communities, our programs and individual services have been specifically designed to grow their talents, skills and capacities and help young people articulate their future goals.
Our young people have unique stories to tell and we're proud of what they've achieved.
Craig had been switching between sleeping in his car and couch surfing when he turned to a local service agency for assistance. With no crisis or longer term accommodation available, the service put Craig up in a hotel. It wasn’t long after that Craig was recommended to Ladder Geelong and he became the second person in the program.
When Craig joined Ladder, his social skills weren’t great. He had no problem in expressing his opinion and thoughts but struggled to understand someone else’s view and respond accordingly. By taking part in Ladder programs, Craig learnt the importance of how to listen to other people’s opinions and views, to take them on-board and to be able to respond in a constructive manner. The Ladder team gradually saw his social and communication skills improve and he was ready to take the next steps in achieving his long-term goals.
Through various sessions Craig had expressed interest in working with animals, which led the Ladder team assisting him to enrol in a TAFE course in animal studies. The Ladder Program Coordinator found Craig a mentor who worked closely with Craig in setting employment and housing goals for the upcoming six to 12 month period. In mid-2015 Cotton On took its relationship with Ladder to another level. It started a trial internship in hospitality in the café at its Head Office, which would be for three months for one young person. Craig was that young person. Within the first few weeks, Craig developed a reputation of being a hard worker and was offered a permanent role at the end the internship. The internship not only gave Craig skills in hospitality but also improved his confidence, communication skills, ability to work as a member of a team and it provided him with an income.
Craig’s mentor also used his networks to find him work experience at a local stud farm as part of his TAFE course. Craig has now started full time work at the stud farm, which will fit in around his studies. He had been working three days at the café, one at the farm and has one day of study. Craig has moved into his own place (private rental).
In two years, Craig has grown from being a young man with no stable housing and poor social skills to a confident young man, sharing his story and encouraging young people to be proactive and engaged to make sure they make the most of any opportunities that present themselves.
Before coming to Ladder St Vincent Street, 19 year old Jane was living in a tent in a friend’s backyard. She had been kicked out of home five years earlier due to family breakdown. Her health was very poor and she suffered high stress levels and low self-esteem as a result of her homelessness. Jane was determined to not live like this forever, and to her credit she managed to hold down a job at a fast food restaurant despite not having a stable home address.
With Ladder’s help Jane has taken big steps towards a new, independent life. She’s been an enthusiastic participant in our life skills and mentoring programs and is about to start a long-term TAFE course in Numeracy and Literacy. Her health has improved dramatically and she’s now spending more time with friends and family. "The support here is wicked," she says "and I’m so proud to have a roof over my head."
Eighteen year old Kylie had a long history of domestic violence in her family and her situation at home became so volatile that she ended up couch surfing from one place to another. She was enrolled in a study course but her homelessness made it impossible for her to attend, and when things got really tough she had to access emergency accommodation through the Service to Youth Council.
Since joining Ladder St Vincent Street Kylie has taken full advantage of the mentoring programs and support on offer and is currently studying full-time for a Certificate 3 in Medical Administration. Kylie is now confident that she can see a brighter future ahead. "Ladder is a great place with lots of positive feedback and such a supportive atmosphere," she says. "My short term goal is to find full-time work in medical administration next year so that I can live independently. Then, in the future when I have a steady wage, I’d love to study interior design."
*Names have been changed