Alice* fell pregnant at 13 and now lives with her 6 year old daughter on the outskirts of Mooloolah in a caravan without running water, electricity or any basic comforts. Keeping a low profile and needing to constantly move, Alice is scared, desperate and fearful that the estranged father of her child, who was recently released from jail following a serious crime, is intent on taking their daughter.
Traditionally Christmas is a time for giving, sharing and festivities but planning a Christmas meal or even buying presents will be farthest from Alice’s mind and an unaffordable luxury for her and her daughter. And sadly, there are so many more stories like Alice’s and other families who are struggling to make ends meet this festive season.
What Alice really needs this Christmas, is a break from her worries, and a chance to experience some Christmas joy. Instead of dropping a food hamper to Alice and other families like her, Youturn Youth Support would like to gift her and her daughter a lasting memory, by tailoring an Experience Package to brighten their Christmas holiday.
“The Gift a Memory will offer a struggling family with a special dining or local tourism experience – along with a Christmas tree and gift for each family member from a local supplier to put under the tree. The package will be carefully tailored to their particular preferences and situation and it would be a luxury they cannot normally afford but could create a lasting memory”, explains Youturn Engagement & Donor Relations Manager, Susan Beaton. “At the same time we would be supporting a local tourism or hospitality business who are also doing it tough, so it’s a win-win scenario.”
Youturn Youth Support is a local not-for-profit charity based on the Sunshine Coast that was started over 30 years ago by five passionate volunteers who wanted to help six youth experiencing homelessness in the local Noosa region. Since then, the organisation has grown substantially working with young people and those that support them, expanding our focus to include Child Safety, Mental Health, Suicide Prevention and of course Homelessness.
As we have every year, Youturn will be running a Christmas Appeal to help families and young people like Alice – to brighten their holidays and offer them some relief each Christmas. This year we are doing things a little differently– we are offering our community a choice of how they would like to support:
1 – Gift a Memory Experience package is valued at $250 and will be individually tailored specifically to each young person or family and includes:
- A Christmas tree,
- A gift for each family member from a local supplier under the tree
- Dining experience at a local restaurant or
- A day out at a local water or theme park,
2 – Give a little more often and consider becoming a regular giver as there is a need all year round. As they say Little by Little, a Little becomes a lot” and every act, no matter how small, counts. (eg $5 or $10 each pay day, could help towards sustaining and supporting a young person or child throughout the year – not just at Christmas.)
Youturn’s Darcy Foley, General Manager – Homelessness, explains the benefit of giving a little cash regularly to young people experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness.
“People trying to find or sustain a stable roof over their heads are not in such a good position to be receiving big hampers or extra belongings… they travel light and don’t have storage. What we ideally need is to use extra funds to meet more practical needs ongoing… regular giving gives the people we support a safety net and extra year-round support”, Darcy said.
3 – Donate a Gift Pack for a Young Person or Child
For those who would prefer to buy a gift pack for a child or young person, Youturn has a suggested shopping list on their website and as part of the Noosa Mayor’s Christmas Appeal, are accepting donations at 12 Ernest Street Tewantin, or at the RSL Tewantin.
For Sunshine Coast families and the young people like Alice who are struggling – Christmas can be a time of dread. Like any parent she would love to give her daughter a special Christmas with a decorated tree, twinkly lights, brightly wrapped presents and a table laden with a traditional Christmas meal, but instead Alice is facing a stark and depressing reality with no Christmas at all. Giving her a break from her worries and a day out to remember, would mean the world to her and her daughter.
If you can, please donate to Youturn’s Christmas Appeal, so as a community we can share and give hope where its’ needed most.
To learn more or donate to Youturn’s young people and those people who care for them, please visit www.youturn.org.au