Give a child the chance of a new life

"A letter to my 13-year-old self"

"Hey Allie,

I know you’re hurting right now. You’re feeling lost and lonely. But I want you to know that things will get better — very soon.

It’s been tough for you. You think that no one cares, that you have no future. You think you’re a burden that no one wants to carry. But you are so wrong. You’ll see. 

You’re a good kid, with a big heart, and pretty soon you’ll meet some people who will see that in you. 

They're called yourtown — so look out for them. 

— Allie"

A tough start in life

Without parents to care for her, Allie had been through countless foster homes and schools. In between placements, she stayed with relatives and family friends; anywhere she could have a roof over her head.

By 13 years old, she was homeless.

"Not having a bedroom and trying to get a wash were the most difficult. I may have been homeless, but I was always a very clean kid," she said. 

Then, she met someone who brought her to yourtown, which is when her life began to change.

A real turning point

After spending a weekend with us, Allie was offered work experience in the kitchen at our centre. In her co-worker, Lily, she found someone who cared.

"Lily had so much time for me; she started talking to me about nutrition and stuff. I felt like maybe I was worth a second look as a person. I’d never felt like that before," she said. 

Allie began to think about her future in a different way — as though she actually had one.

Allie decided to learn a trade while working part-time with us, but despite everything she’d achieved, she couldn’t escape the nagging thought that there was something missing in her life.

She realised that she had a lot to offer to young people who faced the same challenges as she had.

From feeling worthless to helping others feel valued

Allie completed her Business Traineeship and a Certificate IV in Youth Work, and is now a Youth Worker with yourtown.

Allie now helps students stay in school and then get into further education or work.

"I'm lucky because I’m able to relate to not just one thing with a client but nearly every single thing that anyone's ever brought up. I've usually experienced something very similar," she said. 

Allie grew up to be an inspirational young woman at the heart of an organisation that changes the lives of thousands of children and young people every year.

Please donate to support homeless children and families.

* Name changed for privacy reasons

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