A letter from our CEO:
As we prepare our hearts for Christmas and the new life and hope it brings, my heart is breaking for the young people in our community for which Christmas is a difficult and lonely time.
These young people are growing up in survival mode; focused on getting through the day in one piece. And when you’re young and in survival mode, it’s hard to engage with the promises that Christ’s birth brings.
That doesn’t have to be their story.
I want to encourage you with the difference you have helped make in the life of a young man: Tomo.
We met Tomo over a decade ago. Without the support of people like you, this transformation wouldn’t have been possible. It has required an investment from the whole community, people like you who have given, prayed and volunteered through the years.
At the age of 16 Tomo’s future was looking bleak.
“I can’t remember if I chose to leave home, or mum kicked me out, but either way I couldn’t stay there. Not having anywhere else to go, I snuck in to the laundry and slept there over the weekend. I left early each morning, no one knew I was there.
I didn’t know where I would go, I didn’t have anywhere else I could go… It was just about getting through each day.
Thankfully, I had a good relationship with one of my teachers. I trusted her and reached out. I knew it wasn’t working and I knew I couldn’t go home.
That week we had a school camp, so I had had the opportunity to pack my bags and it gave us time to work out where I would go.
I’ll never forget the moment my teacher told me they found somewhere for me to stay.
One of the guys from Fusion offered to take me in, inviting me to live with his family. That was a massive thing! It’s a big deal to take on a 16 year old kid into your home, when you already have three kids of your own.”
It’s easy to overlook the importance of connecting with young people and ensuring they know they are loved: that you see their true worth, and value spending time with them. Our team already knew Tomo; we’d been investing into his wellbeing through a mentoring program.
“It was so encouraging knowing that I was going to live with people who genuinely cared for me. I had a lot of trust in the Fusion team, I knew I would be safe there.”
Tomo was fortunate. He was given a chance and in turn Tomo found a place that became home. After living with one of the Fusion team members, Tomo moved to Poatina, Fusion’s village in Tasmania. The team continued to invest into Tomo during his formative years and instilled in him a heart to invest into the lives of others.
Tomo has held a number of volunteer positions to support the local community and most recently, worked in a men’s shelter for the past 3 years. Now Tomo serves the community as our youth caseworker at Capstone College.
“I heard about this opportunity to work at Fusion’s new college, Capstone. As I found out more and heard Fusion’s heart to help kids graduate year 9 and 10, I thought: that’s something I want to be part of!
It’s been really special to be part of the growth of our students; to see them find appreciation in school and work through things they have struggled with in the past. Before they came to us they were able to survive, some only just.
…But surely we were made to have life, not just survive.
There are kids in our community who need the same love that I received. You see the need on a day-to-day basis. We don’t force them to come to school, they are choosing to be here. They can see we genuinely care about them and know we want them to experience life to the fullest!”
“It’s hard to know where I would be if I didn’t have those people around me. If this community hadn’t invested into me, who would have seen me?
Our young people need to know that they are loved; they are worth something and that we see their potential, even when they don’t. They need to know someone believes in them and they have something to contribute.”
That kind of investment takes a community. This Christmas, will you give the gift of life?
Your financial support means we can continue to transform the lives of future leaders.
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the birth of our Saviour, can you?
God Bless and a Merry Christmas,
Fiona Gunnion Fusion Australia Executive Team Leader/ CEO