“We love because he first loved us.”
1 John 4:19
It’s nearly Christmas and we’re faced with the realities of what happens when love for one another goes missing. Our newsfeeds show us every day how easily hurt, blame and anger can blind and be twisted into anguish, despair, and hate.
When we measure what matters only by how it impacts us, when we stop caring about those who don’t share our beliefs, when we value our own rights more than the lives of other people. We see division, conflict, chaos.
Who is looking out for the most vulnerable among us? Who will care for the young people, families and others who struggle daily just to get by?
Who is caring for people like these?
Image: Parent and Carer Coaching
“We sat facing Ghretta. A grandmother who was full of hurt, anger and pain. Ghretta told us the story of her family. It was full of conflict and blame.
As we listened, it was hard to know how to respond. Did we challenge her? Point out that she also may have contributed to this difficult situation?
It seemed right to just listen, to empathise, and to show we cared and that we were there for her.
At one point, Ghretta stopped and said, “I wasn’t loved as a child” and started to cry. From there we began to look at ways to bring hope and healing to the relationships.”
Ghretta wants to grow and make changes. It will be a long journey, but this change will not only transform her life today, but the lives of her children, grandchildren, and the generations to come.
Family life had been tough for Jamie and she was already living in out of home care when we met her.
“My school asked me to do Fusion’s Rock and Water program. In the program, I gained confidence and made new friends. They helped me to push through hard times. It also taught me to be less physical in how I deal with those hard times.
Fusion then invited me to join their after-school program. Here I could meet different people and hear their stories. One person had a similar story and experience as me, coming from an abusive family and having to move out of home. Meeting different people with a range of experiences was good too; it helped me see the good in people.
In small groups, we share and listen to each other. This helps break down the walls and I’ve learnt to see what other people are like on the inside, not just what’s on show. It’s been important to me to make new friends, even with the people I didn’t get along with at first. I’m finding making friends is getting easier.”
Jamie’s story isn’t finished yet and there are challenges to work through. Jamie remains in out of home care and will be moving schools again.
“I still plan to go to the Fusion after-school program. I have hope for the future and for MY future. Now, I want to make positive changes in the world.”
When Noah first joined our mentoring program, he was enthusiastic and excitable. We loved Noah’s energy, but it also meant he was easily distracted and would make impulsive decisions that ended badly.
It was in his second term with us, that we saw real change happen. Noah began to self-regulate and carefully consider his words before speaking. As Noah’s behaviour changed, we could have meaningful conversations about the importance of being authentic and true to himself, while also being a trustworthy leader that others could look up to and follow.
From a young person who was flighty, easily led, and susceptible to the negative influence of his peers, Noah developed the work and relational skills needed to see the jobs given to him through to the end.
“When Noah started, he couldn’t even put a spanner away without being distracted. Now, we can hand him a boxed-up desk chair and know he’ll get it set up ready to use without needing any direction.”
As we’ve worked side by side with him, Noah has grown into a new confidence in his own abilities and capacity to find work into the future.
Adam struggled at school. Slow to process and thrown off when things changed, the classroom was not a comfortable place for Adam. When he joined the Fusion mentoring program in Year 7, Adam finally had the space to do all the things he wouldn’t do at school.
“We were told by his school that Adam wouldn’t read, eat, or do maths in front of other people. We’ve seen him do all those things at Fusion. Reading the instructions out loud, using maths outside and in the kitchen, taste-testing what he’s produced.”
By working on practical projects alongside a mentor who took the time to listen, guide, and give him the space he needed, Adam grew in ability and self-confidence.
From being at risk of disengaging from school in Year 7, Adam is now preparing to finish high school and his incredible work ethic has already secured him an apprenticeship for next year.
“The young people in our mentoring program all want to come back to Fusion. This is a place where they can achieve, belong, and feel good about themselves.”