View pdf version of Impact Autumn 2021 edition
- Lisa’s story offers insight & hope
- Putting the FUN into crowdfunding
- From the Board Chair, Will Martin
- Congratulations Elli, finalist in the NSW/ACT Young Achiever Awards
- Time to Rethink Addiction
- Braydon finds a safe space to grow
- Thank you to our corporate partners
- Youth Week 2021: Together more than ever
- The art of healing
Lisa’s story offers insight & hope
Every young person in crisis has a story to tell.
In December 2020, Lisa* bravely shared her recovery journey with supporters, friends, family and peers at the annual Triple Care Farm graduation ceremony. Delivered with eloquence and grace, Lisa’s address was haunting in its honesty and uplifting in its message of hope.
At just nine years of age, Lisa suffered traumatic abuse at the hands of her stepfather, whilst the family was living overseas.
“He stole my childhood, my mum and my innocence,” said Lisa.
“Violence, abuse and neglect became the norm. The impact violence has on your soul… it changes the way you see the world, and it changes the way you see yourself.”
Lisa finally escaped her abuser after three years, returning to Australia to live with her father. However, the impact of the trauma was catastrophic, setting Lisa on a path of self-destruction.
“As a teenager, I tended to harm myself, but I didn’t know why. Unconsciously, I hurt myself again and again.”
By the age of 14, Lisa was suffering frequent panic attacks and diagnosed with severe anxiety. Prescribed medication helped for a while, but soon wasn’t enough!
“Eventually it didn’t matter what the drug was… as long as it altered my reality. I could not face the day without something in my system.”
In the grip of drug addiction Lisa says “your heart goes cold, you lose sight of who you are hurting” and after her third suicide attempt, she asked for help and arrived at Triple Care Farm.
“After two weeks in withdrawal, I moved into the three-month rehabilitation program, which focuses on education and therapy. It was hard work, but
worth it when your confidence grows daily and you start to imagine a life free of drugs and alcohol. In addition to the routine of classes, groups, welfare
assistance and counselling, we had some fun with weekend activities at the farm and off-site too.”
“Addiction is a lonely disease. But being in recovery with other young people, from all walks of life, reassured me that I was not alone in my struggles. The program taught me skills to live a normal life. I would be dead if it wasn’t for the farm!”
Lisa is now back living in the community and recently resumed her social work degree, which she balances with part-time hospitality work. She dreams of using her lived experience and tertiary qualifications to help other young people – and we have no doubt that she will change lives – just as she has changed her own.
Lisa concluded her story with a message of gratitude.
“To the donors and supporters, please don’t stop giving. You are changing thousands of young
people’s lives… you saved mine!”
*We have changed Lisa’s name and image to protect her identity, but her story has not been altered.
Putting the FUN into crowdfunding
Sir David Martin Foundation is holding its annual fundraising event on Thursday 17 June 2021.
The Funding Network event for Sir David Martin Foundation is a virtual live experience with limited seats to attend in person.
Enjoy some refreshments before our MC James Valentine guides us through an entertaining “shark tank” style presentation, hearing from three presenters from different youth programs (Withdrawal, Rehabilitation and Aftercare) at Triple Care Farm.
Then the real fun begins! Attendees are invited to pledge financial support to their preferred program; challenging their fellow guests and colleagues to match them in an interactive crowdfunding session.
“We are delighted to be partnering with The Funding Network (TFN) to host this exciting live event,” said General Manager, Helen Connealy.
“This platform offers a great opportunity to bring together professionals, corporates and philanthropists and showcase the life-saving youth programs we support, in a refreshing new way.
“Having attended other TFN events, I can attest that they are fast-paced and high energy, inspiring laughter, tears, connection and generosity for innovative programs with the power to change lives.
“I hope our supporters will join us for this unique experience – either physically in the room or online.”
From our Board Chair, Will Martin
Hearing that Youth Week is just around the corner has given me cause to reflect on my father’s deep concern for vulnerable young Australians.
During his time as a Sydney-based Admiral in the 80s, Dad regularly joined Mission Beat, an element of the then Sydney City Mission’s effort and commitment to help people living on the streets. Over breakfast he would tell me about the many young people caught in the destructive world of drugs, alcohol and homelessness – and the extraordinary impact these people had on him.
From that point on, particularly as Governor of NSW, he always encouraged young people to fully develop their undiscovered
potential as a way of somehow breaking the cycle. He really just wanted to help them create opportunities to better their lives.
Youth Week is quite rightly an occasion to celebrate and listen to young people. Perhaps it should also be a time to reflect as a community on our investment in young people?
At Sir David Martin Foundation we know that one dollar invested in a troubled young person produces three dollars worth of value to the community.
That’s an investment worth making!
All young Australians deserve access to physical and mental health support, and a safe place to call home. They also need to feel empowered to reach out and ask for help when they most need it.
We need to be ready to listen and to care. Only then will they have the chance to fulfil their true potential.
A graduate of Triple Care Farm, Elli is passionate about raising awareness and understanding about the complex issues surrounding youth drug and alcohol addiction and youth mental health.
Currently in her first year of a Bachelor of Forensic Science, Elli also volunteers as a peer educator, engaging with young people about alcohol and drug minimisation strategies and raising awareness on their effects on mental health.
Please show your support for Elli by voting via https://awardsaustralia.app.do/nswyaa21. Voting closes on Monday 26th April and the Award winners will be announced at a ceremony in Sydney on Friday 30th April, 2021.
Time to Rethink Addiction
Addiction is one of Australia’s most misunderstood health conditions. To help in the efforts to change the conversation about addiction, Sir David Martin Foundation is pleased to be an official partner organisation of the Rethink Addiction campaign.
Rethink Addiction represents a coalition of organisations advocating for a change to Australia’s attitude and response to addiction and our Foundation is proud to be involved.
You can read more at rethinkaddiction.org.au. You can also book your ticket to attend their upcoming ‘Rethinking Addiction in Australia’ event on Thursday 6 May in Melbourne. This event is a behind-the-scenes look at the SBS series, Addicted Australia featuring addiction specialist Professor Dan Lubman AM, from Turning Point, Shanna Whan, CEO and founder of Sober in the Country & Jacob Hickey, Head of Factual at Blackfella Films.
Braydon finds a safe space to grow
For some young people, their stay at Triple Care Farm represents the first time they have felt safe and protected in a very long time. This was the case
for 17-year-old Braydon.
The teenager, who hails from the NSW Riverina region, attended both the residential and withdrawal units at Triple Care Farm; completing approximately three months of residential treatment in total, before entering Aftercare.
Braydon arrived at Triple Care Farm reporting daily use of cannabis as his main concern. He struggled with mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety. He also spoke of a recent traumatic sexual assault, which had left him using marijuana as a coping mechanism to deal with the ongoing effects of trauma.
“It dulled my mind and let me just escape. When I was high, I didn’t have to deal with the realities of what was going on in my life. Truth is, I didn’t want the life I had, but I couldn’t see a way out.”
Once settled into the program, Braydon told staff about his desire to escape the cycle of drug use, get a job and live a life that would make his family proud.
One particular goal of Braydon’s was to complete the Certificate II in Skills for Work and Vocational Pathways. He took great interest in the living skills classroom, where he spent time creating detailed financial budgets for himself along with realistic goals for both his short and long-term future.
Braydon also worked tirelessly throughout the education program to gain as much hands-on experience and training as possible, soaking up every opportunity on offer.
He took great pride in his work – meticulously paying attention to every detail – and as his sense of achievement grew, so too did his confidence.
“I actually feel excitement for the future – I don’t remember feeling that for a really long time.”
Braydon tackled all aspects of the program head on and was more than happy to try new skills that were previously out of his comfort zone. This included woodwork, art and working with the farming and landscaping trainer to operate a tractor, something that he’d never attempted before.
“These were things I’d always wanted to learn, but just never thought I had it in me.”
As Braydon gained experience across these different areas, his outlook on life started to change.
“I feel like the old Braydon is coming back… I finally have space to think and grow. It’s hard to explain, but at Triple Care Farm you feel safe and listened to. That’s why it’s helped me.”
Towards the end of his stay, Braydon reflected upon his new skills gained, both through the education program and in counselling sessions.
“This place has saved me. It’s finally given me my life back that I had been missing out on.”
Braydon has since gained full time employment back in his home town and is keeping active and maintaining positive and healthy relationships with friends and family. He is also seeing a counsellor regularly and using some of the self-regulation techniques he learned at the farm to stay on track.
We wish Braydon all the best in his recovery journey and thank him for sharing his story with us.
*Name changed to protect student’s privacy
Thank you to our corporate partners
Corporate partnerships allow us to provide consistent levels of funding to the youth programs that rely on our support. We are so grateful for our corporate partners who so generously join us on our philanthropic journey to help young people in crisis. This support has been invaluable over the past 12 months, when they – like all of us – were forced to adapt to uncertainty and change in our day-to-day operations. We thank you for staying the course and remaining committed to our Foundation’s vision.
Investa has been a long-term supporter of Sir David Martin Foundation, joining as a major partner in Abseil for Youth for many years. We are delighted that they have recently reinforced this commitment – becoming a Silver Partner of our Foundation! They have also generously provided our small Foundation team with temporary office space this year. Thank you Investa!
We are also excited this year to welcome a new Corporate Silver Partner, NextGen.Net, Australia’s leading software provider to the mortgage industry, delivering quality products and services to a range of banks, non-bank lenders and mortgage brokers. We look forward to working together and achieving great things.
Are you interested in learning more about partnership opportunities with Sir David Martin Foundation? Please contact our General Manager, Helen Connealy via email@example.com for a confidential discussion. We’d love to have you on board!
Youth Week 2021: Together more than ever
This is the theme of this year’s Youth Week 2021 (16 – 24 April) – a celebration giving young people an opportunity to express their ideas and views, act on issues that affect their lives and create and enjoy activities and events. To find an event near you, visit Youth Week (nsw.gov.au)
During Youth Week, our Foundation will be launching its inaugural Youth Advisory Group, harnessing a powerful youth voice to inform our work and future initiatives.
The art of healing
Triple Care Farm Art Therapist, Rachel Hill
The art room (above) and a sample of a student’s flow painting (below)
Last month, our Autumn Country Lunch attendees heard powerful insights from guest speaker, Triple Care Farm Art Therapist, Rachel Hill.
Rachel started working at the program four years ago, as part of her final prac for her Master of Art Therapy studies.
Since then she has worked with hundreds of students at the farm, helping them to express their thoughts and emotions in a safe and creative space – supporting and nurturing them as they grow and heal.
“The art therapy program supports and complements the counselling stream at Triple Care Farm,” explained Rachel. “It presents an opportunity for the young people to express emotions and experiences that might be difficult to put into words.”
The program offers both individual and group sessions, and uses a combination of set directive activities (for example, creating art in nature, mindfulness exercises or making masks as part of an identity exploration task) and as well as non-directive activities.
“Non-directive art therapy involves following the lead of what the students would like to do and developing their areas of interest. It is usually skills-based, so might be sculpture, sketching or working with clay. At the moment stencil, t-shirts and tie-dye activities are trending and very popular with the students. So we’ve started ‘tie-dye Friday’ and we all turn up in our tie-dye, creating a really fun and vibrant space.”
Rachel said that there are many documented benefits of art therapy, particularly when working with young people who have experienced trauma.
“We find that the tactile nature of working with art materials can be very helpful with self-regulation. Many studies are showing it can really calm the nervous system and be very beneficial for students if they are presenting with distress or agitation.
“Art therapy is also very beneficial with substance use disorders, in that it gives an opportunity to work with the subconscious and externalise what students are feeling inside. It can increase self-awareness and understanding about how to manage their own feelings and behaviours. Furthermore, creating art can bring a sense of joy and accomplishment.”