In this Impact Winter 2023 edition:
The power of connection
Passionate speakers and generous supporters came together to create an electrifying atmosphere at our Connect for Youth event, making it an unforgettable night that left everyone in awe! With hearts full of anticipation, nearly a hundred guests were warmly welcomed with sparkling drinks and delectable appetizers at the prestigious Australian Stock Exchange in Sydney on the evening of June 20th.
Our enthusiastic and vivacious MC, James Valentine, ABC Sydney Breakfast presenter, introduced our three inspiring speakers: Lincoln Pullin, Jess Pereira, and Amanda Graham. Each speaker represented one of the three youth programs we support: the Withdrawal, Residential Rehabilitation, and Aftercare programs. Their powerful stories and insightful perspectives left a profound impact on all in attendance.
“Unless you’ve been through it, it’s hard to understand the physical and emotional sickness that comes with withdrawal. We feel scared, alone, and incredibly vulnerable. It is crucial to have an environment that recognizes and acknowledges these emotions, assuring us that it’s okay to feel that way.”
Next, Jess, another integral member of the YAG, presented the compelling story of Lyndall*, who, due to addiction, confronted the harrowing thought of suicide. Through the recommendation of a doctor, Lyndall found hope and a path to recovery at Triple Care Farm, a residential rehabilitation program.
“What if, like Lyndall, you were a teenager who had a tough upbringing and had to move out of home at the age of 17? What if your only solace was unhealthy coping mechanisms that developed into substance abuse? What if your final wakeup call was a trip to the hospital because you attempted to take your life as a result?”
Finally, Amanda passionately spoke about the pivotal role Aftercare plays in the journey of recovery.
“Aftercare is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution because everyone’s path is unique…In my experience, connection is an antidote to addiction. When you have someone to help you forge those meaningful connections, take those leaps of faith, and dare to dream that you CAN overcome, you are more likely to succeed.”
We are thrilled to share that thanks to these moving presentations the evening proved to be an overwhelming success, with a staggering $154,714 raised in a single night!
This remarkable achievement would not have been possible without the unwavering support of our major partners, The Funding Network and ASX, as well as the incredible generosity of all those who pledged their support. We are deeply moved by the kindness and compassion displayed, and we are thrilled that so many have chosen to rally behind our Foundation.
*Name has been changed to protect privacy.
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Lyndall is embracing her change in direction
At just 23 years old Lyndall* embarked on a life-altering journey when she entered the Residential Rehabilitation program at Triple Care Farm. Initially hesitant and unsure of her decision, Lyndall’s journey towards recovery proved to be a transformative experience. Her story is a testament to the power of resilience, and the possibility of a brighter future.
Raised in a turbulent home environment, Lyndall sought solace in unhealthy coping mechanisms, unaware of the grip addiction had taken on her life, and contributing to her battle with depression and suicidal thoughts. It was the concern of others – friends and healthcare professionals, that ultimately convinced her to seek help for her alcohol addiction. Reluctant at first, Lyndall eventually decided to take a chance on Triple Care Farm.
Stepping into the program, she felt a mixture of fear and anticipation. The three-month duration seemed daunting, and the secluded location of the facility heightened her apprehension.
However, it was also a beacon of hope, an opportunity for a fresh start away from the tumultuous life she had experienced.
During her time at the Farm, Lyndall learned crucial lessons. She discovered the value of embracing stillness and self-reflection, learning to sit with herself without relying on external distractions like alcohol. The space provided by the Farm and the absence of alcohol allowed her to find inner peace and heal from within.
“It will probably be one of the scariest and confronting things you ever do, but it’ll be the best thing you ever do, and you’ll be better off for it.”
Equally important, Lyndall realised the power of asking for help. In the supportive environment of the Farm, she learned that reaching out to others was not a sign of weakness but a strength. The presence of caring individuals, including her Aftercare worker Linda, gave her the reassurance that she was not alone on her recovery journey.
Reflecting on her experience, Lyndall described it as “Powerful. Transformative. Not like any other experience.” Her advice to others considering seeking help was straightforward yet profound: “It will probably be one of the scariest and confronting things you ever do, but it’ll be the best thing you ever do, and you’ll be better off for it.”
Lyndall’s story is a testament to the transformative power of resilience and compassionate care. Her journey of self-discovery at Triple Care Farm serves as a beacon of hope for those facing similar struggles. “It’s given me a chance at life that I never would have had otherwise, and it has truly changed the direction of my whole life,” shared Lyndall.
With newfound hope and determination, Lyndall is ready to embrace a future brimming with possibilities.
*Name and image have been changed to protect privacy.
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Youth Network Spotlight: Mac River Centre, Dubbo
The launch of Youth Network, a national expansion of Aftercare workers, in 2022 by Sir David Martin Foundation was driven by an urgent demand to reach more vulnerable young people with drug and alcohol addiction and break the cycle of addiction.
Aftercare is an evidence-based six-month wraparound support program to help young people integrate safely back into the community after completing residential treatment programs.
Mac River Centre in Dubbo, NSW, is one of the rural locations that joined the Youth Network in 2022, thanks to the generous support of philanthropic organisations and individuals.
Mac River Centre is an intensive youth-specific 8-bed residential rehabilitation program in Central West NSW. It provides trauma-informed and culturally safe support for three months to young people aged 13 to 18 with a history of significant substance use and offending behaviour.
This helps them make positive changes in a supportive, safe environment to overcome their drug and alcohol addictions and reengage with the community. The Centre has an onsite pool, school room, gym, cultural garden with yarning circle, vegetable garden and a whole football oval. Mac River is based on 50 acres of land 20km out of Dubbo which really adds to a home-like relaxing atmosphere.
After completing the residential program, graduates receive continued support from an Aftercare worker for up to six additional months as they reintegrate into the community.
Enter Shane Matini. Shane is the newly recruited Aftercare worker at Mac River Centre in Dubbo, having started in December 2022. With a wealth of life experience, Shane brings a unique perspective to the team. Previously, he spent 13 years as a foster carer, demonstrating his deep commitment to helping others. Additionally, Shane volunteered at an adult detox and rehabilitation centre in Brisbane, supporting individuals facing addiction challenges.
Shane has also worked with troubled youth through various sporting organisations, including boxing, football, and personal training. This diverse range of experiences has fostered strong rapport with young individuals and deepened his understanding of the barriers they face.
Currently, Shane focuses on supporting youth during their transition back home after their stay at Mac River. Operating in various communities across Western and Far West NSW, he draws upon his own lived experiences to empathise with and support young people on their recovery journey. Shane believes in walking alongside them every step of the way, helping them achieve their goals.
Shane’s passion lies in supporting and empowering the young people he works with at Mac River, enabling them to unlock their full potential. Since taking on this role, he has embraced its challenges with enthusiasm and determination. He firmly believes that collaboration is key to supporting youth and their families, striving to work alongside services in all communities to achieve the best possible outcomes.
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From our General Manager, Helen Connealy
A huge thanks from our small but mighty team to all our donors for your support of our Winter Appeal – we have such a loyal community, and it was so wonderful getting all your feedback on Tyler’s bravery.
We also had another fabulous Connect for Youth event at the ASX raising nearly $155,000 for all three services delivered at Triple Care Farm – a wonderful end to the financial year.
I want to share some changes to the Youth Network. When selecting locations for the expansion of Aftercare, the Foundation worked with Mission Australia to highlight services that had solid experience and longevity of delivery in each locality. Although Mission Australia has been providing services for 12 years in Coffs Harbour at Junaa Buwa!, they were recently unsuccessful in retaining the government tender. The new provider will be responsible for providing some aftercare services within the government contract and is unable to remain a part of the Youth Network with the new arrangements.
We will continue to support the young people with Aftercare until December and are working with Mission Australia regarding other potential opportunities.
The commissioned Evaluation project will include statistics collected to date from Coffs Harbour and will focus on the four remaining sites at Robertson, Batemans Bay, Dubbo and Perth.
Although this was an unforeseen situation, we are confident that the evaluation will give the sector great insights into the impact of the Aftercare model on reengaging young people with the community.
Do let me know if you have any queries and I look forward to sharing more with you over the next few months.
Connect with Helen on LinkedIn
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“We need humane responses that discard outdated attitudes and focus on the health and wellbeing of people and communities affected by drugs.” – Ghada Waly, Executive Director of the UNODC
The world drug problem is a complex issue that affects millions of people worldwide. Many people who use drugs face stigma and discrimination, which can further harm their physical and mental health and prevent them from accessing the help they need. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recognises the importance of taking a people-centred approach to drug policies, with a focus on human rights, compassion, and evidence-based practices.
UNODC’s World Drug Day, celebrated on 26 June each year, serves as an opportunity to raise awareness and foster cooperation in achieving a world free of drug abuse.
This year’s World Drug Day campaign is about the importance of treating people with respect and empathy, providing evidence-based, voluntary services for all, offering alternatives to punishment, prioritising prevention, and leading with compassion. The campaign also aims to combat stigma and discrimination against people who use drugs by promoting language and attitudes that are respectful and non-judgmental.
Together, we can challenge stigma, empower young people, and ensure that individuals who use drugs receive the support they need for improved health outcomes, reduced criminal behaviour, and increased community participation. Let us stand united in creating a compassionate and inclusive society that uplifts and supports people in crisis.
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Meeting of the minds: Youth Advisory Group
Over two invigorating days on June 19th and 20th, our remarkable Youth Advisory Group members gathered for a meeting of the minds. We are thrilled to share this exciting update with you, as their passion and dedication continue to contribute to our direction around youth health and wellbeing.
The meeting kicked off with intensive pitch and presentation training, designed to equip our Youth Advisory Group members with the skills needed to effectively represent the voices of their generation. Through the expert guidance of Pitch Coach Rob Irving, they honed their abilities to express their ideas with conviction, ensuring that their words have the power to captivate hearts and minds.
Passionate about making a tangible impact, our dedicated youth advocates came together to explore strategies that will shape their influential journey over the next year.
The room buzzed with energy as they shared their diverse perspectives, brainstormed innovative approaches, and discussed ways to amplify youth voices. Witnessing their commitment and determination was truly inspiring.
We were also pleased to welcome members of our Youth Advisory Group at our Connect for Youth event (pictured). We are incredibly proud to highlight that two of our exceptional youth leaders, Jess Pereira and Lincoln Pullin, took the stage as distinguished speakers. Their eloquence and passion resonated with the audience, leaving a lasting impression and showcasing the remarkable impact our Youth Advisory Group can have on a broader scale.
At Sir David Martin Foundation, we believe in the power of youth voices to shape a brighter future. The enthusiasm and dedication displayed by our Youth Advisory Group during this two-day meeting demonstrates the transformative potential of this cohort. With their fresh perspectives and unwavering commitment, they are poised to create real change both for our organisation and the wider community.
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to each member of our Youth Advisory Group for their support. Their belief in the importance of youth engagement and empowerment is instrumental in making our shared vision a reality.
Together, we can uplift and amplify the voices of young people, nurturing a world where their dreams, aspirations, and contributions are celebrated.
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Winter magic at Triple Care Farm
An extraordinary winter surprise recently unfolded at Triple Care Farm, filling the grounds with sheer joy and wonder. In a rare event, on the evening of the 7th of May, snow blanketed the Farm, instantly transforming it into a mesmerizing winter wonderland that captured the hearts of the young residents.
Laughter and excitement reverberated through the air as the young people eagerly ventured outside to witness this captivating sight – many seeing snow for the first time – an experience that will remain etched in their memories for years to come.
The unexpected snowfall truly brought a touch of magic and wonder to the lives of the residents at Triple Care Farm. It serves as a gentle reminder that amidst their challenges, these young individuals still possess an abundance of hope and joy. And it is all thanks to your incredible support and generous contributions that they have found solace and healing within our program.
We couldn’t resist sharing these precious and joy-filled moments with you. Your support provides young people the chance to find hope, experience healing, and embrace the magic of unforgettable moments like these.
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Thank you for transforming young lives
It’s with great joy and gratitude that we share with you the tremendous success of our winter appeal. Your heartfelt contributions poured in, enabling us to exceed our goal and raise more than $200,000!
Your donations will directly impact the lives of vulnerable young Australians by funding the Withdrawal program at David Martin Place. This youth-specific program provides a safe place for young people to detox, heal and begin the next chapter of their lives.
Thank you for helping us ensure that more young people have access to this vital program and receive the support they need, such as 24/7 medical care, counselling and access to recreational activities to promote wellbeing. Your contribution will make a lasting difference in the lives of young people struggling with addiction, who want to get well and create a better future for themselves.
None of this would be possible without your incredible support. Every contribution, no matter the amount, has a significant impact. We’re extremely thankful for your compassion, generosity and belief in our mission – to give safety, hope and opportunity to all vulnerable young Australians.