Since Weave was established in 1976, we’ve created over 40 years of meaningful connections with hundreds of people facing a diverse range of social issues. That’s four generations of families whose journey we’ve proudly been a part of – and walked alongside.

Produced as part of our Weave Evaluation, this video features clients and families that have been connected to the organisation over the years.

Stories of Lived Experience

We are proud to share some of our community’s experiences below.

The stories of clients are valued: clients have a voice and mutual respect sustains relationships.

– Weave client

Beau Foster, A Really Kool Kid

Beau Foster, a young Yuin Dharawal man, was a participant of our La Perouse Kool Kids Club Program from the age of 9. Beau was actively engaged in the program and went on to become a Switch Leader, providing peer mentoring to children transitioning from primary school to high school.

In 2016, we proudly employed Beau as an Aboriginal Activities Worker – our first former Kool Kid to join our team as an employee. Beau is doing an incredible job running programs that support children to learn new skills, promote good values, connect with community and facilitate cultural experiences.

Beau performing with Weave’s Kool Kids Club opening the Waratahs game at More Park on 9 July, 2016.

Daniel

When 23 year old Daniel came to Weave for counselling, he was struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He was experiencing depression, anxiety, outbursts of anger and ongoing feelings of detachment and hopelessness. His escalating drug usage was only making matters worse and Daniel faced criminal charges as a result.

Having never sought counselling before, Daniel decided that it was time to get help. Not a fan of sitting inside, we counselled Daniel whilst walking and talking in the park. Through the power of talking, Daniel began to realise that his challenging childhood and early exposure to drugs, alcohol and violence had shaped his current view of the world, and not in a good way.

Daniel went on to recognise his strengths, appreciate his own resourcefulness and independence. Over time, he developed a strong desire to not only help himself, but help those around him too. Over a period of four months, he made his own decision to decrease his drug use. Weave supported him through his court process, which resulted in Daniel receiving a good behaviour bond to allow him to continue on his new path.

Today, Daniel has a full-time job that he enjoys. Daniel’s goal is to understand more about himself, so that he feels more in control of and remains open to new possibilities. In exploring new ways to emotionally regulate, Daniel signed up for regular meditation classes. He is in the process of discovering new ways to be social, to celebrate and to relax. Daniel’s interests currently include team sports and photography.

Anna

Anna turned to Weave during a time where her mother and father were suffering from mental health issues and drug addiction. Unable to provide her with the support she needed, Anna had chosen to be homeless, rather than live in a violent and difficult family environment.

Anna became pregnant and was living in unsuitable conditions that would keep neither her, nor her baby safe. She wanted her baby to have a more positive upbringing than her own and was determined to resolve her housing crisis. With the help of the Streetbeat program, Anna applied for Priority Housing. Whilst waiting for the housing, Anna was referred to a young parent’s accommodation service and was accepted into the program.

With the help of stable refuge accommodation, Anna was able to attend parenting programs, successfully gain her Year 10 certificate and learn to drive. Six months after her application for Housing NSW accommodation, Anna was allocated a cosy flat in Surry Hills. Today, she is a happy mum taking care of her child in a safe and loving environment.

Joshua

Joshua is a 26-year-old man from Erskineville. For 18 months, Joshua has had full custody of his nine-year-old daughter. Life as a single dad is not easy, and has been made all the harder by not having a driver’s licence or a car. Finding work that doesn’t require a licence and ensuring his daughter gets to school without a car was challenging. Through Weave’s Driving Change program, Joshua was able to access lessons with a professional driving instructor. In September 2016, Joshua passed his provisional licence test.

Joshua’s newly acquired licence opened the doors to many avenues of work previously closed to him, and with Weave’s Work Ready Hub helping Joshua prepare for the workforce he secured stable employment. The Driving Change program, combines with other Weave programs, had a big impact on Joshua and his daughter’s lives, and helped him to achieve a level of employability and mobility he would not have been able to achieve any other way.

Katie

Katie* is a young Aboriginal woman who got in touch with Weave through another local community service. At the time, Katie was in a rough place — she was in an unsafe relationship, disconnected from her family and community, and having issues with housing. Katie’s sisters said that they felt very afraid for her: they loved her and wanted to support her, but they felt ill-equipped to deal with the court and doctor’s appointments that Katie needed to attend.

Katie soon began meeting with her Weave counsellor, and over time trust built-up between them. Katie felt that she could tell her counsellor anything, and that her counsellor was a trustworthy friend and support to get her through these hard times.

Katie sat down and spoke to her counsellor about her life, and she was shocked about how much Katie had been through. Katie doesn’t speak to many people, but she spoke to her counsellor.

– Katie’s sister

There were many aspects to Katie’s relationship with her Weave counsellor, who also played a broader caseworker role for Katie. She could talk to her and share hard experiences, she could have fun with her on beach or movie days, and she could get the practical support that she needed. Katie’s counsellor came with her to court, and spoke to the lawyer on Katie’s behalf. She helped her and her sister understand what doctors had advised, visited Katie when she was in hospital, and encouraged the family so that they could go visit the solicitor when they needed. Katie now has someone to look up to in her life going forward.

Simon

Simon* is a young Aboriginal man who became involved with Weave after learning about the service from his sister, who was linked to Weave by their aunty. When Simon was younger, he struggled to find safe housing and used drugs, which he said he had a problem with.

Simon struggled with severe anxiety — he had found everyday social interactions, such as buying a cup of coffee or chatting to people on the street, fearful and overwhelming. Through the skills Simon was taught by his Weave counsellor he can now manage his anxiety and live “a fuller and freer life.” He has also grown his interpersonal skills and is more confident and discerning with his friendships, and says that he is able to talk honestly with his parents about issues in the home.

I feel now I can deal with day to day life a lot easier. A few years ago I needed someone with me to work with me… It seems like simple stuff, but it’s pretty huge.

– Simon

Today, Simon voluntarily gives back to the community in the ways that Weave initially supported him. He is a Weave Youth Advocate, and worked on our ‘Survival Tips’ campaign to help strengthen the mental health and skills of the local community. Simon plans to work further with youth, local elders and other community members to support positive growth in his local area.

Becky

Becky* is an Aboriginal woman from regional NSW who first became involved with Weave 15 years ago after being referred by Juvenile Justice as a teenager. At that time, she wanted help to make changes in her life. She needed immediate assistance with housing, clothing, identification and getting back into school, but Becky recognised that she also ‘needed to be active, to be involved in things’, and accordingly she sought counselling, healing groups, and some recreational opportunities through Weave.

Over the years, Becky has been involved with Weave on and off and in different ways, depending on her circumstances. When times were tough as an adult, Weave supported her with a referral to rehabilitation. But Weave has also been there in the good times. About seven years ago, Weave identified an opportunity for Becky to do Youth Challenge Australia, which involved two months working on community development projects in the Pacific. Becky said, “it was an amazing experience…a life experience that turned my life around.” She still keeps in touch with friends she met there.

These days Becky volunteers for Weave in various ways, including speaking at community events to share her experiences, and sometimes she drops in to the Weave to use the computers. She also works in childcare, and loves her job. Becky’s life is stable and independent:

Without the support of Weave I wouldn’t have the tools I have today to live a day to day life.

– Becky

Luke

Luke was 16 years old when a friend introduced him to Streetbeat. Luke had been homeless for a year, relying on friends for occasional accommodation, after he had to leave home because his stepfather was being violent towards him. He needed to be safe and Weave we were able to help arrange for a friend’s mum to become his guardian.

Luke had no ID and no income so we helped him get a birth certificate, Medicare card, Tax File Number and bank account. Then he was able to get Youth Allowance. We also talked a lot about the past and he was able to feel heard.

Because of the troubles at home Luke had stopped going to school. He was eager to continue his education but he had fallen behind academically. He attended our one-on-one tutoring program for a year and he became more confident in his ability to finish the assignments provided. Luke returned to school and completed Year Ten. Luke loved animals so we encouraged him to pursue a career that he would be passionate about. Luke enrolled in Animal Studies at TAFE NSW and is excited to start the course and looking forward to a positive outcome.

Gina

When Gina first had her baby she felt very alone — “I think I had post-natal depression but didn’t know it.” Gina’s friend Sarah was going to the Young Mothers Group at Weave’s Women & Children’s Centre, and one day she tagged along. It was a chance to meet other young mums and talk about our problems and the good times.

Our team at the Centre helped Gina to find housing and were there to help her through the tough times. I had counselling too and, at first, I was scared, as I’d never done that before. I thought it was just for people who were really messed up but it helped me to talk to someone and get things clear in my head.

When Gina had her second baby she found it tough to keep her cool with a newborn and a two-year-old. Gina took our Triple P Parenting Course, which she said really helped her to set the ground rules and use appropriate discipline.

My two beautiful kids are now at school and I have achieved so much over the last seven years. I’ve got a part time job doing something I love and have managed to get my driver’s license and my own car. Sometimes I can’t believe I’ve come so far from that unhappy and unconfident young mum.

– Gina

Nathan

Nathan is a young boy who was involved in a Healing Foundation film project, designed to explore what it means to be Aboriginal. On his very first day at Kool Kids Club, it became apparent that he had significant behavioural issues, finding it extremely difficult to involve himself in discussions. The same issues were reported by his school.

Over the coming weeks of the program, Nathan started to develop cultural knowledge about his community, his totem and ancestors. What started to emerge was a sense of pride and soon enough, his challenging behavior reduced.

As time passed, Nathan became extremely focused and involved in every task. He played a lead character in the film and became extremely determined to do a good job. Each week after the project, Nathan went home and talked about his experiences with his family and particular his grandmother who is an elder within the community.

His grandmother was so proud of his new attitude and of the work of the project, she also played a role in the film. This act alone was a truly remarkable display of the impact of this program.

Tanya

Tanya is a 24-year-old female client of Aboriginal and Indian cultural background who self-referred to Weave in 2014. Through weekly counselling with Weave’s Speak Out Dual Diagnosis Program, Tanya developed strategies to better manage the effects of a complex childhood and adult trauma. Through counselling, Tanya begun to identify healthy and unhealthy relationships in her life, while rebuilding her self-worth and self esteem. Tanya had used cannabis to self medicate since being a teenager, and her use significantly reduced.

Since Tanya engaged with Weave, she has enrolled in an online Diploma of Community Services and became a youth advocate through Weave’s Survival Tips program.

Empowering People to Change Their Lives

For over 40 years Weave has provided a way up and a way forward for children, young people, women, families and communities.

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