Brooke's story: A second chance at Christmas
In Sydney’s west, a mother of two young children ponders what may have been a very different Christmas if a kindly knock on her front door had not been answered more than a year ago.
Feeling alone and isolated while raising her children, Brooke, now speaks openly and confidently about her journey and the positive impact of SafeCare, a NSW Government pilot program that is part of Wesley Brighter Futures.
Brooke was finding parenting hard, “I felt really alone,” she said. “It was very overwhelming. You just had to wing it and keep it to yourself.”
Her eldest child had special needs and Brooke often felt out of her depth and burdened.
After struggling for a while, she heard a knock on her door. It was Louise Vincin from Wesley Mission.
Louise introduced the SafeCare program to Brooke and she hasn’t looked back.
Brooke said she has grown as a parent, learning “to interact more with her kids” and how to provide specific positive feedback to build her children up.
As SafeCare is an in-home program, it gives parents the confidence to step outside into the community. Knowing that you have the skills and knowledge to manage your children in public builds confidence and well-being.
Brooke believes her children have flourished and their personalities have grown, and she is delighted to be expecting a third child.
Although even her faith was challenged, Louise and others from Wesley Mission helped her through the most difficult moments.
“There were times when I questioned what God was doing and why he was putting you in those situations,” Brooke said. “They say ‘have faith and persevere…’ for me when you’re so consumed by your environment it was hard for me to sit there and say ‘Hey God I’m going to trust you.’
Brooke’s advice to other parents who are struggling is to “be open to God”.
“Allow Him to do what he has to do. For me it was like he was making me into a new person. Sometimes it is ugly, and you have to go along a very dark path to find the light”, she says.
Seven-year-old Rebecca was worried about her mum, Alana.
Alana had previously been diagnosed with breast cancer, and Rebecca was losing sleep not knowing what might happen to her.
Knowing her daughter needed a little extra support through this tough time, Alana agreed to be part of the Wesley Mission Aunties & Uncles program.
Wesley Aunties & Uncles offers children up to 12 years old from disadvantaged homes an extra family environment through ‘aunties’ and ‘uncles’ who invest in their lives and provide mentoring, care, and guidance.
Rebecca and Alana were soon matched with a Helen and Alan, a lovely couple whose “children were off their hands” but who also sought to extend the love to struggling families.
“When Rebecca felt comfortable with us that’s when we had a one on one meeting. It was also important for her to have a positive male figure in her life—Alan,” said Helen
Showing love and kindness were the keys to building trust. Helen also gently shared her faith in Jesus through Bible study and occasional attendance at church.
After talking with Helen, Alana began to see the importance of faith and started taking Rebecca to church.
After more than three years in the Wesley Aunties & Uncles program, Alana and Rebecca feel confident about the future and will graduate from the program later this year.
To find out more or to become an Auntie or Uncle call (02) 9638 2480 or register online at Wesley Aunties & Uncles.