Success Stories - Children & Youth
Alex: Music Provides Expression, Excitement and Escape
When 11-year-old Alex* first came to The Voice Project, he was anxious and had trouble maintaining focus.
The Voice Project was designed to give the children of families in CatholicCare’s Placement, Preservation and Restoration programs a safe and supportive space to develop their own voice, build positive relationships with adults and their peers, and learn to express their thoughts and emotions through music.
In the 12 months before joining The Voice Project, Alex had experienced severe anxiety, domestic violence, and death threats against his parents who both had a mental illness. As a result Alex was quiet, reserved and often fearful.
CatholicCare’s Luke Edwards, a musician and Coordinator of The Bridge Community Services program, who developed the program, helped guide the Alex and the other children through the process of writing songs.
As the workshops continued Alex’s confidence and self-esteem began to increase. He was able to remain calm and focused as he expressed himself through music and songwriting.
All of the children were tasked with writing their own song and Alex chose to pen a love song about a girl in his primary school class. After recording it using an Apple iPad, Alex presented his song to the rest of the group at the end of year performance.
Alex and all of the children who participated in the program were provided with an iPad by the program to continue creating and recording music at home, and sharing it with their parents and siblings.
Through The Voice Project, Alex has learned to express himself without fear, developed new social and artistic skills and gained new confidence. He now sees Luke for individual counselling, which is an extension of the project and allows children in the group to build on the therapeutic groundwork established during the workshops.
Read more about the Placement, Preservation and Restoration programs.
Rob and Mary: 40 Years, 83 Kids…and Still Room in Their Hearts for More
When CatholicCare Sydney foster carers Rob and Mary Rimoldi opened their hearts to their first foster children in 1973, they had no idea that 40 years later they would still be welcoming children in need into their care.
Since first opening their home to foster children, the Rimoldis have cared for more than 80 babies, children and young people.
All children need love, security and care to thrive and the Rimoldis have provided it in abundance. In return, they have received more joy and love than they could ever measure.
Many of the children the Rimoldis have cared for have had physical or intellectual disability. Among the earliest foster children were sisters Kylie and Melanie, aged 15 months and six years, who both had the same severe – and terminal – degenerative disease.
Melanie’s high-level needs in particular, and the importance of caring for her in a stable family environment, inspired Mary to work alongside CatholicCare to establish Melanie’s Program, a long-term foster care program for children with moderate to severe physical or intellectual disabilities.
The Rimoldis have also cared for young children from many different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.
In 1992, Mary was awarded with a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) and in 2005 she was named NSW Woman of the Year for her long-term foster care work for CatholicCare. She says the thing she loves most about being a foster mother is helping children to develop into happy and healthy people.
The love, care and security that foster carers provide can have an impact in children’s lives that lasts long after they leave their foster parents’ care and mature into adulthood, and the Rimoldi family have retained close relationships with many of their foster children and their adoptive families.
One young girl the Rimoldis fostered for just six weeks is now in her thirties and godmother to one of the Rimoldi grandchildren. Another baby the couple cared for was a flower girl at their daughter’s wedding.
Rob and Mary Rimoldi are a shining example of the caring, compassionate and generous people who help to nurture babies and children through the Foster Care program.
Read more about the Foster Care program.
Shenay: ALIVE and Thriving
When Shenay* was 17 years old she was homeless and only owned a few items of clothing upon referral to the ALIVE (Adolescents Living Independently Via Empowerment) programs. Shenay struggled with stress, anger and violence as well as mental health issues. Her reputation for poor behaviour meant she was not welcome to reside in crisis youth refuges.
Shenay’s goal was to live independently and she dreamt of improving her education and finding a job.
ALIVE worked holistically with Shenay by providing accommodation and financial support to help her establish her home. ALIVE continued working with Shenay to manage her mental health, behaviour, anger and communication skills.
ALIVE assisted Shenay in building her living skills. She was successful in gaining tenancy with Housing NSW‘s Priority Housing, which she has maintained to this day. After initially struggling with relationships and domestic violence, Shenay has managed to create a new life without violence.
Shenay attends counselling regularly, is completing a TAFE course and has part time employment. She has also completed a Work Development Order which enabled her to pay her State Debt Recovery fines.
Shenay has made new friends through participating in sporting and recreational activities and with the help of the ALIVE programs, has created positive change in her life.
Read more about the ALIVE programs.
*Names have been changed