An inspiring determination to succeed

Samaritans CEO

I recently had the pleasure of attending the annual Bean Counters Ball, a fundraising event that raises money to support youth and education in our region, including Samaritans Student Accommodation.

One of the highlights of the evening was the privilege to hear from Natalia, a young person supported by Samaritans Student Accommodation.   Natalia spent much of her childhood in and out of family refuges as well as with foster carers.  She took on adult responsibilities such as a cooking, grocery shopping and cleaning from a young age.  As she recalls, she didn’t know any different and thought that life was normal.  In her early teens Natalia experienced no sense of permanency or home as she often couch surfed at her friends’ houses.  Natalia was one of the 26,000 young Australians who experiences homelessness in Australia each year.

Despite experiencing adversity, Natalia has never lost sight of her goals to study hard and go to University.  At age 15 Natalia joined Samaritans Student Accommodation, offering supported accommodation and mentoring to support Natalia to reach her dreams and most importantly have a bed to sleep in and a place to call home.  Now Natalia is thriving – she has a casual job, has recently been elected as a House Captain and is studying hard to graduate school and work in the medical field.

So often young people like Natalia, who are not given the best opportunity and start in life, fall through the cracks.  However, with Natalia’s inspiring determination to succeed and the support of Samaritans, she has truly turned her life around.

Fundraising events such as the Bean Counters Ball are invaluable in raising funds to continue our programs such as Samaritans Student Accommodation, which would otherwise receive no funding.  Since it was established in 2011, the Ball has raised more than $120,000.  As one of the main charity partners of the event, Samaritans is the grateful recipient of half of the funds raised, along with Hunter TAFE Foundation.  Thank you to all who are involved in this wonderful event and joined in the occasion.