Aiden is a youth worker, dedicating his life to supporting young people who have experienced homelessness to find pathways toward safe and stable accommodation. He currently works between Samaritans Youth Accommodations in Newcastle and Maitland.
In his second year of a Social Work degree at the University of Newcastle, Aiden says that the experience he has gained across the youth refuges has been invaluable toward informing his career direction.
“I completed an apprenticeship through TAFE and realised that I wanted more for myself. I completed a bridging program to study at the University of Newcastle and started a Bachelor of Arts but wanted to help people more practically and make a difference, so I transferred into the Social Work program. I wanted to see my own personal experience empower and help others,” Aiden said.
As a 16 year old, Aiden had experienced more than most young people his age.
Aiden was couch surfing with friends after finding it unsuitable to continue living at home with family.
“I stayed at both the Maitland and Newcastle refuges when I was facing my own crises. I was then one of the first residents to gain a place at Samaritans Student Accommodation service when it opened. That was a life-changing experience for me – to slowly find my feet, have my own place and adjust to life as an independent teen.” Aiden said.
Aiden stayed at Samaritans Student Accommodation for 3 years during which time he progressed through his TAFE qualifications and decide to move onto shared accommodation and complete his apprenticeship.
Aiden says that having lived experienced has its positives but also its challenges.
“My personal experiences definitely make it easier to empathise with the young people I support- to really understand how it feels to be young with nowhere to go and to have to develop incredible independence and resilience. Sometimes having been there yourself can also make the work challenging because understanding the experience can hit home of how difficult it can be.” Aiden said.
“I know the support I was given at the time helped me to find the change that I wanted in my life. I hope through my experiences I can help others to find a positive pathway in their life too, and I greatly appreciate the opportunity Samaritans has given me to do so” Aiden said.