Christmas can be a lonely time without a place to call home, a fact Mikaela knows well.
When she was a teenager, a strained family relationship forced her to leave home. “It was pretty dark at that moment. I wasn’t sure where I was going go, what I was going do. One of my friends let me stay at their house for a few months … (but) I didn’t feel comfortable living there so I decided to move on.”
Mikaela moved four times over the next four years, including a couple of stints in transitional housing. The years of instability, and living in places that were often dangerous, affected her already delicate mental health. “I did attempt to overdose a number of times. It was really rough. It was scary … I felt threatened and uncomfortable and I didn’t want to be there.”
But then she heard about our Night Café in Brisbane. Our café staff and volunteers offered her safety, comfort and friendship, and for Mikaela it was more like a home than some of the places she slept.
With a safe place to go and people who believed in her, Mikaela was able to make some big changes to her life. In fact she now has a job as one of our youth workers, and has a home, car and cat. “I do genuinely feel content most days. I feel like I have found my life meaning and why I want to be here and what I want to do.”
And she loves her job. “Some of the young people who are going through a lot just need someone who will genuinely listen.”
These days Mikaela helps give others a sense of belonging. “There’s one young person that I see quite often, and I helped them pick out an outfit and style it. Everyone was complimenting them, and it was something that I felt picked up their day.”
Thank you for your generous support this year. Here’s some of what you have helped us achieve in 2018:
- 6,000+ hot meals served up to young people at Night Cafe
- More than one million phone calls to elderly people living alone
- 40,000 home visits to people experiencing isolation and loneliness
- There for Australians through 48 major disasters
People can do amazing things when they feel like they belong. Make a special donation this festive season and you’ll be giving the gift of belonging to someone who feels alone.