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There is no doubt that we are living in challenging times for the whole community. For young people who live life on the margins, things were already tough, and now they are getting even tougher. It’s hard to fathom.

The economic recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will inevitably be slow and difficult. The Prime Minister says it could take years. In the midst of all the challenges ahead of us, we can take heart that together as the Concern Australia family we already make a difference for these young people, and will continue to be beacons of hope if we stick by them.

Despite the ongoing challenges navigating the current pandemic, we continue to support at-risk and disadvantaged young people across our life-changing programs spanning Education, Housing & Homelessness, and Justice. This year it has been critical to continue to provide assistance to these young people which is why your support is more important than ever.

What better time to donate than the end of the financial year? All donations over $2 are tax deductible. You’ll make a direct difference to at-risk young people, and get a tax deduction too.

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Let us introduce you to some amazingly resilient young people who are impacted by your giving.

Renee*is a resilient teenager who has lived in six different homes since she was a young girl. When her dad went to jail, her mum frequently left Renee to fend for herself for up to a week at a time. Moving from house to house meant no consistent relationships that could bring stability to her life. Over the past few years she has found this stability through the support provided by our Youth Workers. Now Renee is living in one of our Inside Out houses, full of potential and preparing for life as an independent adult, supported by our Youth Worker Rebecca Taggart.

“Bec’s always been there for me,” Renee said. “There’s never been a time she’s said ‘no’. Even on weekends, she’ll see if I’m OK. I’ll definitely be staying in touch with her after I leave the program.”

Crystal*is a young woman who was neglected and abused by her heroin-addicted mother as an infant and placed in foster care when she was 6 months old. Our Steps Outreach team met Crystal when she was 17 and sleeping rough on the streets. Over the years the Steps team has walked with Crystal, helping her find accommodation, work through her substance use issues, manage her mental health challenges and patiently encouraging her through relapses.

Now Crystal is in stable accommodation, has completed an online course and is looking for work. The COVID-19 crisis has had a big impact on her. It could have caused another relapse, but support from the Steps team has helped her through it. This is the difference your support makes.

“Thank you so much for never giving up on me,” Crystal said. “It has really helped my anxiety talking to you and having food delivered when I was too scared to go out because of the virus. I don’t know what I would do without you.”

Find out more about Crystal’s story

Mason is a young man who successfully graduated from Hand Brake Turn last year. His school referred him to Hand Brake Turn because he was disengaged and experiencing mental health challenges that led to violence and anger management issues. Our trainers and youth workers supported Mason as he worked through these challenges and developed his automotive skills to the point where he was able to secure work experience one day a week at a local workshop. With support and guidance we watched Mason change from a person who would lash out in anger and emotion to an enthusiastic young man with goals to become a motor mechanic. After graduating from the Hand Brake Turn course, he secured an apprenticeship at the workshop where he had been doing work experience. We have high hopes for Mason, and now he does too.

Find out more about Mason’s story.

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These are young people who were already struggling to find hope for their future, painfully aware that they are often the last people to get the help they need. Now with the economy on life support, they’re looking at an even more despairing situation and asking themselves questions like:

How will I live by myself as an adult when I turn 18 and the Government won’t support me anymore?

 How will I ever get a job?

 Will I ever get off the street and sleep in a real bed?

And they’re right. Life can be brutal, ESPECIALLY in times of economic and social uncertainty, and the young people we support are the ones who are at greatest risk of falling through the cracks right now.

But together we can answer those questions and give them hope for the future. It won’t be a quick fix. Supporting them takes an ongoing, committed community effort. It’s why THIS END OF FINANCIAL YEAR APPEAL MATTERS. Your generous gift this year will make an enormous difference to people like Renee, Crystal and Mason. It means so much.

With more people out of work and slipping into poverty and homelessness, the numbers of young people like Renee, Crystal and Mason who need your help are increasing. There’s more we would like to do. So many more young people we want to help. We need your support to do it.

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We don’t just help these young people. We journey alongside them, letting them know they ARE important, that people DO CARE and that they are VALUED. They will not be cast aside.

“I don’t feel like another kid in the system,” Renee said.

This is what it’s all about – letting these young people know that they are loved, valued and beautiful – walking the long journey with them to a brighter, more fulfilling future.

Can you walk that long journey with these young people too and give them hope for the future?

This year, would you consider becoming a regular giver to support these young people over the long-term?

If you are already a regular giver, could you consider increasing the amount that you give?

We are so grateful for the generous donation you provide each year, and would be grateful for that generosity again this year.

We know you have your own needs and budget to consider, especially after the impacts of COVID-19. But if you can, regular giving ensures that we can plan for how we support these young people over the long term, and that they can be sure we’ll be right there with them in the future.

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