ALWAYS OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
The names have been changed to protect the identities of the children.
1. Two of the ‘Be an Elf Xmas’ letter donation recipients in 2015 were Kimberley and her brother Jay, who have had a very troubled upbringing. After years of neglect, they were taken in by their grandmother, but when she passed away in a car accident, they then found themselves on the streets. As you can imagine things then began to unravel. Be An Elf, after meeting these children through the ‘Be An Elf Xmas Appeal’ was able to assist them to find a safe home, along with specialised emotional care. We can do wonderful things, but we rely almost entirely on private donations to keep our doors open, and our young people urgently need your help to break the cycle of hopelessness.
2. Be An Elf is making a huge difference, out there in the local communities, along with our donors and volunteers. Take the wonderful case of a little boy called William, for example. Last year, when William was ten; all he dreamed of was potato bake and pork chops, which he put on his Christmas Wish list. A generous elderly lady, who lived alone was moved by his Santa letter, so she baked and froze multiple bags of potato bake for William. She brought it in to our Matchbox Beenleigh Community Centre, just before Christmas and began to unload her car. Unfortunately, the potato bake and pork chops were frozen. We had to tell her that William’s family were living in their car, which was most often found in the local parks, (councils will only permit vehicles to remain in parks for 3 days and then they must move on). She went home and returned with an Esky full of freshly cooked potato bake and chops, with the additional commitment to return every few days with refills. Over the subsequent year William enjoyed many of his favourite potato bake meals and the older lady got to meet William’s family and start a lasting friendship. The payoff is that the family eventually found somewhere to live with our help and are now getting back on their feet. The lovely lady is additionally the newly housed family’s adopted Nanna and an important part of their lives.
3. Two brothers Rhythm and Lyric. They were homeless children. We can use their first names because we have permission and they are a success story in our programs. At the time, we first met them, they had been noticed by the principal and we were alerted. They were living in a car and the parents would spend a great deal of time outside the school. Firstly, they were asked to volunteer at the school canteen. We found out the father had been working and they had lost their house because of an inability to budget and problems with short term money lenders. Example; they lived on takeaway and lived a lifestyle of immediate gratification. Rather than spend time at the park with the kids, if they saw a $ 50 toy they would buy it. They lost everything. They went on to Centrelink. Their church tried to help, but it did not enable them to solve their problems. They would stay at people’s places, but it was a short-term solution that never worked out. We sat down and really talked to them at a Macdonald’s Xmas party and brought them into one of our programs designed to rehabilitate families. They stayed with a seeking family; still had drug issues which they as a sharing family helped because they had a conscience. We worked with them on budgeting and designed a plan that forced them to save and made them place money in an account that they could not immediately access. We worked with them on meal plans; and gave them a cookbook called, “How to feed a family of 4 on a $30-week budget.” They were able to get the rental deposit on a house and for 6 months paid $150 a week. In 6 months, they were back on their feet and they have stayed that way. They have now put a deposit on their own house and actively assist other families in our programs.