Anglicare WA Young
Anglicare WA Young Hearts Program
by Mark Glasson | CEO Anglicare WA
With Christmas around the corner, we’re now approaching the time of year when, sadly, we see the most incidents of family and domestic violence.
It’s the most stressful time of year for families affected by relationship and financial difficulties and alcohol misuse. Anglicare WA is there for these families and children in their greatest time of need. We know that in one in four homes, there is a young life torn apart by family and domestic violence. With the generous support of our community, Counsellors from Anglicare WA’s Young Hearts program are working to stop the cycle of abuse that’s shattered lives for generations.
Let me share a story from one of our Young Hearts Counsellors.
11-year-old Bianca* was too scared to be left in a room on her own. Too frightened to sleep in her own bedroom, or go to sleepovers with friends. Too traumatised to enjoy the simple pleasures of childhood.
Like all children, Bianca just wanted to be loved and cared for. To grow, learn and develop in a safe and nurturing space. Heartbreakingly, all these things are taken from children when violence enters the family home.
If children like Bianca receive counselling early through Young Hearts, they get to work through the traumas they’ve experienced using play and art therapy. Children get the tools to help them build healthy relationships. They also develop the essential skills they need to thrive in the future.
The relationship between Bianca and her mum Lana* had been completely broken. Lana felt she had let Bianca down and she felt helpless:
‘That’s when we were referred to Anglicare WA’s Young Hearts team, and Bianca finally felt safe enough to open up and start talking about her fears and anxieties.
“I don’t know how I can begin to thank Young Hearts. They’ve changed Bianca’s life and ours.’
Young Hearts receives no government funding and so in times of need I turn to kind-hearted people from the Anglican community for support. I don’t want to ever have to tell a mother and daughter like Lana and Bianca that we can’t help them. Not when I know that lives can be changed by our Young Hearts counsellors.
After Bianca’s first few sessions, we were thrilled to hear these words from her mum:
‘Bianca is less angry and behaving more like a normal 11-year-old kid. She’s even started communicating with me. We have a special book to write notes to each other. We place notes on each other’s pillows.’
I’m so proud of the team at Young Hearts. They work so hard and deal with some of the most heart-wrenching accounts of violence and abuse. They give every vulnerable child the time, care and attention they need to feel safe and find the strength to achieve their hopes and dreams.
This Christmas, we invite you, as part of our Anglican Community, to join us in this important work. Please consider contributing to Anglicare WA’s Christmas appeal so we can support children like Bianca, and her family.
Thank you for your support and I wish you much joy and a holy Christmas.
*Names changed to protect privacy.
Published in Messenger, December 2019