A decent income

Paige's story

Paige was lost. Constant abuse by her former partner had eroded her confidence, and her desire to live.
At the time she was only in Year 12, but Paige wanted to retreat from life.  
Even the thought of talking to others was too much for her to bear.
The only thing that got her out of bed was her two young kids.

“I felt like my life was falling apart, and I thought that if I talked about it, I would get in trouble,” explains Paige. “I was going through domestic violence with my kids’ dad. It was really rough for about three months. I was struggling. It was like a volcano that I kept trying to cover up. I really didn’t see a future. Push came to shove. I tried to take my life.”

Centrelink brought Paige to YFS, specifically our ParentsNext service. ParentsNext helps parents of young children get ready to join the workforce when their kids start school. But when our ParentsNext worker Rachel first met Paige, she quickly realised additional support was required.

“I remember crying because I was trying to talk about what was going on in my life, but I didn’t want to share too much,” says Paige. “Rachel advised me to go and see Headspace and from there, it got better.

“They helped me out so much. They talked through things with me. They offered me techniques to deal with depression and domestic violence. The tension cleared, I cut some people off. A lot has changed for me since.”

Paige has since completed a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care, and has secured paid work as a child care educator with Rosie’s Early Learning at Daisy Hill. She is now studying a diploma in the field and when her youngest reaches school age, she plans on enrolling into an early childhood teaching degree.

Paige wants to be a Prep to Year 3 teacher. But before the start of this year, she hadn’t even entertained the thought of going to university.

“When I told Rachel I got a job, I could see she was so excited for me,” she said. “That made me feel proud of what I had achieved and gave me the desire to think about what’s next for me. I can never forget the first time I met Rachel.”

“She listened to me. She gave me the space to go over where I was, and what I wanted to do with my life. She talked with me about my options. She has always asked me “how are you going?” No one else at other organisations took time out to ask me that. It was all business.

“Her approach made me feel so positive. She made me feel like I could get out of my situation, to do more with my life. She never told that I needed to do this, I needed to do that. There was no pressure.

“She outlined what I could do at every stage. This made it seem easier to handle and easier to achieve. I lacked confidence to pick up the phone and make some appointments, and Rachel stepped in when I needed help.

“She became an extra support person, outside my family and outside of my circle of friends. She offered me unbiased advice to help me get out of my situation.”

Paige’s ParentsNext case worker Rachel says Paige is a great example of what the program can achieve.

“When Paige connected with ParentsNext she wasn’t getting help from anywhere,” Rachel said. “We helped her find ways to overcome the barriers that were preventing her from engaging in work or study, and to get the skills she needed to move into work.”