Shannon Thorne, senior manager for social inclusion at Marist180, says he is proud every single day of the work done by the Blacktown-based charity.
He oversees several programs aimed at meeting the needs of at-risk young people with dedicated staff going above and beyond to make sure that no one is left behind.
“Life is hard even for the most successful people, but when you get to really challenge yourself and help the most disadvantaged people and you see outcomes which seem little to us but they’re massive to the individual, that’s what makes me proud, is just being able to help,” he said.
“The children and young people we serve present with homelessness, mental health issues, with addictions. And they’re very vulnerable in terms of opening up and trusting people, but within weeks of us getting them into a safe and stable place they open up and allow us to get specialised people to help them.
“Once they are meeting their goals, and depending on their age and criteria, they can then go onto semi-independent, stable accommodation for years to come.
“I grew up with the most beautiful parents who had foster children all my life. I’m a proud father myself and the fact that I can contribute to the community, in particular the more vulnerable communities, makes me proud every day.”
Marist180 provides out of home care for children and teenagers, homeless services, education, vocational training and employment programs, an unaccompanied humanitarian minors program (supporting unaccompanied minors who are refugees), and more.
It also has a special commitment to ensuring at-risk Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander young people are supported with education, apprenticeships and accommodation if needed.
“All of our staff are passionate, they all care and we all just work together to achieve outcomes for each individual,” Mr Thorne said. “There’s no selfishness. We have this mentality where it’s one team one dream and we will just rise together and we fall together.”
This December it is running A Marist Noel, with a goal of raising $50,000 to provide gifts for each child living in residential care, for whom Christmas is a difficult, challenging reminder that they are disconnected from their own family.
To donate visit amaristnoel.com