This week Katie Jones celebrated the final week of the Walk to Empowerment, a fundraiser to support children and young people in Foster Care.
The 19-year-old, a Better Futures Barwon participant at Meli, spent her latter teenage years in Foster Care. She walked every day this month to raise awareness for the children and young people in care and to raise money to support them.
Her passion and determination was celebrated at an event at Meli with a room full of supporters, including friends, Meli staff who have helped along the way, Department of Families, Fairness and Housing representatives, Meli executives and Meli CEO Grant Boyd.
Katie spoke about what this experience meant to her and each person who attended took home an affirmation card with a quote that resonated with Katie: “I will be the voice for others that I needed for myself.”
Better Futures Barwon provides flexible and tailored support to young people as they transition from care to adulthood, and may include access to housing, support from a key development worker, and support with developing independent living skills.
“I feel like I’m finding my voice and Better Futures has helped me to do that… thank you for showing me that my voice does matter,” Katie said.
The fundraiser has raised more than $4000 for the Meli Foster a Future fund. A special thank you to Turosi Giving for contributing $2000 to the fundraiser.
Katie is now studying her Certificate 4 in Community Services, in the hope to get into youth work.
“I believe I can use my passion to make a difference on a daily basis,” she said.
Katie hopes to also make the Walk to Empower Project an annual event, so she can continue supporting children and young people in care.
She admitted that this process organising a fundraiser to help others really helped her find empowerment in herself.
“I’m no longer surviving, but on my way to thriving.”
Find out more about Better Futures here.