Ella, a teen with a heart of gold and the promise of a bright future has found herself homeless…
Ella's parents divorced when she was very young. Her dad, Aaron, remarried soon after and didn't have much to do with Ella. Ella's mum, Hannah, had no living relatives and raised Ella on her own.
Ella was a sweet, kind and gentle girl and was always the first to help others. It was no surprise to anyone that she always wanted to become a social worker so she could continue to make the lives of other people better. Growing up, times were not always easy, both financially and emotionally for Hannah. However, Ella was the centre of her world and she did everything she could to give Ella a full and happy childhood.
When Ella was just 14 years old, her mum found a lump on her breast. Further testing showed that the cancer was malignant and had spread. The prognosis was not good.
Having no other family, Hannah reached out to Aaron to make sure he would take Ella in when the time came. Ella and her dad did not have much of a relationship and she found it hard to forgive him for showing so little interest in her life.
When Hannah passed away two years after diagnosis, Ella was distraught. Although she knew this day was coming, she felt completely lost. Now, 16 years old, her life as she knew it would never be the same.
Having no other choice, Ella moved in with her dad and step mum. At first, they all tried hard to get along. However, Aaron's second marriage had begun to break down and Aaron blamed Ella.
Ella and Aaron began to argue over the slightest things. The tension escalated with each argument. After one extremely heated argument, Aaron instructed Ella to pack her bags and leave the house. As Ella had just finished VCE and enrolled into university, he felt she was now old enough to fend for herself.
He shut the door on her. And in that moment, Ella found herself homeless.
Stunned and completely shaken, Ella managed to make her way to her best friend Jackie's house. Jackie's mum said she will never forget the day she opened the door to find Ella standing in front of her sobbing and holding one small suitcase and a duffel bag.
Knowing that Ella could not stay with them forever, Jackie's mum suggested she contact Jewish Care. Not knowing where else to turn, young Ella bravely made the call.
Ella met with a social worker at Jewish Care who helped her every step of the way, personally taking her to Centrelink to establish what her options were in terms of the support she could get.
The next step was to find Ella a safe place to stay. Fortunately, there was a vacancy in Jewish Care's transitional housing units and Ella was able to move in immediately.
Jewish Care helped provide Ella with the basics such as a fridge and second hand furniture as well as an initial pantry pack.
Additionally, Ella was awarded a scholarship designed to help someone who wanted to attend university but in doing so, would be unable to meet their living expenses. The scholarship money allowed Ella to pursue her lifelong aspiration of becoming a social worker by enabling her to purchase a laptop, textbooks, Myki card for transport to and from university, as well as pay for her utility bills.
A few weeks after moving into her new home, Jewish Care's Employment Centre assisted Ella in drawing up a resume and helped her to find a part time job. This helped her further in meeting her expenses.
What started as a major life crisis for Ella had now been turned around. Without Jewish Care, Ella's trajectory would have been very different.
A year on, Ella has settled well into her new home and she is excelling in her studies. She says,
“I hope to give back to this amazing organisation so that other people like me can be given the hope of a brighter future. We are so lucky to have Jewish Care to turn to.”
Ella is just one of many in our community who need support. Whether assistance is needed for housing, employment, financial aid, financial counselling, disability or any other vital service, Jewish Care is here for our community every day.
Like Ella, there are many people who still need our help. As the caring and giving community that we are, we need to stand together to help each other, which is why I am asking you to please give generously to Jewish Care's 2020 Crisis Appeal.
For the past 171 years, Jewish Care has been providing support to those in need in our community. This year, we need to raise $5.0 million to fund the many vital services that our people in our community, like Ella rely upon.
Please take a moment to click any of the yellow donation buttons on this page to change a lifetime today!
Whatever your gift, you can be certain that it will make a difference!