I had no money and I was thin & hungry and although I was getting assistance from the Government in the form of Austudy, most/all of this went on Uni fees and rent and books. I only did it the once and I was deeply ashamed because I was young and healthy, and studying Psychology at Uni - I mean, how WhiteGirl can you get - how hard can it be, right?
Just get a freaking job already.
But I came from the country and the closest Unis were nowhere near me. My father refused to give me any money as he felt Education should be free and the Govt should support me. A friend's mother signed a Stat Dec so I could receive Austudy so I could go to Uni. That stat dec said I was financially disowned by my family, or something to that effect. My homelife was pretty crap, to tell the truth and school was my respite, but on offical papers, we probably didnt look unusual.
After I left, the family imploded anyway, so it turns out I really was homeless.
The cheapest Uni to study Psychology ( meaning: where I could afford to rent ) was miles away from everywhere - very isolated. You kinda needed money to travel to town to earn money so the two cancelled each other out. Plus the study, right? It's hard to learn and pay all the bills, cook the 2min noodles ( or pretend to eat - I already ate today, oh, im not hungry ) and succeed at life.
So I think after 3yrs living like this I was at rock bottom and accepted a voucher and bought all the food ( I remember buying No-Name Honey Tiny Teddies with my voucher - a huge splurge! - and feeling like i'd won the lottery ). At the cash register the check out chick acepted my voucher and said "this cant be used for cigarettes or alcohol" and I said "I know", but there was none in my trolley.. it really was just food & neccessities - basics - calculated carefully to marry with the amount on the voucher with nary a cent over or under, but she felt the need to let me know anyway - and everyone else in the queue. That was nice.
In my life i've worked really hard - in fact, I really do love to be productive and work - work is distracting and if you do well, people say nice things, so as a result, and via avenues of good luck and fortune along the way, i've done ok. The road has been long, hard, and I never want to be hungry again ( I think I work so hard as it absolutely terrifies me, to be honest - what the young can endure is far more than these old bones today! )
I've been involved with charities in the past, donating time or money, but we just had our WorldVision child move on in life after 14yrs in sponsorship, and I declined taking on another.
So i've been looking for something else and i've been moved by the Smith Family's support of disadvantaged kids in Australia getting educational resources and support and it's really resonated with me, and especially from my work within the early childhood learning network, it feels like a good fit.
So today, rather than sponsor a child directly, i'm going to be directing a monthly percentage of all Little Big Adventures profits to giving all Australian kids a good go at life and education and normalcy and hopefully seeing a future beyond what's in front of them now. I've tried to explain to my own kids - if they need new pencils, new shoes, $5 or want to go on an excursion - we can do that for them, but many kids just learn not to ask, not to bother their parents. They retreat, develop bravado methods to cope ( I don't care anyway, who wants to go on a stupid excursion anyway?! ) or just make themselves as small and unnoticeable as possible. If no-one asks them about their feelings, then those feelings don't exist, right?
I'm feeling really good about finding a fit that makes my heart sing.
If you'd like to do a little bit of good too, you can look here and see if there's something that takes your fancy: https://charity-gifts.thesmithfamily.com.au/support-a-childs-learning
I'm hoping maybe with the new website ( yes, I know, it's next year now, all the things! ) I can automatically make it a visual thing where you can see your kinder order adding a little sparkle out there in the world .. we shall see..
but Today, I am happy.