SIL clients learn to be more than they are

Designed by CatholicCare Social Services for its Supported Independent Living Program (SIL) participants, the recent Personal Growth Series focused on teaching important life skills to young people. Indeed, such life skills were readily imparted in presentations with some of Australia’s most sought after leaders, including Paralympian Kurt Fearnley, “Biggest Loser” trainer Shannan Ponton and finance guru, Peter Thornhill.

“We want to empower the young people we support to live fulfilling lives in an adult world,” Director of CatholicCare, Helga Smit, said, “The Personal Growth Series is one way we are helping them achieve this.”

SIL, a program offered to 16-18 year-olds who have previously lived in Out of Home Care, aims to help young adults transition into adulthood by providing them with guidance on matters including basic housekeeping, finances, health, education and employment.

“Many of the young people we support have had a difficult start in life, and it’s important they are given guidance to achieve success and not let the card they have been dealt define who they become,” Ms Smit said. 

“The presenters in the Personal Growth Series are at the top of their respective fields, and learning how they continued to strive for success in times of adversity was a valuable educational experience.”

Kurt Fearnley began the series by sharing his own motivational tale, captivating participants as he detailed how he crawled the Kokoda Track, claimed victory at consecutive Paralympics and was part of the winning crew in the 2012 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. His message for the participants was a simple concept, but one he has said took discipline to master.

“I am someone who will never stop. Someone who will never ever give up. Ever,” Kurt said.

There was no denying his effect on the crowd with one participant, Will, revealing, “Kurt showed us how to stay positive…I feel like he is a real hero.”

Beyond personal goals, participants were also guided on how to set and manage financial budgets, when principal of Motivated Money, Peter Thornhill, presented. With over 45 years experience in the financial services industry, he imparted two overriding messages: don’t spend more than you earn, don’t borrow more than you can afford.  

“The speakers were incredible and really opened my eyes to what else is out there, and what I can achieve,” said SIL participant, Jessa. “They showed us we can be more than we are now.”

The series culminated with a presentation from “Biggest Loser” trainer Shannan Ponton, which focused on the importance of health and mental wellbeing, and was followed by a fun fitness session on Merewether beach.

“CatholicCare wants those in the SIL program to successfully engage in the community and we work with them continually to help them achieve this. We thank the presenters for sharing their personal journey with the people we support and for the positive impact this has already had on their lives,” Ms Smit said.

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Maddie Bradford Image
Maddie Bradford

Maddie assists with CatholicCare Communications.

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