Those supporters who attended last year’s Virtual Sleep Under the Stars Event may remember the inspirational Sonah, who shared her story with us.
Sonah was a Stepping Stone House resident from 2015 to 2017 and following her graduation is now an active member of the SSH Aftercare Program, which remains connected with young people after they have transitioned to independence and live in their own private rental.
In her time before SSH, Sonah describes herself as a confused young woman, who had no idea where her life was heading. She had no plans, goals, or ideas about what she wanted to do with her life. She was couch surfing from age 16, and had no genuine connections, and was exposed to drugs and other activities beyond her control.
Sonah says her life only became stable once she arrived at Stepping Stone House, as she found a place to call home.
The team made certain that she was living in a safe environment, surrounded by staff and other young people with whom she was able to build meaningful and therapeutic connections. She was given the opportunity to speak at the 2016 Sleep Under the Stars Event, sharing her aspiration to work in Event Management with the community of supporters gathered under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Afterwards, Angus Kennard from Kennards Hire Foundation approached Sonah and offered to fund her Events Management course.
After two years in the SSH houses, Sonah graduated to the Aftercare Program and moved to Canberra as a resilient and ambitious young woman who had clear goals and a genuine support network. She secured a contract with the ACT Government within months of moving to Canberra, which resulted in permanent employment one year later. Having completed the course that Kennards Hire Foundation had funded, she also registered her own Events Management company and made additional income managing her own events, often working 7 days a week.
Last year, Sonah secured a promotion within the ACT Government Medical Admin Department, and she lives in a beautiful Canberra apartment with her best friend. They never go without basic essentials, and Sonah says her savings are growing and she intends to purchase an investment property soon. In recent years Sonah has reconnected with her biological mother who lives in Libera, and she maintains close connections with the staff members who supported her during her time at Stepping Stone House.
We can help more youth in this way, with consistency and warmth, providing them with a safe home to rebuild their lives.