Ryan* grew up in foster care. At 18, he found himself with no job, and nowhere to live.

I am a proud Yorta Yorta man. I am now 20 years old. I have been working at Charcoal Lane as a trainee for the past 13-months.

Before I started working at Charcoal Lane, I was homeless.

Growing up as a ward of the state, I felt no-one taught me how to live independently. Once I finished year 12 and left the care of my foster parents, I was alone. It really hits hard and trying to get a job and trying to find a place to rent and do all these things, it was difficult.

I was homeless for about 12-months, until I transitioned into a refuge where I heard about Charcoal Lane.

I ran to the restaurant and asked the support worker if I could become a trainee. They were so nice and said they would love to have me join them. Within a month of going there, I was working at the restaurant.

If it was not for Charcoal Lane, I would be homeless and battling the transition from being a dependent foster kid into independently living on my own.

Growing up, I had no one teaching me or giving me advice. They knew that I was going to be homeless at 18 without a job, but they didn’t do anything to help. The adults around me didn’t realise that their advice could have changed my life.

There needs to be more places like Charcoal Lane for people without a safe place to go when they find themselves in tough situations.

I am lucky that Charcoal Lane exists, but some people are not as lucky.

Thanks to your support, Ryan is enjoying his traineeship at Charcoal Lane and is excited for the future.

Help youth like Ryan by supporting services like Charcoal Lane

Learn more about issues affecting young people in our Youth Survey 2020 report.

Visit Mission Australia’s social enterprise, Charcoal Lane.

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the people we help.

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