Below is a letter written by Sophie, a young woman from the Riverland region of South Australia. As you’ll read, Sophie has endured an extremely challenging start to life, experiencing severe bullying and mental health issues that led her to drop out of school.
Thankfully, through prayer and professional support, life is beginning to turn around for Sophie. We’ve been fortunate to walk alongside her since February, providing practical help and guidance through our Transition to Work program. The change in her has been profound, and we can’t wait to see where life leads her next.
"My name is Sophie. I’m 19 years old and I live in Paringa, SA. I’ve been living here most of my life. My parents raised me on rock ’n’ roll, so it’s become a huge passion of mine. I also love listening to Japanese music thanks to my mild obsession with anime (a style of Japanese cartoon art), and I listen to Christian music daily because of my faith in Christ. Most of my social life is at my church and bible study, but I also like to go out with my best friend. I have dreamed of becoming a successful author since I was 12 years old and I’m currently working on making that dream a reality; my fictional novel is a work in progress.
I didn’t enjoy school at all. I can only recall one year of my school life where I wasn’t bullied. I was never a happy kid. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, which I struggled with throughout high school. Due to personal reasons, I dropped out of school in the middle of Year 12. I tried my best to maintain an image of a confident and strong person, but really I felt like the opposite.
I wasn’t in a very good head space when I entered Mission Australia’s Transition to Work program. For a while all I did was sleep in until 3pm and watch TV. I wasn’t doing anything with my life. But in saying that, I was working on myself, my health and my mindset. I was seeking professional help for my eating and sleeping issues and I was doing a lot of praying to God. My appointments with Mission Australia helped me a great deal. Having somebody nice to talk to once a week put me in a good mood. The appointments made me feel hopeful about my future.
In May I started doing a business course through Mission Australia. I enjoyed the course and it was nice interacting with people my own age again. I gained knowledge from the course, but the confidence I gained was far more important to me. I started going out more and my life started turning around for the better. It was during this time I started writing my book. I haven’t finished writing a book in a very long time, but I’m determined to finish this one and publish it.
Thanks to Mission Australia I did volunteer work at the Renmark Op Shop for over a month. I’m now looking into doing a creative writing course, and I’m hoping to get a part-time job. I’m happier than I’ve ever been and finally mentally stable. I know that whatever is thrown at me I will be able to handle it. The future is looking bright for me and Mission Australia is one of the reasons why."
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