Everyone has unique ways of cultivating resilience – the ability to recover from a setback or adjust to life after adversity. Resilience after financial loss can look different to practicing self-care when a loved one is unwell or recouping after a relationship breakdown.

Mission Australia’s frontline staff work with people across the country who demonstrate physical, mental, social or emotional resilience every day. Some are recovering from unexpected injuries, mental health breakdowns, housing instability or relationship strife. With support from our services, people like Sharlene are moving towards independence. 

New beginnings: Sharlene’s story

At 42 years, Sharlene is excited to be starting a new chapter of life.

Raised in Western Sydney, Sharlene and her daughter have been living at a Mission Australia housing unit for five months.

Before the daughter-mother duo moved in, Sharlene got to work repainting the walls, installing new blinds and decorating her daughter’s bedroom. Anything to make a house a home.

“My daughter loves coming home. She loves being at home. She doesn't want to be anywhere else. She loves her bedroom and she’ll play in there for hours,” says Sharlene.

“It’s very different to what she’s used to.”

Sharlene at Mission Australia

Sharlene’s home life with a toxic partner was once starkly different.

“I’ve always worked or maintained private rentals, but I was in a toxic relationship, and I was forced to leave my job,” she says. “When I left my job, I became homeless within 12 months, unable to afford rent.”

Faced with one setback after another, Sharlene’s emotional and mental wellbeing plummeted.

“At that time, I lost my brother and my mom within a couple of months of each other so mentally I wasn’t doing well.”

Sharlene persevered and did everything she could to maintain a hopeful outlook on life. She connected with a Mission Australia caseworker who helped find her family secure stable and safe accommodation.

"Home is a place where I can be with my family and my friends and feel safe.” - Sharlene

“I come from a background where I didn’t have a safe environment as a child. So being in that safe, loving environment is what home is about,” she says.

“I didn't even know this sort of support was available and it needs to be more out there so that people know to come and ask for that help.”

Moving into the unit propelled Sharlene forward, allowing her to pursue opportunities to study. She connected with Julie-Anne from Mission Australia who continued to guide and cheer her on.

Sharlene and MA worker

"I just needed someone to believe in me when I couldn't believe in myself at that point and having Julie-Anne was the push, guidance and support that gave me the confidence to say, ‘yep, I can do this.’”

Sharlene is currently pursuing further study in the community sector.

“I want to help people just like me to find their light at the end of their dark tunnel.”

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