For Them

3 April 2023

FOR THEM

For Murray Bridge resident Shohan, becoming a carer had always been in the cards. Growing up in a tight-knit family, she quickly developed a natural affinity with children.

“Even as a child myself, I was always offering to take care of the other kids in my family. My mum said I started doing it when I was only three,” she said. “As I grew older and my friends started having children, I would also offer to take care of them.”

Shohan, who has a 19-year-old biological son, opened her heart to a little girl after meeting her through work.

“I was a SSO (Student Services Officer) at a primary school and the principal there had short-term care of a young girl. At nine months old, she was so tiny, she couldn’t even hold her own bottle,” she said. “When they struggled to find her another home, it just broke my heart. So, I decided I’d do it.”

After undergoing the appropriate processes, Shohan took on the young girl’s care.

“It happened so quickly but I knew she needed a home, so I didn’t mind,” she said.

“She is the most beautiful little girl. My whole life has changed.”

Three years on, Shohan now also cares for the little girl’s sibling – a one-year-old boy. Supported by Junction, her family and community, Shohan has enjoyed every moment of her journey.

“I have never once regretted it. There are challenges for sure. Recognising they have trauma and dealing with the emotional side is always difficult,” she said. “But it’s been amazing seeing them grow, seeing them smile, hearing their laughter. Just knowing they’re happy and safe.”

Now three-years-old, the little girl has grown to become brighter and more curious than ever.

“When I first got her, they said she wouldn’t walk, wouldn’t talk, wouldn’t do anything. She has since proved all the doctors wrong,” Shohan said. “If she was left in the environment she could have been left in, she may not have hit her milestones.”

She hopes both children will grow to live their lives to the fullest.

“No child chooses to be born into a bad situation. I don’t want them to feel that they’re disprivileged because they were in foster care,” she said.

“At the end of the day, you’re doing it all for them.”

If you have ever thought about becoming a foster carer, visit our Foster Care page for more details and to get in touch:

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A New View for Veronica

19 April 2023

A NEW VIEW FOR VERONICA

Veronica in her garden.

Filling up a glass of fresh water or using the bathroom is something many of us do without thought. But for Veronica, who lives in the inner-south, this is something she will never take for granted.

Growing up in the Fleurieu, Veronica’s hardships began at an early age.

“I was without parental figures from the age of 9. My father passed away then, and I didn’t have anyone else,” Veronica said.

By her late teen years, Veronica was living in a run-down, mouldy caravan with no access to fresh water or bathroom facilities. Surrounded by an environment of violence and substance abuse, Veronica knew that this was not the life she wanted to live.

“I used to stress a lot about where I could go to the toilet next, wash my clothes, get fresh water or refrigerate food.”

Despite being homeless, Veronica persevered through Year 12 before seeking help through Junction’s Fleurieu Homelessness Service. In mid-2022, she moved into her own home for the first time.

“Now, I don’t have to worry about any of that,” she said. “Little things that used to stress me out just aren’t a problem anymore.”

Since settling into her new home, Veronica has been able to focus fully on her goals. An aspiring lawyer, she has since found employment and intends to get her first aid certificate and driver’s license before moving forward with any big plans.

“I’m currently just working on becoming financially stable. I’ve never had more than $100 to my name so I’m learning how to manage my bills. I’m learning little things like how to wash dishes because I’ve never had anyone to teach me that,” she said. “I’m learning day-to-day mundane things that other people take for granted.”

Although she has faced many challenges, Veronica attributes her optimism and work-ethic toward her close friend who passed away a few years ago.

“Only after their passing did I want to start living. Not for them, but because I know they wanted me to,” Veronica said. “I think that was the turning point that made me wake up and say ‘hey, I don’t want to live like this anymore’.”

Looking to the future, Veronica dreams of reconnecting with the earth and living sustainably on her own land.

“I am proud of myself but I am also excited to evolve more. I am trying to focus on the future rather than where I am right now,” she said.

“I know where I am right now isn’t where I want to be, but it is where I can begin to move on.”

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A First for Everything

12 April 2023

A FIRST FOR EVERYTHING

Anthony in his home.

For 24-year-old Anthony, a once distant goal of home ownership has recently become a reality.

Anthony, who works in insurance, had always seen himself breaking into the property market further down the line. However, when a two-bedroom apartment became available at Junction’s Camden Park development, he jumped at the opportunity.

“I’d thought about buying a home before, but not with any serious consideration. When I saw this opportunity, I thought it could be my best chance to get onto the property ladder.”

The $20 million Camden Park development – Junction’s largest to date – comprises 54 architecturally designed townhouses and apartments on Anzac Highway. Of those who purchased a home within the development, many were first homebuyers.

“As a first homebuyer, I did get a little bit overwhelmed once everything started to kick in,” Anthony said. “But everything was explained to me clearly. Over the course of the journey, I started to understand everything there was to buying a home.”

Having previously lived with his parents, Anthony is now enjoying his own space. This, along with the apartment’s modern design, reduced market rate and convenient location helped ‘seal the deal’ for Anthony.

“It’s located half-way between my parent’s home and where I work, with a tram line running from Glenelg to the city. It’s just very convenient,” he said.

Discovering an unexpected community of like-minded peers within the apartment block has also helped Anthony settle.

“They’ve all been super nice, and most are around my age which is really comforting considering the market at the moment,” he said. “I’ve already had nice notes passed in the letter boxes. It’s as much of a community as it could be.”

Also a musician, Anthony is currently converting his spare room into a personal music studio.

“Music has always been a massive part of my life so just having the space for it helps so much,” he said. “I’m looking forward to being creative in that home studio, and just sort of build my music career.”

“It’s a hobby right now, but I’m hoping that the dream can become reality.”

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Creative Culture

17 January 2023

CREATIVE CULTURE

Telling stories through vibrant colours and intricate designs is not only therapy for Phyllis, a proud Ngarrindjeri woman from the Fleurieu Peninsula, but also a way of preserving her culture for future generations.

As a teen, Phyllis found her passion for art and went on to complete four years of art school through Tauondi Aboriginal Community College. There, she nurtured her skills and embraced her culture.

“I’m just drawn to art,” Phyllis said. “I was a child who always had a pen and would be doodling. I just love it, it’s my therapy.”

In 1998, Phyllis experienced a car accident that resulted in serious injuries to her neck, back and shoulder. It took her years to get back on her feet but rediscovering her passion for painting helped with her recovery.

"Painting helps me with pain. It helps me to keep my mind off things and it helps me to keep focused. This is my escape."

That said, Phyllis’ creativity isn’t limited to canvas. She is also a talented seamstress, sculptor, beader and crocheter. She learned many of these skills from her mother.

Phyllis has turned her spare bedroom into an artistic sanctuary – full of artworks in progress. Whenever she is experiencing pain or trauma, she finds comfort in playing music and shutting the studio door to the outside world.

“I’m not tidy, I come out with paint in my hair,” she said. “Sometimes I will be in here until 5am. It’s easy to lose track of time when you enjoy what you’re doing.”

Now, more than ever, Phyllis is determined to share her culture with her six grandchildren. In addition to her art, she has also been tasked with designing the family cookbook to share and preserve traditional recipes handed down from her parents.

“It’s really important for me to pass my culture on to my grandchildren. If I don’t pass my culture on, it dies with me.”

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Loud & Proud

22 November 2022

LOUD & PROUD

Lee-Anne has loved singing as long as she can remember. However, after suffering family abuse as a young person, she stopped – and stayed silent for a very long time.

“I loved singing,” she said. “Ever since I was a child. I started when I was three. That got taken away from me because of abuse from a family member and I was too ashamed to sing and dance.”

Almost fifty years later, the grandmother of 21 and great grandmother of 3 has found her voice again as part of a very special group.

Finding Your Voice – Women’s Community Choir brings together 28 women aged between 20 and 70. Delivered through Junction, the Choir, which has been practicing since August, will perform at a concert at the Old Noarlunga Town Hall on Sunday.

The initiative was funded through a grant from the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s Local Drug Action Team. Widespread research shows that women who have experienced domestic violence are more likely to engage in risky and addictive behavior.

“I’m showing off today,” Lee-Anne joked at one of the final practice sessions. “I love being part of this group.

"I feel exhilarated. I feel so happy to be part of women that are survivors. You are very safe here. It’s a safe place."

Safety is something Lee-Anne never takes for granted having fled abuse with no-where to go.

“In 1974 I had to run with my little baby,” she said. “But there was nowhere to run.”

This led to Lee-Anne squatting with some other women in several vacant homes.

“The Housing Trust ended up buying them. That’s when women’s shelters first came out. So, I was part of the pioneer group. I am very proud of that.

“I am passionate about wanting to give back and help other women who have been through similar things. It IS my passion.”

Like many people who have experienced violence and abuse, Lee-Anne’s life journey has been long and winding.

“I’ve been addicted to many substances since I was 8 years old,” she explained. “Because of abuse when I was young, I couldn’t shake them off until just recently.

Lee-Anne, now healthier and happier than she’s ever been, said the choir, and music generally, has been critical to her healing.

“I love Van Morrison,” she said. “He has a song called Brand New Day and it’s about abuse and conquering it. That gives me a lot of feelings of being powerful.

“Freedom. Freedom is my main message. And exhilaration.”

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Playing a Part in Food Relief

15 November 2022

PLAYING A PART IN FOOD RELIEF

The lead up to Christmas is proving a busy time for Matt.

As a Foodbank volunteer, he sees first hand the impact cost of living pressures are having on South Australians and he’s proud he can play some role in supporting the most vulnerable, especially during the festive season.

Matt, who lives in Junction housing at Oaklands Park, spends three mornings a week building pallets, moving stock and supporting the everyday operations at Foodbank’s Edwardstown warehouse.

Taking on his new role in February, Matt quickly gained new skills and is one of the 700 volunteers across SA who are vital to the running of this crucial service.

“Matt has certainly come out of his shell, he’s now part of the furniture,” Tony, Foodbank Edwardstown’s Warehouse Manager, said. “He really does enjoy it too, which is great.”

Foodbank is Australia’s largest food relief organisation, operating on a scale that makes it crucial to the work of the front line charities supporting vulnerable Australians.

Foodbank provides more than 70 per cent of the food rescued for food relief organisations nation-wide.

From delivery drivers to shop front and customer support, the efforts of the dedicated volunteers stretch far and wide across nine shops and warehouses in metropolitan and rural SA. The Edwardstown service, alone, supports roughly 2000 people per month, giving away 20 tonnes of fruits and vegetables and 6-7000 loaves of bread each week.

“Without volunteers and donations, we couldn’t function,” Tony said.

Matt plays a crucial role in keeping the warehouse safe and tidy – with no task too big or little for him to tackle.

“I like sweeping,” Matt said. “I like packing, I like moving pallets of stock, I like everything.”

But, he admits, it’s the social interactions and being part of a team that supports the community he loves the most.

“I enjoy being a volunteer. It’s really rewarding.”

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Year in Review 21/22

2 November 2022

Point of Impact Year in Review 21/22

We are pleased to present our Point of Impact – Year in Review 2021/22.

What’s the impact we want to have on the people and communities we work with? It’s the most critical question for everyone at Junction.

In defining our brand and strategy for the next five years, we determined supporting South Australians to not just survive but thrive in life, is our direction.

This report reflects our journey to date. It is a tangible and authentic product of our evolution towards an Impact Report demonstrating outcomes as they align to our strategy and within the broader social and political environment.

We are breaking new ground for an ambitious future.

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A Lifetime of Memories

#Meetmystreet

A Lifetime of Memories

29 April 2022

Meet My Street New7

Renate (left) and Vicky (right).

Life-long friendships start from lightning-in-a-bottle moments – with people in the right place at the right time.

Renate and Vicky’s friendship began the same way and, 45 years on, is still a huge part of their lives.

“We lived on the same street and our kids played together, so we would also spend time together,” Renate said. “We’ve done a lot together.”

The two, who live in Junction’s inner southern suburbs, can recount a whole lifetime of memories.

Having raised their children together, worked together and played various sports together, Renate and Vicky have lived full lives ‘in each other’s pockets’.

“We can read each others’ faces now,” Vicky said.

“There are times I won’t need to say anything. I’ll just give her a look and she’ll know what I’m trying to say.”

“If she loses her keys, I’ll be the only one who knows where she’s put them,” Renate added.

Together, they have also extended their friendship to others in their neighbourhood, including a young man with a traumatic past.

“I met Michael on one of my morning walks. We just said hello to each other, and it grew from there.” Renate said. “He lives with his carers, so he lights up whenever we spend time together.”

Having taken Michael under their wing, they do all that they can to give him a sense of ‘normalcy’.

“Sometimes we help him out with things he needs. Other times, we just listen to him talk,” Renate said. “It’s about letting him know there are people that care. He really takes what we say on board too.”

Passers-by will often see them together, having a good chat and laugh.

“Renate will do anything for you. She’s always willing to give something up for someone else if needed,” Vicky said.

They both look forward to staying happy, healthy, and maintaining their friendships with those around them.

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Community In Bloom

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Community In Bloom

12 April 2022

Meet My Street New5

(Left to Right) Craig, Lynda, Sue, Graham and Nerise. 

A blossoming garden is the centrepiece of a thriving Mitchell Park community – and residents Craig and Lynda are at the heart of it all.

“Whenever we move into a new rental property we try our best to make it our own,” said Lynda. “And hopefully, to leave it in better shape than when we moved in.”

The communal vegetable garden, which is located at the end of their cul-de-sac, began as a personal project for Craig to keep busy following an injury.

However, it soon developed a life of its own when residents from all along the street began showing interest and contributing.

“Before Craig and Lynda moved in, the area was just empty,” Sheila, a neighbour, said. “But now it’s the central point for all of us.”

“People will come by to water it, plant seeds, and have a chat” Craig said. “It’s become a bit of a collective effort.”

Like its garden, the community has also blossomed – built on a foundation of mutual respect and genuine care.

“We don’t live in each other’s pockets, but we do look out for each other.” Sue, another neighbour, said. “It keeps us happy, seeing each other.”

“Many of us here are living with health problems,” added Sue’s husband Graham.

“If one of us hasn’t opened their blinds that day, the rest of us will be knocking on their door just to check in.”

Craig and Lynda’s influence has also planted deeper seeds of change.

“They’ve really transformed my life,” Nerise, who lives next door, said. “I have a head injury from a car accident and have really struggled to reorganise my life, but Craig and Lynda helped me get back into a routine.”

“I think it’s a real shame if you don’t know your neighbours,” Lynda said. “Having them there to support you when you need it – that’s what it’s all about.”

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In the Cards

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In the Cards

12 April 2022

Meet My Street New4

(Left to Right) Rainy, Jesse and Caitlin.

A simple card to say ‘hello’ was the start of an unlikely friendship between Noarlunga Downs couple Caitlin and Jesse, and their neighbour Rainy.

“The neighbourhood had issues with the previous tenants of this house,” said Caitlin, “So when we moved in, we decided to do whatever we could to make them comfortable again.”

Upon moving in, the young couple went out of their way to introduce themselves to their neighbours – including writing a greeting card to Rainy.

Rainy, who suffers from tunnel vision due to her deteriorating eyesight, returned the favour in person.

“I walked myself across the road and I thanked them,” she said, “Even though, perhaps I shouldn’t be crossing the road by myself!”

Ever since, the two households have become closer than ever.

“She likes to come over and bring us little knick-knacks from her past,” Caitlin said, “They’re things you can’t find anywhere anymore – it’s really incredible!”

From uniquely shaped salt and pepper shakers to animal ornaments and garden statues, Rainy’s gifts have brought whimsy into the couple’s home.

You will also often find the young couple having a cuppa and a chat at Rainy’s house – finding a tranquil retreat in their shared time.

“I love listening to her stories. She’s one of the funniest people we know!”

“She can’t watch TV and she doesn’t really listen to the radio, so sitting in the quiet and enjoying each other’s company is so refreshing,” Caitlin said.

“Rainy has outlived her husband, siblings and even one of her children – so it’s important that we are there for her,” Jesse added.

“Having friends so close by is just lovely,” Rainy agreed.

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