Jessica & Harley's story

Growing up was a long hard struggle for Jessica. Her parents, after many troubled years, finally separated when she was 18 but by that time, Jessica’s relationship with them was at breaking point so she packed her bags and left home. The problem was there was nowhere for her to go.

Over the next 5 years, Jessica led a transient lifestyle. Couch-surfing with friends and gathering debt along the way. Finally, Jessica and her new partner moved in with her cousin. Although only a temporary arrangement, for Jessica it seemed that some stability had at last arrived - until she discovered she was pregnant.

A couple of months before her son, Harley, was born Jessica’s relationship with Harley’s dad broke down. Jessica was alone again, in even more debt and now under pressure to find somewhere for her and her newborn to live.

“I felt so alone, with very little family support other than my cousin I didn’t know where to turn.”

During a maternal child health assessment, Jessica was identified as being on the brink of homelessness and in desperate need of parenting support. Concerned for their well-being and safety, Jessica was referred to our Mums n Bubs program.

Jessica knew she was having problems coping and wasn’t being the parent she wanted to be.

“All I’ve ever wanted was to be a mum, but this is not what I pictured my life to be like.”

“ I was trying to raise Harley to be respectful the way I had been taught, but I was scaring him and very soon learnt there were other ways, probably better ways of parenting”

Through Mums n Bubs Jessica and Harley moved into the Windermere shared house.  With a roof over her head, Jessica was able to learn important parenting and life skills to help her back on her feet. Independence was the aim.

Jessica worked hard on changing for the better. Her relationship with Harley improved dramatically, as did his behaviour. She learnt how to manage money, repaying her debt and saving for her future. She even made steps towards mending her relationship with her mother and sister.

“The changes in my behaviour have made a huge difference to Harley, it has been amazing to see his growth. It makes me feel like the parent I’ve always wanted to be”

Whilst in the Mums n Bubs house, Jessica planned for her future and, supported by Windermere staff, completed an event planning course which led to a job through the Shire of Cardinia. The icing on the cake was the offer of a two bedroom house through Community Housing which she moved into recently.

“The amazing opportunity I got coming into the Windermere house and the 100% that I put into the program, has given me and my son a roof over our head and a second chance at a normal life.”


If you wish to help someone like Jessica, then consider making a tax deductible donation today.

Testimonial

(After the Healthy Women Healthy Relationships course) I am on the lookout now - next time I am in a relationship, I will be able to recognise the signs of domestic violence and I won’t let myself get stuck in that sort of position again.

Program Participant - Melbourne

Learning in a step by step process that we have to follow, we can’t reach the last step without stepping the first step. If we as educators succeed in building trust and connectivity then learning is fun. “To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today”.

Naeve, Windermere Early Childhood Educator - Melbourne

My (Windermere) counsellor has been one of the most important supports I have had throughout this whole process. She is amazing. I now see things from a completely different perspective.

I am on the lookout now too - next time I am in a relationship, I will be able to recognise the signs of domestic violence and I won’t let myself get stuck in that sort of position again.”

Witness, Royal Commission into Family Violence - Melbourne