MercyCare is sharing stories of young people in our community as part of Youth Week WA. Youth Week WA is an annual state-wide celebration of the positive contributions of young people to our community throughout Western Australia.
Jaime Lee's story
The last few years have been tough for 15-year-old Jaime Lee – but now she understands herself better and has figured out what she wants, she’s making plans to achieve her goals.
For a while now, Jaime has known mainstream high school isn’t right for her. It’s not that she can’t conform to the rules – she recognises the value of school and acknowledges it’s great for most people, but she’s more interested in creative subjects and thinks a vocational approach to learning is better suited to her needs.
“I just don’t click with the school environment… but that’s OK. There are alternatives out there and they are very good. I think TAFE will be a better fit for me,” she said.
When it comes to doing her own thing, Jaime often turns to art. “I’ll sit sketching or painting with my acrylics,” she said. It’s no surprise then that Jaime wants to study art and photography at TAFE. She’s also interested in fashion design.
Things haven’t always been so clear for Jaime, who’s only recently established some goals to work towards. Family issues, anxiety and anger issues have occupied much of the past few years, but with regular, ongoing support from her MercyCare case worker, Anita, things are on the up.
“My brother was involved with the Reconnect program and he told me to join up because he’d found it helpful. I’ve been involved for a few years now, and Anita has guided me through some really hard times. With Anita’s help, we (my family) have come a very long way. There’s still a few bumps there but we’re definitely getting better,” Jamie said.
“I meet with Anita every fortnight and we usually go out to Dome or somewhere. We’re only talking by phone at the moment because we can’t see each other, but I can call her anytime.”
Jaime values Anita’s support and said she has needed it. Having someone objective to talk through her problems with has been helpful to Jaime, providing her with some much-needed stress relief and guidance.
Now, she’s ready to focus on her three short-term goals: getting a job, going to TAFE, and taking up boxing.
“I want a job because I want to start gaining some experience and earning some money. I’m not too fussed about what I do,” she said.
“I’d like to get back into boxing too – I haven’t done it for a while but I tried it when I joined the Reconnect program and I really liked it.”
Jaime isn’t thinking too far ahead at this stage and aside from a potential future career in photography, she’s unsure of what the future holds for her.
“I think I know what I want for now, and if I get that, I’ll be able to think of bigger and better things for down the track… I can think about that later.”
Jaime said she knows she is responsible for making her goals happen, and that other people can’t make them happen for her, they can only support her.
“At the end of the day it comes down to me and making the physical effort to go out there or get on the computer and start sending my resume out. I need to get the ball rolling.”
- Reconnect supports young people aged 12-18 years and their families who are experiencing family conflict or other issues which could eventually lead the young person being unable to stay at home.