Jannat dreams of becoming a paramedic. Today, that goal is on its way to becoming a reality. However, a few years ago Jannat was at risk of homelessness.
Jannat was 18 and still in high school when she started struggling with some personal issues. She spoke to her school’s Wellbeing Coordinator about what was going on in her life. The coordinator gave Jannat guidance and support, and it was through these conversations that Jannat first heard about the Shepparton Education First Youth Foyer.
Since its opening in 2016, the Youth Foyer has been supporting up to 40 young people at a time who are unable to live at home to achieve their education goals. Young people are provided with safe, secure accommodation while they study, as well as the support, skills and tools necessary to become independent adults.
As an innovative partnership between Berry Street, Beyond Housing Network and GOTAFE, the Youth Foyer has seen 155 students go through the program so far.
After meeting the staff and taking a tour of the accommodation, Jannat decided it was the right environment for her and took the next steps to start living there.
On the road to paramedicine – during COVID-19
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Youth Foyer staff have been running lots of activities to keep students engaged and entertained. These include a Saturday night disco, competition nights (with Jenga, pool and Mario Cart) and craft days.
Jannat’s biggest challenge during lockdown, however, was not boredom – it was the need to get her driver’s licence to enrol in a paramedicine course.
Jannat’s dream is to become a paramedic because she enjoys helping people and has a caring nature.
“As a paramedic, I would have lots of contact with people and would be able to brighten their days, even if it's through a short chat. Making someone smile is a little thing that can make a big difference.”
Jannat had been working hard to learn how to drive. Then the COVID-19 outbreak happened: on the same day that Jannat had her driving test scheduled, Victoria went into lockdown.
While all licence tests were suspended until further notice, Jannat didn’t let this stand in her way. She put in a special application proving she needed her licence.
When Jannat passed her driving test in mid-May, she was thrilled as this meant she was now eligible to begin her course as planned.
Farewelling the Education First Youth Foyer
Jannat started her degree in paramedicine in Melbourne in June 2020 and will be moving out of the Youth Foyer to pursue her studies.
Senior Manager of the Youth Foyer, Anita McCurdy, describes Jannat as “an absolute treasure” to have had in the program:
“Jannat has hit the mark in her education and employment pathways, and has been our go-to student for giving visitors tours of the Youth Foyer – she blows them all away with her genuineness and humour. We are going to miss her hugely,” Anita says.
Jannat explains that she’s also going to miss the staff, as they’re her favourite thing about the Youth Foyer.
“The staff are friendly and caring – you can always tell them anything. Having weekly meetings with your worker is also awesome because you can express yourself freely about what's going on in your life.
“I’ve had so many great opportunities living at the Youth Foyer. I am thankful for that.”
Do you live in Morwell or Shepparton and want to give back to your local community? You can support young learner drivers by volunteering as a driver mentor in the TAC L2P program.
Read more about the Education First Youth Foyer