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| Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle | www.mn.catholic.org.au
4979 1172 www.catholiccare.org.au
Marriage education is a
vital, yet often overlooked,
part of preparing for your
life partnership with your
CatholicCare have a
selection of courses for
married and soon-to-be
married couples that
assist you in preparing for,
and maintaining, your
commitment to each
Find out about upcoming
evening or weekend
courses by phoning
You've booked the church and got your dress...
but what about Marriage Education?
It really gave us a chance to fnd out things
about each other that we wouldnt normally
talk about because were so busy with work
and our wedding preparation. People think its
about getting approval to get married but its
not. Its about reminding us why were making
this commitment, reconnecting with one another
and taking the time to talk about issues.
Sally, 26 Thornton.
Phil, Denis and Ted know they have made someone's day
Mercy Community Services
(02) 4961 2686 • www.mercyservices.org.au
You can discuss with us how you can also help others by calling or visiting us online
We each regularly visit a resident at the Stockton Centre.
It just melts your heart when the person is so happy
to see you again. We often take them for a walk or
spend time at the lounge.
Sometimes the bus takes us on an outing in the commun ty.
FAMILY MATTERSOne of
A young person in care urges
more people to consider becoming foster carers
CatholicCare is urgently seeking foster carers
to care for a teenage girl or for a teenage
boy. They need someone who can help them
move towards independence, recognise their
strengths and support them to achieve great
things. To find out more about becoming a
carer, please visit www.catholiccare.org.au
or phone 4923 0660.
NEWCASTLE SCHOOLGIRL HEIDI is only
sixteen years old, has been in foster
care since the age of two and up until she
was 12, lived with fifteen different foster
care families across NSW.
Imagine, each time needing to adapt to
a new way of life, under a new roof, with
a completely different group of strangers
to trust, trying to maintain routines,
wondering how long you would be there for
and if you would be treated like family.
"That's the hardest part, when I would live
with families who wouldn't treat me as
family, where I'd be the exception to the
rule or put in respite while my family went
on a "family" holiday without me," Heidi
said. "I understand why they would do
that, but discipline and treating you just
like you are one of their own, not different
or special, is the key to making you feel
special and part of the family, something
I'm lucky to now experience and have,"
On Mother's Day 2007 (the irony is
now a cause for celebration), Heidi was
introduced to who she now happily and
confidently calls her family. Newcastle
foster carers Maria and Phil met
Heidi through local foster care agency
CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-
Manning, who pride themselves on making
'matches' that suit both the family's and
the child in care's needs.
Heidi attributes the "equal time, discipline
and love spent between children" as some
of the reasons she feels so at home with
Phil and Maria and confident being big
sister to her three younger brothers. The
family, alongside CatholicCare, has also
played a fundamental role in supporting
Heidi to maintain a relationship with her
birth family by attending regular visits
where all meet.
Despite the highlights of the last four
years, you couldn't blame Heidi if she was
angry with the world or the system that
many would claim failed her for the first
12 years of her life. But Heidi displays a
maturity well above her years and says
she isn't angry, just motivated by her
"You can do with it what you want, but I
want to turn what was in part, a negative
into a positive and be a role model to
other children in care to say 'look, I was in
care and I turned out ok'," she said.
"I want to encourage more people to be
foster carers. There is currently a shortage
of carers and more and more children
needing a home who are feeling unloved
"When I'm older I'll definitely be a foster
carer and I will be a social worker too
because I want to share my story to help
others in care know they're not alone."
"All I can say is that we all come with our
own stories. It may not always be easy,
but it hasn't been easy for us either.
There's a need for respite, short and long-
term carers so if you have the time to care,
I know there are a lot of children out there
needing to be cared for too."
their ownBy EMMA BLACKFORD
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