As the librarian at Royal Australian Naval College, HMAS Creswell, I work in an environment where I have the pleasure and satisfaction of seeing young people embark on a career in the defence force. In most cases they've been supported by a network of family members and friends who have guided, mentored and advised throughout this lengthy process.
But I recognise that there are many young people whose daily decisions are of a very different nature – theirs are not decisions in relation to career but decisions that may be more in keeping with simply getting through each day safely. And when these young people are alienated from their family members or friends they may not be receiving any guidance and advice.
This is where Sir David Martin Foundation and its wonderful supporters come in. The Foundation aims to provide disadvantaged young people with the leg up that they deserve. In fact, SDMF undertakes to change the direction of their lives.
There are good reasons for the foundation’s many successes. The ‘front line’ staff can see the potential in the young people. If those entering the SDMF programs have the courage and honest intention to change the direction of their lives, the results are astounding. I continue to be impressed by the professionalism demonstrated by these staff members as they dedicate themselves in their roles of transforming these young lives.
The services offered to the young people are designed to assist in education, qualification and recovery, in an environment which offers stability and safety. Course members (students) are never alone – instead they can re-build while feeling a sense of belonging, support and trust. This support is life changing for them.
I’m proud to be associated, both as a family member and as a volunteer with SDMF. I continue to have faith because each year a group of young people emerges from SDMF programs with rebuilt self esteems and confidence ready to take the steps towards re-entering their communities and rejoining their families armed with skills, qualifications and hope.
My father Sir David Martin recognised young people as 'the most important assets for Australia's future' and it gives me great satisfaction to see the Foundation continuing to pursue his dream of safety, hope and opportunity for all young Australians - the graduates from Triple Care Farm and from the Naval College being among them.
My two siblings on the left, my mother Susie Martin and I at the recent HMAS Creswell Graduation.
- Sandy Di Pietro