Ella didn’t have an easy childhood. At just 7 years old her mum passed away. Unable to cope with the grief, Ella’s dad decided he could no longer care for Ella, sending her to live with her aunt.
Ella could never understand why her dad did not want her. She missed her mum and while she did the best she could, she struggled with the emotions that resulted from these difficult circumstances. Ella struggled to fit in with the other students at school, isolating herself from everyone, including her aunt. She spent most of her free time alone in her room and barely spoke.
By age 14 Ella was disengaged in everything, particularly school. She began to skip class, spending her days walking around the shopping centre or sitting in a local park. She was regularly lying to her aunt who was worried about Ella but unable to get through.
While in the park one day, a group of local teenagers approached Ella. Soon enough they all began to hang out together. Ella liked the feeling of fitting in and was soon spending all of her time with them.
One afternoon, one of the girls passed Ella some marijuana. They were all smoking it so Ella did too.
Over the next few weeks, Ella began smoking more and more, until she wanted to be high all of the time. She was addicted.
By the time Ella was 16, she was not only addicted to marijuana, but also ice. She lost contact with her aunt and was moving from house to house sleeping on couches or even in the park. Her life was out of control, living from one hit to the next.
Ella was in the park one night when awoken by a policeman. He could see Ella was in trouble. At first Ella was defensive and angry, but soon realised the policeman was trying to help. She started to cry. Ella felt her whole life was a mess. Deep down she wanted a normal happy life, without drugs.
The policeman took Ella to a nearby refuge where she could have shelter for the night. On the drive over, he mentioned Triple Care Farm. Ella knew that if she was going to have a hope at a better life this was the program that could help her.
Ella stayed at the refuge for several months. In this time, she worked with a case worker who helped her apply for a place at Triple Care Farm.
Her first day at Triple Care Farm was scary. Ella worried about fitting in, liking it, and questioned her ability to complete the program. This was a big step.
It wasn’t long before Ella’s fear subsided. The staff at Triple Care Farm were very supportive and the other young people welcomed her.
At Triple Care Farm, Ella concentrated on her living skills, completing her school certificate and really enjoyed her time in art therapy.
Ella spent 13 weeks at Triple Care Farm. After leaving, her Aftercare Case Manager helped Ella find somewhere to live and begin work in a café.
Today, Ella has started her life again. She is working full-time in the café, looking after her health and is studying hospitality at TAFE. She continues to use art as not only a way to relax but a way to reflect on how far she has come in life thanks to your support.
*Name changed to protect identity.