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Difficult roads lead to beautiful places

Difficult roads lead to beautiful places

Difficult roads lead to beautiful places

Amanda is team leader for emergency relief at Pakenham Salvos in Victoria.

As told to Simone Worthing

One of Amanda’s first jobs was at the Doveton Salvos in south-east Melbourne, sorting and distributing toys for children at Christmas time. Today, she is the team leader for emergency relief at nearby Pakenham Salvos. Amanda shares her story:

Sadly, [my mum] became a heroin addict and my sister and I were taken from her care. We lived with my father’s mum and dad and had a great life. I always knew, though, despite everything, that mum loved us.

I stayed with my grandparents until I was 13 and was expelled from school. My sister and I moved back to mum’s and lived the party life for many years. I wanted my life to be different.

I went to TAFE and completed years 11 and 12, and then started a Diploma of Community Services. I was struggling to find a service to do my placement with and decided to contact The Salvation Army’s Doveton Thrift Shop and Community Services Centre. Major John Farquharson – now my mentor – was the manager there and was so encouraging.

After my initial Christmas work, I continued with the job. In one of the most eye-opening work experiences I’ve had, I became involved in the PIVOT youth crime prevention program run from the Dandenong Salvos.

The kids could relate to me because I knew what it was like to be drunk, hungry, not able to rely on family, and surrounded by drugs. I had a deeper understanding of what they needed and how they wanted to be treated. I became more of a role model to them. I finished my diploma in late 2018. It took me almost three years and two attempts, but I did it!

I love that the Salvos care for the whole person. We can offer them food, crisis assistance, referrals and a faith pathway if they are curious.

Through the pandemic, I have felt the need to belong somewhere, to have that feeling of family and community. My colleague John sent me the link to Berwick Salvos online church, and my partner Greg and I have been going for a few months now.

It has been easy for me to join church online. I can be in the background, in my home environment and I feel really comfortable and enjoy being there. Church explores the Word of God in a non-pressured environment.

Online, I have found people to be friendly, open and accepting. I want to be a part of this, to get to know the congregation. The format allows people to share and we get insight into others.

I feel like this is the start of really nice journey for me. Difficult roads definitely lead to beautiful places.

Simone Worthing is Assistant-Editor of Salvos Magazine

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