When I first met 15-year-old Justin*, he proudly told us that he is good at cooking and looking after people and pets. Justin’s mother has Multiple Sclerosis so she cannot walk for long distances and gets tired easily. Justin’s mother told us that Justin is her super helper. When she is unwell, Justin cooks for families, does housework, shopping and looks after his little brothers.
However, sometimes his mother sees that Justin is juggling too much. Between stuff at home and his own stuff, Justin has little time to do his homework and hardly gets a chance to hang out with friends. After talking to Justin, his mother registered Justin with Young Carers Program at South West Sydney Commonwealth Respite & Carelink Centre to get some help.
Young Carers Program is to help students who are at school and caring for someone (parents, siblings, relatives, friends etc) with long term illness/disability/mental illness. Young Carers Program can help with things like:
- Taking a break – having a care worker to help with caring when I need a break
- Help at home – having someone to help with housework when I am busy
- Transport assistance
- Tutoring assistance
- Assistance with school uniform/school fees payment when family financial situation is a bit tight
- Camps/recreational activities
- Information about youth programs and about other help
After registering with Young Carers Program, Justin told us that things got easier because he knows there is a back up help for him when he is too busy or things get tough. Also, Justin met a few new friends from the recent Laser Skirmish and Rock Climbing activities. Justin knows that he is not alone in his situation, just like the note in the young carers booklet – “Who cares? We do!”
This week’s post comes from Ivy from the Young Carers Program in South West Sydney Commonwealth Respite & Carelink Centre – if Justin’s story sounds a bit like yours or if you just want more information you can contact your nearest Young Carers Program by calling 1800 052 222.
*name has been changed