My Mentor and Me | Doncare's DAWN program

My Mentor and Me

My Mentor and Me

 “My mentor encouraged me and listened, renewing my faith in people and gave me hope for the future.”                                                                                                                                                                

Hannah’s story

Having fled family violence, Hannah had to leave her home and move several times before she could settle in a new home. For Hannah and her children’s safety, it was important that their location remained secret.  This was extremely difficult for her and her children.  

“Life was hard and lonely because I was in a new area and didn’t know anyone.  I was referred to Doncare’s DAWN program by Uniting Family Services.  When all the people and services that have been helping start to disappear, it is very frightening knowing you will have to make it on your own.  I felt anxious and scared.

Meeting my DAWN mentor has given me confidence which I lost due to my situation. She has allowed me to share my emotions, feelings, and experiences knowing that she was there to listen. It was wonderful to have someone to rely on that cared and gave you their time without asking for anything back.”

One of Doncare’s DAWN Coordinators met with Hannah and her mentor at a café. 

“They have formed a great friendship and really enjoy each other’s company.  I think they spend most of their time together solving the world’s problems and laughing, which is great. Friendship is the theme of their relationship.”

Hannah’s mentor says she volunteers because she wants to support other women to go forward in life.

“The most rewarding part of the work is that I have made a friend. We love to have coffee, go shopping, talk about life, children, and the future.  We try to do something and go somewhere different each week as Hannah is new to the area as she had to leave her home. We are discovering lots of new things together. Since working with Hannah, I have seen her smile return. She seems a lot happier and more relaxed even though life is still difficult.”

Rahnee’s story

With help from her DAWN Mentor, Rahnee learned about services she could access to support her as a single parent parenting after violence. She gained confidence and was able to put herself and her children first. She found part-time employment, enrolled in a TAFE course, and joined a local faith group.

As a special surprise, the Mentor took Rahnee and her children to the snow for the first time. The children could not believe their eyes and told the Mentor it was one of the best days of their lives.

“My Mentor helped me see that I had the strength to make decisions for my family”  

Lisa’s story

Lisa’s ex-husband continued to denigrate and control her even after she had left the relationship, and this resulted in her being separated from her children. She wanted to write them a letter to explain the situation and let them know she loved and missed them.

Lisa had spent hours trying to compose a letter but felt frustrated and overwhelmed with sadness as she tried to write down her feelings in a way her children would understand. When she next saw her DAWN Mentor, she told her about her struggle, and they began to work on the letter together. 

Each word was carefully considered, as Lisa was anxious to ensure her children felt no responsibility for what had happened.
Many hours later, the letter was written and both women were exhausted. Lisa said she was so grateful for the emotional support she had received at a time when she felt so isolated and vulnerable.