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28 March 2023
Two years ago, Myra moved to Willmot to reside with the father of their daughter.
Working odd jobs like cooking pizzas at the carnival was not making ends meet to pay bills or put food on the table, so the Western Sydney mother connected with HopeStreet Mount Druitt at Willmot Community Hub.
There, she was able to access weekly food hampers, and visit for Tuesday brekkies. “My tummy definitely led me to HopeStreet. It was either ask for help or starve,” Myra said.
It was at an after-school community engagement event where Myra met HopeStreet Employment Pathways Coordinator, Jo Zahorodnyj.“It was the first time I wasn’t just another ‘number.’ The team listened to me and, over time, meeting regularly with Jo, we came up with a plan together on designing the life I wanted to live,” she added.
As a New Zealand Maori, Myra couldn’t access any financial benefits for job seeking here in Australia, and faced barriers to employment such as poor transport connectivity. She also didn’t have her licence or a car.
“HopeStreet became my saving grace. I didn’t want to be a stay-at-home mum without my own income. I had so many goals I wanted to achieve,” she said.
Myra worked with Jo through HopeStreet Employment Pathways, which connects Willmot and Lethbridge Park community members with local services, businesses and government-funded entities to develop economic resilience and overcome employment barriers.
“The whole process was so easy, authentic, and relatable. It was a conversation that escalated from there,” Myra said.
Through HopeStreet Employment Pathways, Myra completed her Certificate III in Disability Community Support Work and First Aid Certificate, qualified for her driver’s licence, gained volunteer work with Jesuit Social Services at Ignite Food Store & Op Shop, which turned into paid employment and now also works at the local Woolworths.
Myra is now working towards her current goal of saving up enough money for a car, so she can reach her ultimate goal of becoming a Disability Community Support Worker.
Over 60 individuals have accessed the HopeStreet Employment Pathways since September 2021.
Find out more about HopeStreet Employment Pathways at baptistcare.org.au/centre/mount-druitt