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“I have progressed in my career in the years since leaving Brave. And thanks to all the support, I am no longer on Centrelink.”
“That phone call when I was told my support was cancelled was very emotional for me because it means I am fully doing it on my own. I am fully independent and working and I only rely on myself.”
At 17, Cheyniah was part of the Young Mum Strong Mum program in Darwin when she was introduced to her Brave mentor.
She worked with her mentor towards goals to finish her childcare apprenticeship and get a job, work towards her driver’s licence and move into stable housing.
“I don’t have support from sons’ father and I was in a new relationship, but at that stage it was so new, I was like a single mum parenting my son on my own.”
“I struggled being a full-time working mum and had mum guilt sending my son to day-care. I didn’t have a car so I had to push my son everywhere – if it was raining, I was late to work.”
Cheyniah said the non-judgemental support of her mentor meant a lot at a time when she felt very criticised.
“She wasn’t judgemental, I could tell her anything. I got a lot of judgement, and hurtful comments like that I had thrown my life away or I would be a dole bludger.”
“But she was asking me what I wanted to do and what I wanted to be and never with any judgement. And she was always the first to correct others if she heard anything negative from anyone else.”
She said that all young parents should know that providing for their family is the most important thing.
“To any young parent I talk to, I tell them ‘Don’t let the negative deter you from reaching your goals. You do what you’ve got to do to provide for your family and that’s all that matters’.”
Now Cheyniah is ahead of her career goals, has a supportive partner and a number one fan in her son Neves. “My son is my best friend. We talk a lot and play games together. He is my number one supporter, and without him, I would not be the person I am today. My life only truly began when he came into it and I am forever grateful to be blessed to have him as my son.”