Albany Creek High School Students Raise Funds for Homeless Youth Accommodation Program

Albany Creek State High School students have raised funds in support of Carinity Orana’s Sponsor a Bed program to help homeless young people get their lives back on track.

The Sponsor a Bed program provides crisis accommodation for five residents, for an average of six months, at Carinity Orana in Bald Hills for people aged 16 to 21 years who are at the risk of homelessness. 

Ainsley Gilbert and Nadia de Gong, members of Albany Creek State High School Student Representative Council, spearheaded the fundraiser in late 2022. They organised a Christmas-themed free dress day and asked for a $2 donation from the students. By the end of the day, they managed to raise $500. 

“The support was amazing; we didn’t expect the event to be so large and for so many of our junior school students to participate,” Nadia said.

“We were looking for a charity to support and we saw how Carinity Orana provides for people who are less fortunate, and helps those who are in dire circumstances,” Ainsley said.

“I personally thought for us teenagers who may know young people who need some help sometimes, Carinity is a very helpful organisation to have in our community and to support.”

Carinity Orana Program Manager, Dave McNair, thanked the school students for their generosity in supporting important local community service.

Carinity Orana
Photo Credit: Supplied

“Many of the young people referred to our service lack the basic items they need to live such as clothing, uniforms, toiletries, linen and access to transport – things we often take for granted. Our service relies on generous donors for support,” Dave said.

Dave said Carinity Orana, established in 1981, helps young people to “transition to independence and a brighter future.”

Youth workers assist young people to access education, training, employment, counselling services, recreational activities, new social networks, and permanent accommodation.

“Young people will often come to Carinity Orana in crisis and we help them to become stable and start to help them to move forward in their lives,” Dave said.

“We walk alongside young people, identifying their unique strengths and resources, and presenting options and choices so they can make informed choices in their life.”

If you wish to sponsor a bed at Carinity Orana visit this online page or phone (07) 3550 3737. 

Published 4-April-2023

Truant Turned Teacher: How Unconditional Love Saved This Bald Hills Youth

Corey Gieskens, a self-confessed ‘frustrated naughty kid,’ was kicked out of home when he was just 12 years old. With the help of youth workers from the Carinity Orana shelter for homeless youth in Bald Hills, Corey turned his life around and became a teacher at the very school where he was once a disengaged truant.

Read: Brendale Company Aims To Reboot Local Vehicle Manufacturing Industry

It all started when Corey wagged school for a few weeks straight, thinking he would get his father’s attention by doing so. To his surprise, his father, who was disappointed about what he did, packed his things and took him to the local police station.

 “He told a policeman he would drive the car until the petrol tank was half empty and that’s where he was going to leave me, unless the police found somewhere for me to stay,” he said.

That’s when he ended up moving into Carinity Orana, a house at Bald Hills in North Brisbane which is celebrating 40 years of supporting homeless youth and those at risk of homelessness. Corey spent just over a year living there.

Corey recalled that it was a bit scary at first, because a lot of the other kids that were there were a lot more hardened and older. However, it helped that the youth workers there were very encouraging that he attended his school the whole time he’s there.

“I was very happy there as I was getting the attention that I was craving. I felt loved and I felt really supported there. Up until then I hadn’t felt that in my life. That unconditional love was very foreign to me,” Corey said.

Carinity Orana indeed helped Corey have a more positive future and helped him start a relationship with God. He worshipped at the former Lawnton Baptist Church, which helped established Carinity Orana as Pine Rivers Youth Service’s ‘Hassall House’ in 1981, and ended up moving in with people from a local church.

Later on, Corey became a teacher at Pine Rivers State High School where he was once a ‘troublesome disengaged truant.’ Some of the staff who taught him were still there and Corey quipped that some of them were surprised he did not end up in prison.

Besides being a school teacher, Corey has been very active helping young people outside of school and I’ve helped many, many homeless kids through youth groups.

“Often someone who’s estranged from their parents and homeless has been rejected, so I think it’s very important for young people to know that God hasn’t rejected them,” he said.

About Carinity Orana

Carinity Orana can cater for up to five residents aged 16 to 21 years at any one time, offering a maximum stay of six months. Orana operates like a family home and youth workers provide emotional and practical support to assist young people to access education, training, employment, counselling services, recreational activities, new social networks and permanent accommodation.