When Alwin Fung heard the shout-out for someone to help with a building and pest inspection on a Brisbane Youth Service property being prepared for sale, he jumped at the chance to offer his services – at no cost. Alwin did a great job guiding BYS through the process, but it wasn’t until we asked what inspired him to lend a hand we learnt Alwin’s story with BYS first began quite some time ago.
Alwin thought he knew everything and was confident enough to go it alone when he left home at 15.
“I moved out (of my father’s house) because I thought I knew everything,” Alwin said.
Alwin didn’t realise that once he left, he was on his own and would need a new place to call home. Luckily, Alwin’s school counsellors stepped in to help and he was able to stay at school at St Columban’s College thanks to their generosity. School counsellors also referred Alwin to BYS, so he could find somewhere more permanent to live.
When he walked through BYS’ doors it was only the start of his journey. “They (BYS) helped me,” Alwin said.
BYS’s Sandgate House was where Alwin temporarily stayed before he was referred by BYS to more long-term housing in Enoggera, providing him with stable accommodation until he later found his own independent living arrangements.
He managed to finish school while living independently at Brisbane’s Chapel Hill, being supported by Youth Allowance and earning money through a job at Coles. But the safety net of school soon waned and once again Alwin had to take a giant step further towards the ‘real world’.
When it came time to leave school, Alwin was advised by a guidance counsellor to consider learning a trade. He took a six-month break when he completed school and like most youth, he partied, had fun with his mates and made lifelong memories, before deciding it was time to knuckle down. Alwin secured an apprenticeship as a carpenter where he learned the building industry trade and fostered his strong work ethic. “I worked really hard for everything I have,” he said.
His hard work and dedication eventually led Alwin to set up his own builder and building inspection company, Urbanbuild Co that conducts building inspections and pest inspections.
Alwin and BYS crossed paths again when he conducted the pest and building inspection for BYS’ Thorne Street location. “If they help me, I always help people back,” Alwin said.
Hard work and commitment along with a little help meant Alwin was able to achieve his teenage dream to buy his very own pair of Doc Martens.
“All my friends had these boots, English made Doc Martens, they were so cool, but I could never afford them,” he said.
“I feel awesome when I wear them.”