For most of us, a barbecue or a visit to the park are just a part of life but for Jess Taylor these outings are no easy feat. They’re big wins for the young mum who has been quietly carving out a place in the world for herself and her daughter, Annie, all the while finding her voice.
“I can really isolate myself and don’t always communicate, and now I have been to two barbecues; I am still quiet but there are other mums there and it is good for Annie,” Jess said.
“I love having my own place because of my independence and it’s just Annie and I… we just do our own thing.
“She is a blessing, I love her to bits and she is mine; I’ve raised her from when she was little and no one else.”
Jess has been living in and out of home since she was 15, including stints sleeping on the streets. When she became pregnant in her early twenties, faced with the challenges that come with being a single parent, she had to return to her family home.
“I was at my parent’s house sleeping on the floor because there was no room for me and I needed a house, but I didn’t want to share with anyone else because I had Annie,” Jess said.
After being referred to a Youth Worker at BYS, Jess has been living independently with Annie for more than a year, and now has the skills to transition from BYS accommodation to her own home.
“BYS supported me to get a property… they are there if I need anything or to talk about things… (in the past) a lot of things have happened to me.
“BYS and I celebrated Annie’s first birthday together. We went to Australia Zoo and we loved that; it was amazing to have someone to share that with.”
The 26-year-old is working on completing a Diploma in Community Services by the end of the year and slowly but surely, Jess is building her confidence.
“It’s a work in progress, I’ve had to practice going to parks – stuff like that. (I’ve learnt) about parenting, to be confident and show you can do it and that you are somebody and don’t let anyone see any different.”