Jessica Brown met Caitlin Ward when her school counselor sought help for Caitlin, who was depressed and self harming at the time. Jessica was instrumental in Caitlin’s recovery and the two have developed an incredibly strong bond over the past 3 years. They consider themselves Sisters.
Caitlin’s father was a depressive alcoholic and her mother hated him. She grew up in a house filled with anger, parental fights, abuse, bullying and neglect. Her mother eventually left her father and Caitlin, along with her two brothers and sister, were forced to live in her mother’s car for some time. They had no money, no food and no prospects. Eventually her uncle took them into his home and Caitlin went back to school. At school she was bullied incessantly and had no friends. She was depressed. She began to self harm in an attempt to ‘feel’ something. When this didn’t help, she tried to end her own life and was admitted to hospital and put on anti-depressants.
Life improved for a while until Caitlin’s only friend took her own life, leaving Caitlin isolated and alone again. Less than a week later she found out her father had died and just one week after this, her grandmother died of a massive heart attack. Caitlin’s world was thrown into disarray once again and depression began to take over. Her school counselor suggested that she nominate herself for a program that might be able to lift her depression and offer her some guidance and positive reinforcement in her life.
That’s when she met Jessica, her savior. Jessica was a warm, loving, maternal role model in Caitlin’s life. The pair bonded immediately and Jessica helped her to discover freedom and choice and most of all, happiness.
Jessica set up Life Changing Experiences Foundation’s SISTER2sister program in 2003, providing at risk teenage girls with professional female role models as ‘Big Sister’ mentors they can gain support, guidance and advice from, to inspire and motivate them to turn their lives around over a 12 month period. Caitlin was recommended to join it in 2008. Jessica took on the role of Caitlin’s Big Sister.
Jessica made her laugh, listened to her, gave her advice and showed her that she matters. And that life matters when Caitlin is around.
Jessica has learned a lot from Caitlin too. Caitlin is a regular reminder to Jessica about why she set up the Foundation and is proof that the ‘magic’ they create as mentors, really turns these young lives around. They make each other laugh and Jessica now feels that she has gained a loyal Little Sister through meeting Caitlin.
Caitlin has not forgotten the road she has taken to where she is today. Throughout the program, Caitlin was challenged and had to step out of her comfort zone. She learned to trust Jessica wholeheartedly and she also learned the value of being trusted. Today, Caitlin is a Butterfly Ambassador/advocate for the charity. She participates in Life Changing Experience Foundation events at which she speaks about the program and how it has helped her.
Caitlin is a volunteer with the NSW Red Cross Youth Advisory Committee. In 2009 she represented Australia as an Australian Youth Ambassador at a Global Youth Leadership Summit. She’s also working on building her own Organisation; ‘Confidence through Culture’ which is an initiative designed to increase confidence in young Indigenous students through a greater understanding of their traditional heritage and she’s writing a personal development themed novel.
SPARKLE FOR A CAUSE WITH THE SISTER2sister PENDANT
Life Changing Experiences Foundation’s NIVEA SISTER2Sister program aims to assist “at risk” teenage girls who face serious issues such as abuse, neglect, loss, trauma, self harm, a drug addicted guardian or parents in jail. To date, The NIVEA SISTER2Sister program has helped over 250 young girls with many success stories to tell. The program pairs a Big Sister mentor with a Little Sister, and introduces a positive role model into their lives, one whom they can seek advice, support and encouragement from.
The pendant, created exclusively by Magnolia Jewellery, symbolises a big sister and a little sister and the bond they share. The dolls are linked together, which represents their intertwining lives when they embark on the 12 month mentoring program together.
Nati Harpaz, CEO of Magnolia Jewellery says, “We are delighted to be working with such an admirable charity. We selected Life Changing Experiences Foundation as our chosen cause due to the incredible work they do and inspiration they offer to the lives of teenage girls in need of guidance. We know our customers will love the pendant and want to support such a worthy charity.”
Jessica Brown, CEO of Life Changing Experiences Foundation says “We are really excited that Magnolia has come on board to help raise funds for the NIVEA SISTER2sister program. Magnolia has kindly given pendants to our current Big and Little Sisters who absolutely love it and wear it with pride. We are delighted to have such a beautifully designed pendant to represent the program and raise vital funds to ensure we continue to help young at-risk teenage girls have a brighter future.”
The SISTER2sister pendant makes the perfect gift for a loved one, best friend, sister or a great stocking filler for Christmas this year.
The pendant retails for $59 and is available at Magnolia stores nationwide, as well as through the Magnolia website www.magnolia-jewellery.com.au . All proceeds raised from sales will go directly to the NIVEA SISTER2sister Program. Magnolia Jewellery stores are located nationwide.