Resilient, independent and whip-smart. Shania has so many things going for her but in October last year, Shania found herself on the brink of homelessness when the household she was staying with was evicted from their rental.
After graduating from Year 12 with honours in art, Shania was keen to explore the world further afield from the small Tasmanian community she was living in. With her dreams of joining the RAAF very much in her sights and her application underway, Shania headed to Ipswich, where a cousin lives, and to be close to the Amberley Air Force base.
When she arrived in Ipswich, she secured a full-time job, including undertaking a Business and Events Certificate with a local vocational college. But when Shania found herself with no secure housing options, she reached out to the inCommunity Connect team, who offered her crisis accommodation.
Proudly independent, when Shania first arrived into the program, she recognised that she felt a little suspicious and scared. “Why were these people helping me? I was worried they were going to see me as a sad story, but they didn’t. They made me feel so much better about my situation.”
And slowly Shania sought to adjust to the new environment. She recognises that the case management team gently worked with her, respectfully understanding the importance to Shania of managing her own routine and working towards her goal. “I went from about to being on the streets as a 19-year-old, to coming here where it is warm and welcoming.”
Shania found the residence to be clean and safe. It offered privacy, the company of other people her age, and dedicated case managers to support her.
Never losing sight of her lifelong dream of joining the RAAF, Shania continued the application process throughout her stay at inCommunity’s crisis accommodation, including attending the final interview. “I found it quite exciting. I saw people walking around in their uniforms and I thought – that’s going to be me one day. I nearly cried, I was so happy”.
Just over three months after entering inCommunity’s crisis accommodation, Shania received a phone call with an offer to join the RAAF as an Image Specialist. A role that taps into her creative gifts, which include photography, painting, poetry and multiple languages, including Tok Pisin from her Papua New Guinean family.
Shania’s thoughts of her grandparents are never far away. Her favourite colour is purple because it reminds her of jacarandah trees and her grandmother who is the most important woman in her life. And her next big adventure, is inspired by her grandfather’s military service.
Of her time here Shania says, “I think the inCommunity Connect team should be celebrated for such a wonderful opportunity. This program is so amazing. I want to show them how much I appreciate what they have done for me, and I’m going to be alright.”
We’re sure you will be Shania. Congratulations and we wish you well on this exciting new chapter!