Meet Rebecca Lee, Manager, Kangan Education First Youth Foyer

How long have you worked in the Foyer space? And how did you come to work at Foyer?

I have been at the EFYF since Holmesglen opened in 2013 however, I am now into my 10th year of working in the Foyers space. Prior to moving to Australia I worked in Cheltenham & Bristol, UK for a small community NFP called County Community Projects. The Foyers I worked at in England were quite different having smaller occupancies and no formal partnership with TAFE. I started volunteering as a youth worker fresh out of university and when a job came up I applied for it and have worked in Foyers ever since, I love it! I can’t imagine myself doing anything different.

” I love it! I can’t imagine myself doing anything different.”

What you love about your Foyer? What is special, unique, excites you about your role?

Foyer is a unique space to work in when working in the community services sector, I don’t like to introduce what I do as working at a homelessness program because it is so much more than that, instead when people ask what I do I tell them that I work in an inspirational program alongside wonderful people aged 16-24 who focus on their education and employment goals. What I find special about our Foyer is the wonderful culture and great relationships that are fostered.

Maintaining consistency in the program and adhering to the practice framework and Advantaged Thinking approach ensure good times are had, the students are kicking goals and constantly exploring opportunities to ensure they thrive. Each day in my role at Foyer is fun, celebrating student achievements, working in a dynamic team with a shared vision and belief in the students, and the creativity the program allows makes for a vibrant place to spend my days.

What are the highlights and challenges of working at Foyer?

Highlights
Great relationships, sharing laughs, getting silly and having all the fun.
Working alongside a diverse group of talented and inspired students.
Being part of an innovative community of practice & pilot program.
Watching students share their skills and interests with their friends & neighbours and seeing friendships flourish. All the shared meals and yummy food.

Challenges
The demand and cost of private rental in Melbourne is difficult for people who are studying to move to rental. Sometimes students aren’t quite ready to take on the deal and seeing people leave is very hard, however, if down the track they are ready they are of course welcome to return, so far this has happened 4 times at our Foyer and the students involved have achieved so much the second time around. The Foyer can be at times a supermarket trolley magnet with a couple of trolleys always being within a 500m radius of Foyer.

What is your favourite Foyer moment or memory?

Seeing two of our former students being hired by Launch Housings service development team to co-design alongside the current Foyer students and stakeholders a youth participation strategy and implementation plan, this is an exciting opportunity for us and the EFYF’s. Also, Developing independence graduations are always a great time and a proud moment.