Sharing toys, celebrating birthdays and even listening to your parents’ daggy music. They’re all experiences that most siblings take for granted.
But Mackenzie’s outlook is different to most; the 11-year-old has a special take on what it means to be a sister.
Mackenzie has been a foster sibling to 17 children and young people, and the experience of sharing a safe and loving home with those in need has had a profound impact on the grade six student.
She has become a passionate advocate for BCYF’s Foster Care program and is helping the community service organisation raise awareness of the critical need for more Foster Carers in the Geelong region.
In Victoria alone there are more than 10,000 children and young people in out of home care. Every week there are more children requiring care than there are available Foster Care homes.
Mackenzie’s own experiences as a foster sibling have given her an insight not only into the important role Foster Care families can play in the lives of children and young people in need, but have also highlighted the positive impacts families can receive in return.
Asked to create a ‘Passion Project’ for a school assignment, the Geelong College student created What is Mine, is Yours, a piece in which she shares what it means to her to be a foster sister.
Mackenzie also presented talk a talk to her school recently on the importance of Foster Care.
“Families who might be considering Foster Care can often be concerned about the impact bringing another child into their home might have on their family dynamic,” BCYF Manager Out of Home Care, Cassie Franzose, says.
“But as Mackenzie so beautifully explains, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. I hope her insight can help dispel some common misconceptions.”
BCYF provides training and support for anyone interested in becoming involved in Foster Care, including for children of Foster Carers.
“I would encourage anyone considering becoming a Foster Carer to get in touch with BCYF,” Ms Franzose says. “You can make a real difference to the lives of children and young people, as they can to yours.”
Ms Franzose says BCYF is fortunate to have such a passionate Foster Care ambassador as Mackenzie.
“We thank Mackenzie and her family for continuing to highlight the need for more Foster Carers, and for her contribution in helping to create a safe and loving home for children and young people in need,” she says.
“She really is a wonderful example of what it means to give to, and support, the Geelong and broader community, and agencies like BCYF, in a truly meaningful way.”
Foster Care Week
Foster Care Week runs from September 8-14 and raises awareness about Foster Care in the wider community.
During the week BCYF will be holding an informal session for anyone interested in finding out more about becoming a Foster Carer. The session will provide an opportunity to gain information and talk to some of BCYF’s current Carers, over a cup of coffee. You can ask as many questions as you like, and there is no obligation to apply.
When: Thursday, September 12
Where: Charles & Co Café, GMHBA Stadium
Phone: 5226 8900 to register your interest.