B.J., 18 years old from Logan, is kicking goals and staying out of trouble thanks to the support he receives from Open Minds Youth Bloom Transition Services.
B.J., who identifies as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, was placed in the foster care system at only three days old and has lived with many families throughout South East Queensland, in locations such as Esk, Toowoomba, Gatton, Ipswich, and Logan.
From the age of 13 he was deep in a life of crime including theft, dealing drugs and violent offences resulting in time being served in a detention centre.
In November 2020, B.J. reached out to Open Minds Youth Bloom Transition Services seeking support to develop the skills, knowledge and connections needed to live independently and turn his life around. He was introduced to Transition Officer, Larry, who for the past 10 months has joined B.J. on his journey in a compassionate, supportive, and mentoring role.
Larry has spent time with B.J. each week, assisting him with parole and attending courts, taking B.J. to job agencies and offering ongoing motivation.
B.J. said, “Before getting support from Larry, I felt like I was never thinking with a clear head and now I’ve learnt not to stress in situations. The mental support has helped keep me on the straight and narrow and my head on my shoulders.”
“I enjoy hanging out with Larry, he is like a best friend and mentor. When we’re together we achieve nothing but progress.”
“The best thing that I have achieved in the past year is getting the support that I need to stay out of jail. Now I’m starting to set goals for the future, where I can earn some extra money to save and eventually buy a house at Mooloolaba”, B.J. said.
Having spent the past four years working with the youth community, Larry said, “It’s really important to offer support without judgement and give them what they need to make good choices and live well. If my clients are happy, I’m happy. It’s great to see B.J. smiling again.”
Open Minds Youth Bloom Transition Services has recently had a name change from Transition and Post Care Support Initiative, to be more meaningful and relatable to youth needing support.
The program offers support for young people, aged 15-21 years, at the Gold Coast and in Logan who have been in foster care or have a disability or mental illness, to learn new skills and become independent.
B.J. said, “If there are other young people that have been in foster homes and could benefit from some extra support, joining Open Minds will be the best decision you could make. It’ll change your life. I rate Larry 10 out of 10!”