From Residential Care to Advocacy Leader

Ella has always been passionate about helping others. This passion and drive led her to become an Enrolled Nurse and she is now studying to become a Registered Nurse. Her eagerness for helping others also led her to complete CREATE’s empowerment program, Speak Up.

Speak Up (SUP) is a three-level youth empowerment program for young people with out-of-home care experience, aged 14 to 25 who want to become a CREATE Young Consultant, a youth advocate to help us change the care system. Speak Up participants learn about the care system and develop advocacy, leadership and public speaking skills. Young Consultants use their stories and experiences to represent CREATE and advocate with us at local, state or national events and forums. This training can help young people to effectively contribute to discussions with decision-makers, train workers and help to change the system for other children and young people in care.

Using the skills she learnt through SUP, and her lived-experience of being in residential care, she has dedicated herself as a Young Consultant at CREATE Foundation for the past seven years, tirelessly working to amplify the voices of young people in care.

One of Ella’s most fulfilling roles at CREATE has been her involvement with the Ministerial Youth Advisory Group (MYAG).

 “Some of the most interesting work I’ve done is at MYAG,” Ella shares. “I’m really interested in policy and politics. It’s fascinating to see that side of things. The way the minister speaks to us and about us says a lot about their character.”

Through MYAG, Ella has been at the forefront of significant advocacy wins, including one of her proudest achievements: raising the age of support for young people in care from 18 to 21.

“I was advocating and really pushing hard for it through MYAG and a few other programs. The support I got from a lot of other young people to push it forward was a motivating factor too. That’s what I love about CREATE – meeting others who have had a similar experience to me.”

Ella’s journey with CREATE has taught her invaluable lessons in patience and perseverance. “I’ve learned to stay patient and not get too frustrated with how slow change can be. We are seeing progress in the right direction. That’s a key message I’d like to get out to other young people – your work is important, believe in what you’re doing! It just takes some time.”

If you would like to become a youth advocate like Ella and change the care system for the better, check out CREATE’s Speak Up Program.