Jemma Snaps that Stigma
We interviewed Young Consultant Jemma about the stigma of having a care experience for our #snapthatstigma campaign!
Tell us a bit about yourself – your age and what you are doing at the moment?
Hi my name’s Jemma and I am 19 years old, I am a young consultant with the CREATE foundation. I also volunteer with other youth advisory groups like headspace, Homestretch YEAG and MYAG, CAFS and Ballarat city youth council.
What are your interests?
I really enjoy driving and binge watching Netflix, i enjoy hanging with friends and my fav food is definitely KFC. My favourite animal are horses because you have to be real and authentic.
Are you involved in any advocacy or any kind of work where you contribute to the community? If so – tell us about these!
Yeah heaps! I am passionately involved with different youth advisory groups such as the youth expert’s advisory group involving the home stretch program. Home stretch YAG includes young people in care to have to opportunity to stay in care until their 21st birthday to develop life skills and proper preparation before stepping out into the world of independent living.
I’m also involved in the MYAG – A ministry youth advisory group, we are a care experienced young leaders who meet up with the Victorian minister for out out of home Luke O’Donnell to hear from us the expertise about how out of home care can be better improved. In my home town (Ballarat) I do some Resi care worker employment intakes with child & family services, which include sharing messages at worker intake sessions talking about my experiences in out of home care and what I think a good worker should look like and aspire to be. I like helping new workers for the Resi houses working with young people in Ballarat. I am also a young consultant with headspace and the Ballarat city youth council, I and many other young people meet up monthly to express the needs of young people in our city and country, including how we can make safe spaces and spaces for young people.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
In the next five years i will be a fully qualified youth worker and impacting and helping the lives of young people in a positive way, anywhere and everywhere possible. Being the best worker I can be.
Do you think there is stigma in the community about children and young people with a care experience? If so, where did you experience stigma (e.g school, work etc) If so, what do you think should be done to address this?
Yes heaps! I’ve experienced stigma ever since being in out of home care at school, in jobs I’ve had and from friends. Raising awareness around how massive stigma actually is and by sharing our stories is the best we can do to smash it! I speak up and care about this so hopefully others can see you can achieve things and be more than what people think you are.
What’s your advice to other young people who might be experiencing negative attitudes from others because of their care experience?
My advice would be don’t let others negative words define you, use these stereotypes to prove them wrong!
Take peoples negativity and turn it into a positive! Don’t let people belittle you! You are capable of great things just as much as any other person!
Your experience is unique and is what makes you, you. Let it drive you to make great things happen because if you put your mind to it you can achieve anything. The world is your oyster!