Brooke’s Story

Everyone wants to be happy. But sometimes, hopeful promises conceal dark truths that can leave a person trapped in a cycle of abuse and despair. The Girls & Boys Brigade helps families in these positions, so that they can safely work toward a brighter future.

Brooke’s Story

Brooke had been unlucky in love. She seemed to have one bad relationship after the other. Years of being treated poorly by romantic partners had caused her confidence to dwindle.

Then, Brooke Met Marcus.

When Marcus was around, Brooke felt carefree. He showered her with compliments and surprised her with gifts. While Brooke was at work, Marcus would help with errands or do things around the house. Brooke was so relieved to no longer have to go through life alone.

Marcus was unemployed and was struggling to pay his own rent. It seemed to make perfect sense for him to move in with Brooke, which he did after not too long. Brooke was experiencing financial troubles of her own, but having Marcus around to look after her children meant that Brooke could start working more. Everything was falling into place, thought Brooke.

A Dark Reality Unfolds

Sharing her small apartment with Marcus was not as idyllic as Brooke hoped. It was crowded, and conflict started easily. Marcus no longer tried to hide his addiction issues and it didn’t take long for him to become abusive toward Brooke.

Brooke worried about the impact this relationship would have on her kids. She didn’t trust Marcus to look after them as she planned. She wasn’t sure what Marcus might do if she asked him to move out.

Brooke was stuck, and she needed help.

A Beacon of Hope

From the very first time Brooke visited The Girls & Boys Brigade, it was clear they had her back. Brooke met with the Family Support Officer to explain her situation. To her relief, they were empathetic and non-judgemental.

The first step to help Brooke was to increase the support for her kids. They started going to The Girls & Boys Brigade every day after school. It was a huge relief for them to have a reliable, consistent routine when life at home was so unpredictable.

Each afternoon, Brooke’s children were safely picked up from school by The Girls & Boys Brigade staff and walked to the centre for an orientation and afternoon tea, followed by a choice of activities. This included a trip to the homework room, where caring staff and volunteers would provide one-on-one help with reading or homework.

Brooke was so relieved to know that her kids would be protected and well taken care of at The Girls & Boys Brigade instead of being home alone with Marcus. It gave Brooke extra time to work and figure out how to safely move forward.

Involving the police was a necessary but scary next step. Brooke never would have felt brave enough to walk into a police station on her own, worried that Marcus might somehow find out. The Family Support Officer arranged for Brooke to meet with them privately at The Girls & Boys Brigade. The police explained Brooke’s options and helped her plan what to do next.

Empowering Help

In the meantime, Brooke was still a mother struggling to provide for her children. In addition to them spending more time at The Girls & Boys Brigade, Brooke found relief through their other programs as well.

Brooke’s work made it difficult for her to come in time to pack a bag from the food pantry, but the Family Support Officer would prepare a bag for her to take when she picked up her children just before closing. It was a small act of kindness that had a tremendous impact on Brooke and the financial pressures she was facing.

Brooke wanted to get a better job but was completely overwhelmed. While she was picking up her kids one day, staff invited her to a vocational workshop at The Girls & Boys Brigade. It helped Brooke write a CV and explore employment options she hadn’t considered. For the first time in a long time, Brooke felt hopeful.

Family dinners at The Girls & Boys Brigade were Brooke’s favourite. It was the only time she got to leave the house and enjoy a meal that she didn’t have to cook. She started to build relationships with other families who understood her challenges.

She was excited to see these families at a parenting course at The Girls & Boys Brigade. Not only did it help her understand how to better support her children, but it also helped her gain strategies to interact with Marcus more safely. She learned communication and breathing techniques to help her stay calm during conversations and prevent things from escalating.

When it came time for Brooke to leave, she was connected with a designated domestic violence organisation to help her move. It meant the world to Brooke to know that, through it all, her family had a community of people supporting her.

Your chance to make a difference

There are many families like Brooke’s who urgently need our help. By donating to The Girls & Boys Brigade, you can help them access the wrap-around support they need to improve their lives.

The Girls & Boys Brigade relies on donations from our generous donors to be able to provide our services to children and their families for free. If you are able to make a donation, we would be deeply grateful for your support.