Leadership comes in all shapes and sizes, and we get so used to hearing people talk about leadership in the context of business or politics, that we forget about some of the most important leaders – the quiet, behind the scenes leaders who work tirelessly in our community.
These are the people who often work behind closed doors and mostly with little to no recognition. They advocate for those who have no voice, they see the hidden people in our communities when everyone else walks by.
I recently became acutely aware of the growing issue of youth homelessness, through our support of St Laurence House, and have had the privilege of spending time with the leaders who quietly take care of some of the at risk and disadvantaged young people in our community.
We have a big, unspoken issue with youth homelessness in this country. On any given night in NSW more than 9,000 young people (aged 12 to 24) are homeless*. Services like St Laurence House provide medium term accommodation and 24/7 support to young people. A real home and a support system for as long as they need – some stay for years. These services are poorly funded and need our support to survive.
I can’t stop thinking about the special people – the leaders – who run these services, who work with the young people, giving them a home and the support, time, and space to see and plan a future for themselves.
They are so much more than case managers or youth workers. For some young people, they are the first person who has ever seen or heard them properly, advocated for them and protected them. They are the first example of leadership these young people will ever know.
We cannot underestimate how important examples of leadership are to young people – to all young people – and the importance of recognising that leadership is everywhere if we choose to see it, acknowledge it, and celebrate it.
I challenge you to look for the leaders in your community and celebrate them.
Thank you to Nigel Parker and Nikki Butterfield and the team at St Laurence House who are exemplary leaders for the young people in their care. We celebrate you.
You can help the young people of St Laurence House by attending The Big Event or donating here.
The LKB Agency proudly provides its communication and events services pro bono to St Laurence House.