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Sarah Dobbie: Westfield Local Heroes 2018

Brother’s care impressed Sarah, so she joined the team

The $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant has enabled TaskForce to hire an additional worker who could cover the hours of their key drop in times from 3pm - 5pm. This has ensured that there is someone to service the youth coming to Taskforce.

The impact of the grant has been major as it has allowed TaskForce to service even more young people everyday.

When Sarah Dobbie’s brother needed help he turned to TaskForce, a support service for young people.

Sarah was so impressed by what she saw that she volunteered to help and was placed at the reception desk.

Later, she achieved the required qualifications and jumped at the chance to be employed with the youth team. Five years on she is the youth services team leader.

She feels a real sense of satisfaction at helping young people who have been through “foster care, residential units, homelessness and you name it”.

TaskForce services inner South East Melbourne and helps young people aged 12 and up deal with a wide range of issues. Some of Sarah’s clients have spent 10 years in correctional institutions and are only 25 years old.

Others have an acquired brain injury or mental health issues as a result of drug and alcohol use.

Many come from homes affected by domestic violence, poverty and unemployment.

“To have them come in and sit down and have a very raw and real connection with someone who is actually there to help them, that’s the reward,” she says.

Sarah works hard to help her clients overcome these challenges and build positive social networks.

It takes a lot of time and hard work before her clients can even start thinking about a job and a brighter future.
She says it feels surreal to be voted a Westfield Local Hero.

“There are moments where you feel disheartened or you feel a bit bogged down by all the bad stuff. But to have the efforts of the youth team recognised in this way reminds us why we come to work each day.”

“There is a laundry so they can clean their clothes if they have been couch surfing — all the little things we take for granted,” Sarah says with pride.

For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here.

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