Lorraine Lekias - Westfield Local Heroes 2020
Present. Caring. Giving.
It happens more often than people imagine. Grandparents and others being handed a baby to look after with little warning and not enough time to prepare.
That's where Lorraine Lekias comes in. She founded the Fostering Hope charity to support kinship and foster carers.
Working on the premise that it takes a village to raise a child, Fostering Hope provides material items for children and education for carers.
"We work closely with grandparents raising grandchildren to meet their specific needs," says Lorraine, who has 20 years of experience as a foster mum and has five foster children.
Another area of focus is providing education to carers about childhood trauma and suggestions on how to help newly placed children to settle and feel safe.
Lorraine and her volunteers also offer in-person support and counselling to carers in need.
"We continue to strive forward and grow bigger by the day. We currently have over 12,500 members of our community group and over 100 volunteers.
"I work seven days a week at Fostering Hope; sorting donations, answering emails and, my favourite, cuddling babies while mums shop," Lorraine says.
"We also help refugee families and women escaping domestic violence. All thanks to our amazing community who support us."
Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. Fostering Hope will use its grant to upgrade its facilities and to fund emergency packs and education.
For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here