Fo­cus on help­ing oth­ers this Christ­mas

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Christmas -

THE 2015 Youth Fo­cus Christ­mas Ap­peal will help peo­ple strug­gling from men­tal health is­sues.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Jenny Allen, of Church­lands, has used Michael’s story to show how Youth Fo­cus can help young peo­ple who are strug­gling with de­bil­i­tat­ing anx­i­ety.

Ms Allen said it of­ten left him in a state where he could not breathe, think or act.

“By 15, he was so de­pressed he was ad­mit­ted to a men­tal ill­ness hos­pi­tal,” she said.

“You’d be pleased to know that Michael reached out to Youth Fo­cus and worked with his coun­sel­lor for over 12 months, learn­ing strate­gies to man­age his emo­tions and iden­tify what was driv­ing his be­hav­iour.

“Michael started smil­ing more; he found new friends and com­menced a ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ship with a young woman who shares his pas­sion for life.

“He also won a lead­er­ship schol­ar­ship and is now an en­thu­si­as­tic univer­sity stu­dent.

“Michael wants to be a youth worker and be able to help other young peo­ple through his own ex­pe­ri­ence.”

As well as rais­ing aware­ness for the Youth Fo­cus Christ­mas Ap­peal, Ms Allen is look­ing for­ward to spend­ing time with her fam­ily over the fes­tive sea­son. What does Christ­mas mean to you? For me, Christ­mas is a time to re­joice in how lucky we are and to think about oth­ers who aren't so lucky, both here in Aus­tralia and es­pe­cially over­seas in war-torn coun­tries, poverty, pain and hard­ship. What is your Christ­mas Day tra­di­tion? Our fam­ily tra­di­tion is just that: to be to­gether, eat and drink to­gether, and give one an­other loads of love.

What does your Christ­mas Day menu in­clude?

For us, it’s ev­ery­thing from ham, tur­key and seafood with heaps of sal­ads and, of course, sev­eral desserts in­clud­ing plum pud­ding and Christ­mas ice cream and also the not to be for­got­ten tri­fle. Your Christ­mas wish for 2015? My Christ­mas wish for 2015 is to be kind to my­self and to spend more pre­cious time with fam­ily and friends.

Best Christ­mas present you have re­ceived or given?

I love to give and so my daugh­ter has bought a new house with her new hus­band and I love to spoil them with some­thing spe­cial each year: last year, nice out­door fur­ni­ture. For me, I love good jew­ellery and have had some lovely sparkles over the years.

Premier and Cottes­loe MLA Colin Bar­nett is look­ing for­ward to re­lax­ing and re­flect­ing on the past year this Christ­mas.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie d447059

Youth Fo­cus Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Jenny Allen.

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