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Young Carer Mentor Program a lifeline for kids

On the surface, Xavier Bulger is your typical 12-year-old.  The Mooroopna local loves fishing, cars, motorbikes, and is adjusting to life at high school. But look closer and you’ll see Xavier is dealing with issues far beyond his 12 years.  Xavier’s mum, Kristie, has terminal cancer.  Since her diagnosis three years ago, he’s acted as her carer; helping out around the house when she’s too sick from chemo.

Xavier is one of 23 young people aged 8 to 25 from the Hume region who are part of the Villa Maria Catholic Homes (VMCH) Young Carer Mentor Program; connecting them with volunteer mentors who give emotional support, life skills and social opportunities. Xavier’s mentor, Marion Craig, became a mentor to “give the kids a chance to have a bit of fun and move away from their situation. “My daughter in law, when she was young, had a very ill brother and there was a lot of focus on his illness from the family for many years, which did affect her upbringing.

Young carers often face social isolation and depression, and drop out of school so they can care for their family member at home.  Research indicates that, if not adequately supported, their own health and wellbeing can be seriously affected. for further information on the VMCH Young Carer Mentor Program click here

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