May 18 2016


Sharna is a kick-arse young lady from North Coast who works five days a week in early childhood education and studies a diploma in that field. Her passion for improving the child protection system is wonderfully evident; Sharna volunteers at CREATE Foundation, advocating for children and young people, and is establishing what she hopes will be a successful and fortuitous career in early childhood education.

Sharna was in kinship care for sixteen years and foster care for two years – that totals eighteen years. Eighteen is the age when young people are expected to age out of care, gain independence, and plan for a bright future. When Sharna turned eighteen she remained living with her grandmother, her kinship carer.

Sharna’s active presence in advocacy made her an obvious choice as presenter at Next Step After Care’s launch – back in its inception in 2015.

Despite her endorsement of Next Step, Sharna remained surprised about the level of commitment to young people and the level of help offered by Next Step’s program, services, and employees.

Speaking frankly, and as someone who is engaged with the child protection system, Sharna admits, “I didn’t expect a lot of help from next step, I requested help for 5 things (driving lessons etc.).”

Sharna thought her wish list was too long, too much, too soon. She is a bright young lady with a succinct, rich, and clearly articulated idea of what her wants and needs are. However, as a realistic individual, she never expected Next Step to tackle all five of her requests while completely follow her direction.

Sharna was pleasantly surprised and has worked alongside Next Step to create incredible opportunities for herself.

“Next step have helped me tile the garage so I could have my own space [at my grandmother’s]; gain my license, and send my family and I to Cheerleading Nationals in Melbourne, which my team placed 2nd place in the open level 1 division and hit zero safety deductions!”

Sharna is a young lady of many talents and a hard worker. Between her exceptional, go-getter attitude and Queensland’s first ever after care service, designed to provide opportunities, Sharna has really taken control of her future.

Significantly, all of this has been achieved in just one year.

What about this year? What does the future hold? Where will Sharna’s next steps take her?

“I am going on a mission trip with my cousin and 2 next step workers to Thailand and Cambodia for 2 weeks we will be helping disadvantaged children/teenagers with destiny rescue.”

Its Sharna’s first time overseas! Remember, when you have dreams, Next Step After Care will help you to make them come true.

Sharna’s final piece of advice for anyone turning 18:

“If you don’t ask questions, you will never know. Ask for help, seek advice from peers. You don’t always need to plan ahead, sometimes it’s best to go with the flow.”

Remember, life is about where you end up – it’s not about how long it took you to get there.

Next Step won’t lead the way; they will walk right beside you.

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