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Fatina Elabd

Fatina Elabd is a youth worker at Youth Off The Streets working with at risk youth here in NSW. Growing up in Villawood and with a background in Youth Casework this is her story.

Fatina, a Community Services Diploma graduate, started her career at Burnside Uniting Care looking after young people in residential care. After 18 months of being a youth caseworker, Fatina found the work highly demanding but rewarding. Working directly with young people from complex trauma backgrounds comes with its own set of challenges and successes.

When speaking to a friend who had just finished a student placement at Youth off The Streets, Fatina thought that would be an enjoyable place to work and decided to apply.

At Youth Off The Streets, there is a strong focus on self-determination. Young people voluntarily engage in programs provided by Youth Off The Streets as opposed to young people in residential care who fall under obligatory case management.  This requires a strong focus from case workers to build rapport and relationships with the young people that they work with. It brings with it a challenge that Fatina enjoyed.

One of Fatina’s recent successes at Youth Off The Streets was managing the youth leadership advisory group – working towards training and empowering young people to become future leaders in the community. Recently, they developed and facilitated an Alcohol and Other Drugs conference at Bankstown Arts Centre.  This was a huge success! Fatina was incredibly proud to watch these young people utilise the skills that she had passed on through mentoring, coaching and practicing.

We spoke to Fatina about her role and how it is changing her as a person, so we’ll let Fatina tell her story.

“My role at Youth Off The Streets has taken me out of my comfort zone and challenged me.  Working at Youth Off The Streets has helped me grow as a person in both character and resilience. I hope to one day lead a similar team of caseworkers and multiply the affect that we are able to have on our community.

“My family, like so many others living in this community, came to Australia as refugees. I have an older sister and two brothers (one older and one younger), and we all grew up in Villawood in the Bankstown area of Sydney.  It was a tight knit community where it was vital to bond as a community in order to thrive. 

“Through some of my own experiences growing up, I have a greater understanding of some of the struggles and complexities that young people face today. With this knowledge I feel I am able to further assist young people reach and maintain their goals because I have lived it too to some extent.

“As a part of my own self-care, I am a very active person and feel that in a role like this, it is vital.  I play oz-tag and I’ve competed in various competitions where we have played representing Lebanon.  Being active and involved in a sport that I am passionate about allows me to pass the passion on to run and coach Oz-Tag for young people, through sport providing them lessons, on an off the field.  It encourages them to be active and become passionate about something that is great for them too. 

“I have lived by a poignant quote for my entire career in youth work.  It refreshes me on a daily basis and keeps me going … “We cannot build the future for our youth but we can build our youth for the future.”

“Growing up in a community with struggles and being where I am today, I truly believe anyone can do what I do, if you have the passion and determination to make a change in someone’s life.

“I thought studying was going to be the most challenging thing for me, considering as a young person, I didn’t have the patience to concentrate with a paper and pen.  However, my ambition and determination got me through the course,” said Fatina

Follow your dreams and set some goals in order to achieve the results.  It doesn’t matter how slowly you go as long as you don’t quit.