WITH a shared passion to better our community, Tim and Erica McCall chose to be foster carers.
It has only been a recent commitment.
The decision came after a journey to India, an experience that presented a confronting picture of poverty and hardship.
Returning home to Bendigo, Tim and Erica reflected on their lives, their privileges and comfortable lifestyle.
They both yearned to “give back” in some way, to improve the lives of those less fortunate. What better place to start, they thought, than caring for people in their own city.
The couple’s two children left the nest some years back, so Tim and Erica had time on their hands.
“We consider ourselves to be incredibly fortunate, our children have grown up, they’re doing well... so we felt it was the right time to share our hearts and our house once more,” Tim said.
He said deciding to provide care for others was very much a family decision.
“We wanted to make sure our family was comfortable with our new volunteering role. As it happens, our whole family is very supportive.”
Tim and Erica contacted St Luke’s Anglicare and became accredited foster carers.
They share their story as part of Foster Care Week, which started yesterday.
Initially the couple provided short-term respite care, which often allows full-time carers a break. But months ago they met Sam, a young teenager who needed a safe, stable home.
“We have this hope – that by giving him stability, a caring family life, and relationships where he’s enjoying experiences with other kids – he will see there’s an alternative way of living,” Erica said.
“Sam’s background has been affected by generational poverty.
“He’s come from a situation where decisions have been made for him, and a lot of power has been taken out of his hands, so he’s not used to making decisions, articulating feelings and thinking things through.
“So we see our role, very much, as offering choices. Showing him there are choices in life, choices in education... instead of just going down a predetermined path.”
St Luke’s care-giver services manager Jacintha Condillac said the central Victorian community needed more people involved in care-giving roles.
“At St Luke’s, our foster care team works to provide care to children and teenagers who are unable to live with their families. It’s a service operating through regions from Swan Hill to Gisborne,” she said.
If you are interested in providing care to children in need of stability and nurture, contact St Luke’s Bendigo office on 5440 1100 and speak with Ross Egleton.