STORY OF BUILDING INDEPENDENCE:
“I owe everything to them. I talk to people all the time and say I owe the Salvos everything. I don’t have much spare change at the moment as a stay-at-home mum, but anything I do have I’ve always helped out the Salvos when I can because I’m eternally grateful.” -- Terri
At the age of just 31, Terri is a ‘super mum’ - step-mum to her partner’s three children (including one son with autism). They have a beautiful baby of their own and they also foster two children. That means supporting and juggling a family through daycare, primary school, high school and the workforce all at the same time, she laughs.
Her children range in age from 1 to 21.
Remarkable enough – but in her career to date, Terri has also spent six years in the Royal Australian Navy. She worked in naval stores (warehousing) and travelled to ten different countries, including deployment in the Persian Gulf.
As well as serving on HMAS Tobruk and HMAS Darwin, and multiple shore postings (mainly in naval aviation) Terri played a role in saving the lives of sailors on three separate occasions, and received a Fleet Commanders Commendation.
Looking back, Terri says, her life may have taken a very different path, or even ended at the age of 14, if the Salvos YOS (Youth Outreach Service Brisbane) had not stepped in at that critical time.
Terri originally disengaged from mainstream school in year 9 after being severely bullied. She was sick with stress and actively suicidal. Her mum did some research and took Terri to youth counselling at YOS and there they also encouraged her to join their alternative education program.
Terri says: “(With YOS) as a teenager to actually feel important and cared for was an amazing thing. They gave me a light at the end of the tunnel rather than shutting down my hope. I could have just left school and stayed on dairy farms - that was my option, not having the chance to travel the world and help people.
“I believe without the help of the dedicated staff at YOS and Sam, my teacher, I would have been just another statistic, another kid that dropped out of school, but instead I was able to achieve more than I could have ever imaged!”
Not only did her YOS Schooling build Terri’s confidence personally, but gave her the marks she needed to succeed.
“In doing my aptitude testing (for the military) there were about 30 people there and I topped the entire group,” she says.
In 2011 Terri discharged from the Navy (after spending two extra years than her original plan) to try her hand at mining. Her roles included pit technician in an open cut gold mine. After two years she returned to city life where she worked as a warehouse manager.
Then in 2014 she met her partner. In 2016, she gave birth to daughter, and says “by far she has been my greatest achievement”.
Terri smiles and continues, saying: “I will be forever grateful to The Salvation Army Youth Outreach Service and its education program in helping me gain confidence in myself and giving me a chance to do everything I have achieved to date. In fact I have just re-contacted (YOS teacher) Sam to ask where I would start if I wanted to start studying youth work when I return to the workforce.
“My partner is in that industry and I’ve seen also the work that Sam and everyone does at YOS and I know firsthand how it really changes lives!”