Little Sister Danielle

1. What obstacles in life have you been faced with and why were you nominated for SISTER2sister?

As a teenager and young adult I suffered from Depression and Anxiety. I had struggled with my body image and was trying to deal with bullying from school due to my weight. I developed eating disorders and hated what I saw in the mirror.

My home life wasn’t very inviting either as my parents were always fighting and I didn’t have a great relationship with my father. We were struggling financially which put a strain on all of us. I also had a history of abuse from a neighbour which went on for about a year.

Because of everything that was going on, I self-harmed quite frequently and had attempted suicide. I turned to alcohol mostly and prescription drugs on occasion to help me cope. My confidence and self-belief was so low I never thought I would amount to anything and that life really wasn’t for me. I struggled to make friends and found myself struggling to live each day. I physically could not get out of bed, my mum was dragging me out every day. My schooling was suffering and I contemplated leaving because it all seemed too hard. I was nominated by my school counsellor who thought it would be beneficial for me to help me out of my black hole which I couldn’t see any escape from.

 2. What impact has your Big Sister had on your life? Are you still in contact?

When I first met my Big Sister I wasn’t too sure. I think I was intimidated by the whole idea as I had never been a part of anything like this before. But my Big Sister was calming and it was refreshing to have someone like her in my life. She was out-there, confident, successful and just knew how to have fun. Everything I was lacking at the time.

I think the matching of Little and Big Sisters is done quite well and very accurate to each personality. I am forever grateful I met my Big Sisiter and had the chance to spend time with her. She taught me not to be afraid to be myself and to have fun with life. Also that life is worth living and living to the fullest every day is so important. I also admired that she loved to travel as that has always been one of my goals.

3. Did the SISTER2sister program make an impact on your life? If so what impact did it make?

Most Definitely! It helped me out of my darkest days and taught me how to deal with certain situations. I learnt so much great advice about nutrition, being successful and how to have a laugh. It gave me something to look forward to each month. When I was around the group it was like life was ok and everything felt good. For that day you could push them away. I gained a whole other support network that helped me through some tough situations and I came out the other side.

There were so many inspirational speakers that they had talk to us which always gave us hope for our future. One I will never forget was Shelley Taylor Smith. Hearing her would not have been possible without SISTER2sister organising that. It really inspired me. The program started my journey of self-discovery and success. It helped me gain confidence and was what I needed to push me to greater things.

4. What have you achieved since graduating from the program?

I still struggled a little after the program with my depression and other things but without the program I believe I would have ended up worse. I went on to complete my HSC and went to university. I built the confidence to leave a toxic relationship and move on and be ok with being alone. I no longer take anti-depressants and have since lost 26kgs. I have gained a new confidence and have learnt to forgive everyone in my life who hurt me and to let go of the toxic emotions and feelings I had for them. I am ok with myself and enjoy my own company. I bounce out of bed excited for the day ahead and have so many goals for my future that I will achieve. I love life now and I love every day! I am currently studying my cert 3 and cert 4 in Fitness and Personal training and intend on following it with a course in massage therapy.

I am recently engaged and will be planning a wedding soon to an amazing man who supports me and treats me well! My parents separated a few years after I finished the program but I was able to deal with that much easier than I would have in the past. I haven’t self-harmed in about 5 years and no longer turn to self-medicating.

5. Why should people support SISTER2sister?

It is such a wonderful program for young girls to feel they have a supportive environment they are a part of. If it’s one thing I found it was the support that got me through. Knowing that there was always someone there willing to help or just listen. They provide young girls with the tools to better their lives and show them the way to success. It may change a girl’s life straight away or it may take for them to graduate and a few years to find themselves. Either way the impact of sister2sister is positive or a great way for young girls who feel lost to make lifelong friends. Even long after many have contact with their Big sisters or someone from the program and they keep you involved whether that be through reunions or giving feedback which is great! I am so grateful I had the opportunity to be a part of this amazing program. It helped me become the woman I am today. I believe other girls should be able to have that opportunity.