“Rise above it all”: Erin’s story | HerCanberra

Everything you need to know about canberra. ONE DESTINATION.

“Rise above it all”: Erin’s story

Posted on

25 November marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the start of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

As we near the end of these 16 important days, we reflect on our community’s journey to make our world a better place, including right here in Canberra.

Erin Leonard is one of the many Canberrans who work within our community sector, navigating challenging circumstances for their clients to create brighter futures for some of Canberra’s most vulnerable people.

She understands exactly what it’s like to find yourself in the system, and how difficult it can be. Erin became homeless at 25 with her one-year-old daughter, finding herself at a women’s refuge after the breakdown of a relationship. Erin stayed at the refuge for 18 months before she secured transitional housing and got back onto her feet.

In 2016, Erin gave birth to her second child Ryder, who only survived 90 minutes. After Ryder’s devastating passing, Erin and her partner worked tirelessly to raise thousands of dollars for other parents going through similar circumstances.

Erin openly speaks about her experiences and being homeless, and how they contributed to her desire for helping others in need. Every tough phase of Erin’s life serves as a reminder to herself and others of how far she has come, and how with a little hope, help and confidence you can turn your life around in the face of adversity.

“At a point in my life I felt like a failure as a mother and the shame was overbearing. I remember crying in my room at night once my daughter had gone to sleep wondering if she would hate me when she grew up for letting her down.”

“It wasn’t until I met the most amazing support worker that I was able to build up the courage to get back up onto my feet and face what I was dealing with head on. It was in that moment I realised I wasn’t a failure; I was a strong mother trying to do the best for my daughter.”

Even in the toughest of times, Erin’s focus has always been giving back to others. Now, Erin works for EveryMan Australia as the Senior Coordinator responsible for three of EveryMan’s main program areas: Indigenous Support and Accommodation, Men’s Accommodation and Support Services, and Violence Prevention Services Partner Contact.

In this role, she works with Indigenous families at risk of homelessness, Men exiting the prison system and safety planning for women and children from families that have experienced or are experiencing domestic violence.

Therefore, it came as no surprise to Erin’s loved ones, co-workers and friends to find out that her hard work and dedication has landed her a nomination for the 2021 Lifeline Women of Spirit Awards.

The annual awards recognise women who have triumphed over personal adversity and have gone on to make a positive contribution to the community, while inspiring others to do the same.

“I want to be the person that young mothers look up to while showing them that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, that you can do anything you put your mind to. The helping hand that I was given is the hand I want to give to everybody else.”

Erin has since extended her family and lives in her own home with her two daughters.

“The message I want to send above all else is you should never be too proud, I went through it all and I now rise above it all.”

Related Posts

Comments are closed.

© 2022 HerCanberra. All rights reserved. Legal.
Site by Coordinate.