“If you are passionate about it, do it. There is always a way to achieve it. There are people out there who can help.” 2019 Alinta Energy – CEF Alumni Community Champion, Molly Dennis.
Growing up in Goulburn, Molly came from a low income family and troubled background. Having been bullied, she consequently left school in Year 11. She’s showed incredible resilience in moving on to commence further study as well as forge a career and build a family of her own.
She has completed a Diploma at CTET Goulburn, along with certificates III and IV in youth work and community services via Canberra Institute of Technology with financial assistance from CEF Goulburn and Districts.
Being only 18 at the time of graduation made it hard to get full time work. Molly met this challenge by volunteering with PCYC NSW and Shine For Kids and growing her career from casual placements with Southern Youth and Family Services.
She now works as a full-time youth worker running The Premier’s Youth Initiative Program in Southern NSW, assisting young people aged 16 to 24 transition from being in care to independence. She helps clients set education and career goals and find housing; constantly mentoring them during such a significant time of change.
By going full circle in the town where she grew up, Molly hopes to inspire self confidence and aspiration in troubled teens who may have experienced the same issues as her. Already, she’s making a huge difference.
Molly speaks with excitement about the wonderful qualities the youth of Goulburn possess. She’s committed to helping them develop confidence and aspiration to realise they can be bold enough to plan a future for themselves.
“My greatest work achievements so far have been helping young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness find housing and a safe place to stay,” she said.
Most recently, CEF Goulburn and Districts received an application this year from a young man who credits Molly with a referral to CEF and giving him the courage to have career aspirations and ask for financial assistance.
“I remember what a relief it was to receive an education grant from CEF Goulburn and District. I was working so much to try and save up enough money for my course fees, petrol and everything else associated with studying and the cost of living. I felt like I could actually achieve what I wanted to,” she said.
Working in community services has alerted Molly to the sincere lack of resources in regional areas. She knows how important the work of charities, such as CEF, is in helping young students in her own community and in many other rural and regional areas of Australia. “There aren’t always a lot of resources and assistance. To have CEF be so generous and help so many people in our community is amazing,” Molly said.
2019 Alinta Energy – CEF Alumni Awards:
- Alinta Energy – CEF Alumnus of the Year: Lee Constable, Harden
- Alinta Energy – CEF Young Achiever: Dr Grace Causer, Young
- Alinta Energy – CEF Rising Star: Saul Brady, Great Lakes
“It is so important to give back to the community, especially in small communities, whether it be in the work you do, volunteering or helping out at local events. It takes a village and every person has something they can contribute to their community.”
Always thinking about the community, Molly says to other CEF Alumni: “If you can reconnect [with CEF] in the smallest way you should do it, we all get busy and I am guilty of getting caught in same cycle… However never forget where you came from and who helped you to achieve your goals.”
Connecting with CEF is a powerful way for Alumni to maintain contact with their local foundation and be inspired by like-minded students. Catch up with CEF on Facebook and join the CEF Alumni private group. Also Follow CEF on LinkedIn and Instagram.
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