From couch to work: Battling Bundy teen turns life around
TO SAY Savannah Kittle has worked hard to be where she is today is an understatement.
Aged 17, she carries herself like an old soul, and has conquered hardships many would have lost themselves in.
The young Bundaberg woman has faced near-homelessness, an unstable family life and cared for her infant niece, all while studying and supporting herself.
Despite these obstacles, Savannah has worked to better herself by completing a Certificate III in Disability - Individual Support with Impact Community Services, and is now happily employed at Carinbundi as a disability support worker.
Savannah was nominated earlier in the year by Impact for a Queensland Training Award, and was recently presented the Equity VET Student of the Year award - one she is "rather proud" of herself for achieving.
"It was sort of just me, myself and I for a while," Savannah said.
Savannah, who has been working at Carinbundi since March, moved residence 10 times in six months. She says she has grown stronger from her past hardships.
"I started working at McDonald's and on top of that - before I even left school - I was looking after my niece. She was two weeks old before I started having her at my house... she was always at my house four to five nights a week. I took her into school sometimes and work," Savannah said.
"I moved 10 times within six months of doing my course. Some of it was at the refuge and staying overnight at work.
"I'd do closes at Macca's, stay there for a few hours and come to my course, finish and jump on a bus and then start work again. So I'd go more than 24 hours sometimes without sleeping.
"Looking at some of the things now, a lot of people ask me 'how have I done it?' - and I don't know. But I am watching myself each day, and you have your mental breakdowns, and the next day you recover and you're stronger, you're better and you learn from it. It's all an experience."
Savannah said her life changed for the better after her Pop taught her to drive and she got her licence, completed her course and joined Carinbundi.
She is now living in a stable home and working in a job she loves. "I feel like a grown-up," Savannah laughs.
"Since working here I've managed to get a proper, secure home and I no longer do part-time at McDonald's, and I get to watch these guys (Carinbundi clients) grow here.
"The best part of my job is walking through the gate in the morning and having them all yell my name and jump on me, and give me morning cuddles."
Savannah said her Impact trainer, Wayne Morden, was a great support.
"He was my massive support system. He understood, and he was there when I needed him."