Louise had a chance meeting with Brian Turton at a homeless shelter where she volunteered in Woolloomooloo. Mental health issues had ended Brian’s hopes of a professional tennis career and he’d been living on the streets for years, estranged from his family and friends.
The pair have been playing tennis together since, through a unique and life-changing friendship. Watch the Australian Story episode here.
Louise told the ABC, "I could help people in similar situations to Brian's. I wanted to put on tennis coaching down at Woolloomooloo and just really start to engage the whole community." This began Louise’s foundation RALLY4EVER, and her work with BaptistCare HopeStreet.
Nearby, with a local community centre, op shop, café, support services and Youth Centre in Woolloomooloo, Louise became involved with BaptistCare’s HopeStreet Inner City team six months ago, where together Louise and HopeStreet are working with youth who live in the area.
Louise heads down to Woolloomooloo for an hour each Monday to work with young people who access the HopeStreet Youth Centre. Aged 10 to 16, many of these young people are living locally in social housing, and attend nearby schools.
“We see that disengagement from school is a really serious issue in Woolloomooloo, and it starts at quite a young age,” explains Tina Camera, Manager at HopeStreet Inner City.
“Our Youth Centre was established to assist local youth by providing a much-needed safe space to hang out, meet positive role models, exercise their creativity and receive any support they need to pursue their educational or personal goals.”
“Louise is one of these role models who works incredibly positively with youth as she facilitates tennis lessons that are really fun and engaging. Of course her pro skills come through, and you can see the youth walk away from the lessons having acquired technical skills in the sport.”
“Louise is directly contributing to the prevention of disengagement from school through her lessons. We're so appreciative of her support, as it helps to create positive outcomes for the local Woolloomooloo community,” says Tina.
You can read more of Louise's story here, and more about the BaptistCare HopeStreet Youth Centre here.