Help to shoot for the stars

Finlay Gordon, Claudia Bransby and Harper
Finlay Gordon, Claudia Bransby and Harper

The 20-year-old found herself without a home, without direction and without the support most teenagers need.

�I couch-surfed for a little bit,� she said between sips of her brown brew.

�It was hard trying to find a place to live; I was staying with a friend and bumming off her, but it�s not something you want to do.

�I wanted a place of my own and to be able to stand on my own.�

Growing up in Donnybrook and then moving to Bunbury, Ms Mountford said she used to gaze at the stars, looking for direction and solace and to give her mind a bit of a reboot.

Stars may be harder to see in city Perth, but Ms Mountford has still managed to find direction.

This is largely thanks to St John of God Horizon House Wilson, which provides long-term accommodation for homeless people between 16 and 22 wanting to access education, training or employment opportunities.

�My life is now a lot less stressful,� Ms Mountford said. �I�ve met a lot of strong people, people who have been through a lot tougher things than I have, but at the same time we are equal. They�re quite amazing.�

Describing herself as kind and artistic, Ms Mountford is studying for an advanced diploma in visual arts and crafts at Northbridge Central Tafe.

Using her skills in a meaningful way, she is also conducting art classes once a week over the school holidays for the Ronald McDonald Learning Program.

Planning, preparing and teaching the classes, Ms Mountford said she enjoyed providing a fun distraction for the youngsters, helping them forget about hospital appointments and illness.

�The kids are awesome,� she said.

�Anyone who comes at the door and wants to join in, they can. It feels good to bring a smile to kids� faces.�

Ms Mountford hopes to continue to bring smiles to faces, but plans to help big kids.

She wants to become a high school art teacher, teaching Year 11 and 12s.