Breaking the Cycle: Katrina Marsh Empowers Young Mums to Get Their Lives Back on Track

Dedicated to giving vulnerable women the confidence and tools they need to reach for their goals, Katrina is helping them shape their own futures.

A passionate advocate for women

Motherhood is so many things. It’s life-changing, challenging, scary, all-consuming, and beautiful. It’s also a lack of sleep! But what if you’re a young mum facing homelessness? What if you have no one to support you? Sadly, this is a reality for many women. Katrina Turner is dedicated to breaking this cycle. Our Transition Caseworker and Support Worker is an unwavering advocate for vulnerable young mothers and their children, helping them find homes and a positive new path.

Katrina is a valued member of the Catholic Care team. She supports young mothers and pregnant women aged 16 to 25 years who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. With patience, persistence, and compassion, Katrina finds transitional accommodation for these vulnerable mums. She also supports them to gain access to longer-term housing and private rental options.

Each day presents a new challenge, yet Katrina always shows up with a smile on her face and the desire to make a difference.

“No mother or child should go without basic needs like housing,” Katrina says. “They deserve the same economic opportunities as everyone else. We strive to be part of the solution.”

Securing safe accommodation is a critical first step. Katrina’s clients also often need help with parenting and living skills, access to education and employment, and legal support to get their lives on track.

“Our clients have faced significant trauma, such as family violence, unemployment, drug misuse, and homelessness,” Katrina says. “Quite often, these traumatic experiences started in childhood. Their self-esteem can be so low that they can’t see a better outcome for themselves. We work with young mums to break the cycle. We build their trust and confidence, and advocate for them so that they and their children have a better future.”

 Finding true purpose

Women’s empowerment has long been an issue close to Katrina’s heart. She started her career as a Corporate Account Manager, working for a global technology giant. It was a male-dominated environment, where she saw first-hand the impact a lack of female representation could have on individuals, industries, and wider society.

Although she enjoyed her work, Katrina couldn’t shake the feeling that she was a small cog in a big machine. So, in her mid-20s, she decided to pursue a more meaningful path.

“I started to think about broader issues around women’s empowerment and how so many women need basic help. That’s when I started to look into social services.”

Katrina was browsing the EthicalJobs board when she discovered an opportunity with Catholic Care. The role strongly aligned with her values of female empowerment, safeguarding human dignity, and creating positive change. Katrina applied, and joined us in November 2020. It’s been a challenging career shift, but she hasn’t looked back.

“I love seeing the change in people’s lives,” Katrina says. “I do believe we are making a difference. I even have a client who is now putting away money for her daughter so that she can buy a house one day.”

A collaborative team culture

Katrina’s work can be confronting, but she treats each case with empathy, respect, and an open heart and mind. Some of the women she helps have had children removed from their care. Others have arrived in Australia as refugees, struggling with a new language and culture. Katrina says it’s important not to take her work home with her at the end of the day. Being part of a supportive, experienced, and collaborative team is vital, too.

And as for Katrina’s ultimate goal?

“I dream of a day when we no longer need homeless services. It’s an unnecessary social problem. We have the money and ability to make change so that everyone can have a home, but there needs to be more social and Government action. That’s my hope for the future – housing for all.”

For now, Katrina continues to stand on the frontline, helping our most vulnerable women find a home and way forward with their lives. And for us at Catholic Care, we are so grateful for all Katrina does to help our young mothers make progress, one step, one day, and one challenge at a time.

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