The Planning With Kids 21 Challenge

The 21 Challenge is an initiative of Open Family Australia who been providing a range of Outreach services to young people experiencing high complex needs. The mission of Open Family Australia is:

Our mission is to change the lives of homeless and at-risk young people by working with them individually, offering long term and focused intensive support.

Our vision is to provide them with the life skills and support they need to break the cycle of poverty and hopelessness and build a better future.

At Open Family Australia we believe in a young person’s need to belong. We can change the lives of vulnerable young people.

The aim of the 21 Challenge is for others to Challenge themselves, their friends or workmates to do, or not do, something from June 1st to 21st and raise money through the period. You can see more information here.

The 21 Challenge runs from 1 – 21st June. 21st June is the winter solstice. It is the shortest day and the longest night of the year. In the depth of winter it would be a very tough time for youth who have no place to call home.

My 21 Challenge

21 challenge fundrasing page 2013.jpg

This is the second year I will be undertaking the 21 Challenge.  You can see last year’s posts here and that link will also keep you updated on my 2013 challenge as well.

My challenge is to undertake and activity with at least one of our kids and  to blog daily the activities.  This year as well as home based activities, I will also be getting out and about and reviewing kids’s activities in Melbourne.

Doing the activity daily for me will be the easy part of this challenge, blogging daily will be the toughest part! I will blog the activity each evening, using mainly photos from my phone and a few sentences with tips or descriptions.

What you can do!

The 21 Challenge is a key event for Open Family Australia to fund their outreach programs for at-risk and homeless young people. You can take a challenge yourself or if you have read info here on Planning With Kids and enjoyed it, you can head to my 21 Challenge page and donate.

I have set a goal of $1000 and would love any donation you can afford to help me reach it. All payments are processed securely with credit card details encrypted in line with Level 1 PCI Compliance. Open Family Australia does not see, or store, your credit card details. Donations are tax deductible.

Please know that any donation however small is welcome.  There are amounts listed, but do not feel you need to do those amounts.  Imagine if 100 readers donated $5 each – I would be halfway towards my total!!  So whatever it is your budget can afford, myself and Australian youth will be very grateful.

Also for 2013 to raise more funds for Open Family I have invited brands to help me.  There will be a few posts which are review/giveaway style.  I will receive no money personally for these posts, but the brands reviewed will be making a donation to my fundraising. There are a couple of places available if you are a brand and would like to take part.  Please email me at for more information.

Facts About Homelessness In Australia

I was completely shocked to find out that in Australia more than 32,000 young Australians will sleep on our streets every night.  Living where I do in Melbourne, I admit to not really seeing this at all. Not seeing it of course doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist nor that I cannot help.

I have five gorgeous kids and the thought of any of them not having anywhere safe to call home would be devastating. Homelessness for youth is not just a place to live though. These stats are from the 21 Challenge website and show what factors often play apart in youth homelessness:

  • There are an estimated 32,444 young people between 12 to 24 years who are homeless in Australia [1].
  • Family conflict and breakdown is the main cause of youth homelessness in Australia [2].
  • Young people aged between 12 and 18 are the largest group experiencing homelessness[3] and Indigenous Australians are more likely to experience homelessness than other Australians[4].
  • Young People aged between 12 and 25 years of age are the single largest group assisted by the homelessness service system in Victoria [5].
  • Without successful intervention, at-risk and homeless young people are more likely to transition from youth to adult (chronic) homelessness [6].
  • The Institute of Family Studies estimates that the cost to the community of a person being homeless from mid-adolescence to death is $2 million.


[1]   Department of Families, Housing, Community Services & Indigenous Affairs, unpublished table from ABS Census 2001 and 2006 data

[2]   Homeless People in SAAP, SAAP National Data Collection annual report 2007-08

[3]   The Road Home: A National Approach to Reducing Homelessness, Commonwealth of Australia 2008

[4]   A hand up not a hand out: Renewing the fight against poverty, Community Affairs Reference Committee, March 2004

[5]   Office of Housing, Department of Human Services, State Government of Victoria

[6]   Homeless Careers: Pathways In and Out of Homelessness, MacKenzie and Chamberlain, May 2003

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