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12-month success story

05 Dec 2017

12-month success story Image

Social enterprise Whitelion last month celebrated 12 months of turning young lives around via its Wheelly Good Coffee cafe at Library at The Dock.

In welcoming guests to a celebration on November 10, CEO Mark Watt said: “We’re celebrating one year of these wonderful baristas we have here. We are seeing young people’s lives changing in front of us.”

Whitelion recruits young people at risk and trains them in hospitality to provide much-needed stability and normality.

Maddy Kennedy is one of the successes. She spoke at the event about turning her “broken” life around after a history of ice addiction and abusive relationships.

“I was hitting rock bottom after rock bottom,” she said. “I was looking at jail time.”

She moved from NSW to Victoria for rehabilitation “and then this miracle started to happen”.

Whitelion founder Rob Brown said Maddy had “graduated” beyond barista skills and was now taking on admin and secretarial duties with Whitelion.

Mr Brown said, since setting up its first venue in Docklands last year, Whitelion had now established five outlets. One of them is a mobile unit, which follows road and rail construction workers across Melbourne.

“This morning we were at the level crossing removal works in Alphington at 6 o’clock and then moved on to Frankston between 7.30 and 1pm,” he said.

“It’s amazing what you can do in a year when you put your mind to it. It’s also amazing to have such good people around you.”

Mr Brown said the key to the success of the venture was “just hard work”.

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