RISING ABOVE: The exhibit features photographs taken by young people like Dillon Hamilton.
RISING ABOVE: The exhibit features photographs taken by young people like Dillon Hamilton. David Nielsen

Growing up in care and The Power Within

GROWING up in care isn't a reason to despair.

That's the message The Power Within national portrait exhibition is telling.

The photographic exhibit, and accompanying book, was produced by 24 young people who spent time in care. They spoke to high-profile Australians who had also grown up in care and thrived.

These people included unionist Paul Howes, NSW MP Linda Burney and former professional surfer Layne Beachley.

One of the participants was 18-year-old Dillon Hamilton. While he was initially attracted to the project through his love of photography, he said he found the process of speaking to someone who had grown up in care and become a success was inspirational.

"It showed me people in care are no different than anyone else," he said.

"And because this is an exhibit, it's not just helping me and the other people who took the photos. Kids who are growing up in care can look at it and read it and learn the same things I did.

"From talking to the other people involved in the exhibition, I think everyone felt the same connection to the people they interviewed I did."

Dillon was one of a number of participants in the exhibition who spoke at the Ipswich Library this week.

He said The Power Within was designed to address the negative stigma experienced by people in care.

It presents candid insights into the lives of people with a care

experience who overcame adversity to achieve success.

The project was launched by the CREATE Foundation the peak consumer body for children in care.

CREATE Foundation chief executive Jacqui Reed said the project hoped to help young people realise success came in many forms.

"The task remains for all of us to break down existing perceptions about children and young people with a care experience, and particularly when exiting care, to ensure that they have the same opportunities as others," she said.

"The community needs to be aware of the often complex issues faced by people in care, and those leaving care.

"It is being open to recognising others who may need a hand, reaching out and breaking through barriers which may prevent those with a care experience from moving forward into successful and fulfilling independent life."

There are more than 8000 children and young people in care in Queensland and more than 32,000 nationally.



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