Saraeah Nater, 16, lives with her Nan, Hope, her Aunt, Lorraine, and Sister, Cedellain a modest yellow house on the edge of Dalby town center. Her paternal grandmother and Aunt took Saraeah and Cedella, 13, when “DOCS” called them asking if they would taken the then young girls in so they would not have to go into the foster system like their two older sisters. Saraeah was 4 years old at the time and would not see her mother again until she was in grade 7, while visiting her mum’s sister in Brisbane. Saraeah describes her mum as very controlling and was separated from her parents because of their abuse of drugs.
Saraeah describes her Nan as, “everything my mum is not—caring and a good cook…I would probably be different than I am now, if I was in tweed with her (mum).” In 2012-2013, Saraeah began to get suspended from school. “It started in grade 9. I hung out with lots of boys. And when someone picked on them, they couldn’t really do anything, so they got me to do it. And I would just do it. Then I stopped hanging out with them. Then in grade 10 I was suspended 5 times every term. “ She was suspended for fighting. Once she hit a girl at school because she was picking on her younger friend, “she was being real racist and called her nasty names…so I hit her at school, and was suspended for 10 days.”
In February this year, she started a traineeship at the MYCNC. “My auntie and Lisa my boss have known each other for ages and when Auntie told Lisa about my suspensions, Lisa offered for me to come work here so that I am not at home doing nothing.” Since starting her traineeship Saraeah has not been suspended or gotten in trouble. “Cause if I get in trouble there, I can’t come work here.” Working every Wednesday, Saraeah does reception work along with cleaning the rooms after they have been used. She is working towards a Cert. III in business administration. Now when students are rude to her at school, “I just brush it off, go tell a teacher and ignore them.”
Her younger sister has fallen into the wrong crowd, and is using. “She was hanging out with good people, and then she started hanging out with not good people. I don’t want her to end up like mum and dad.” Saraeah believes there needs to be more for young people around here, “there needs to be a theme park or something, so they spend their money there and not on drugs.” Saraeah says it is really hard for kids to get jobs around here because “there is not much to do, or you have to go to the towns around here find jobs.”
Saraeah spends most of her time at the local skate park next door to the centre and across the street from her school with her boyfriend, Tommy. “I skate everyday after school and on the weekend, that’s all I do.” Saraeah defines poverty as, “People who do not have as much as what other people have, like it is bare like there is nothing at all,” but doesn’t believe she is poor “ because I have everything that I need right now.”