Beaudesert or Beauie as it is known to the locals, is a small town nestled in the rolling hills on the Mount Lindsey Highway, 74 km south of Brisbane, Queensland. It is just outside of here that 38 year old mother Cate and her teenagers, Shauna (16) and Jack (15) call home.


In 2010, Shauna, a slight built, spirited young women with remarkably beautiful brown eyes was struggling at school. Her behaviour, relationships and Grades were being effected as she dealt with the effects of trauma and challenge in her life. Shauna describes herself at that time as “aggravated, depressed and violent.” She said, “ I hated everything. I used to get angry at everyone. I couldn’t be around anyone because I hated everyone and everything. I just wanted to be on my own with my music.”


Shauna covered her face with her hair and didn’t feel comfortable to talk directly to people. Smiles were rare, and happiness was a seemingly unreachable dream that only other people got to hope for.


Shauna was invited to join the three year, experiential and applied learning, Evolving Learning Program. Through the Program, Shauna took part in a residential stay at Evolve’s idyllic, rural Property, Woodstock, completed an Outdoor Adventure Expedition and received in-school support from a dedicated Program Coordinator in the classroom.



Learning about herself


As part of the Program, Shauna trekked through a National Park, on a rugged 12 day expedition, along with other young women from her school. This experience was challenging and life changing but through this she discovered how much she enjoyed working as part of a team.


Taken out of her comfort zone and away from her normal school and home environment, she pushed herself through emotional and physical hurdles to hike over mountains, camp outdoors, carry a backpack and canoe and abseil through a National Park. There were times when she felt uncertain and uncomfortable but it was through this that she discovered some important things about herself - lessons which helped her make some changes in her life. “It made me realise that being happy is fun and not everything was really as bad as I thought”, she said.


Flourishing and changing


Having succeeded at testing her will, determination and physical limits she realized that she could achieve much more than she might have thought. The expedition showed her what she was capable of and served as a reminder later on for life’s other challenges. She also realized how her anger was holding her back.


With the support of an Evolve Program Co-ordinator (who was embedded in the school) teachers and fellow students, she came to understand who she was, why she felt and behaved the way that she did and decided to make the active changes she needed to turn her life around.


Growing a new future


And turn around they have. Shauna’s mother Cate observe’s that her daughter’s happiness is one of the biggest changes and her ability to cope with situations. “She doesn’t hide behind her hair and black baggy clothes. Shauna is the complete opposite of what she was before Evolve. My daughter is now my best friend,” Cate said.


“She is open and honest and is always goofing around to make me laugh. She is always helpful and polite. I enjoy spending time with her.”


School is a different experience for Shauna now as well. “Everything has changed. I have made new friends. I don’t get into trouble anymore and I’m happy to go to school every day. I don’t get as angry when I’m struggling with work, I’m not scared to ask the teachers for help. I don’t hang out with kids that are always getting into trouble,” Shauna said.


She even ties her hair back off her face and has the confidence to look directly at people when they are speaking to her. She is attentive and engaging. Today, Shauna’s brimming smile and playful laughter fills a room. She beams with a quiet confidence and positivity to face whatever life delivers. She is continuing her studies in Year 11. The bond she has built with her fellow students has created a support network which has lasted well beyond the Evolve Program.


Cate is confident in her daughter’s future. “I have no doubt that Shauna will succeed. She is set in her goals and is determined. I know I don’t ever have to worry about her falling back to how she was because that part of her is now gone. “


Shauna plans to finish Year 12 and is doing a Certificate 3 in child services. “I would like to work with young kids that come from bad homes or struggle at school. I want to help them so they can have happy lives and don’t end up in a bad place,” she said.




Evolve – Keeping Kids on Track is a not for profit organisation working with at risk, disadvantaged and disengaged young people. Evolve provides early intervention, Outdoor Adventure Therapy Programs (using Narrative and Bush Therapy) in Queensland, Victoria and Northern New South Wales. Evolve’s programs, delivered in association with schools, communities and families act as a catalyst for change and enable young people to discover their strengths, learn how to learn, enhance their expectations of future success and become more self-sufficient, with greater hope and self-belief.

Organisation Details
PO Box 46 Tamborine QLD 4270
Contact details: 

1300 723 317