Program Founder

Patricia Lavater Cit.WA

His Excellency the Governor with Mrs Patricia Lavater receiving her Citizen of the Year Award.

Patricia Lavater has been involved in assisting youth since the age of fourteen, when she first developed a strong heart for the broken and poor of spirit in our community; specifically youth and young adults. This heart was formed after coming in contact with and hearing from a number of guest speakers at a youth conference organised by a local church. It was from this point that Patricia decided to dedicate her life to helping and supporting youth in crisis here in Perth. By the age of seventeen, Patricia was hiring a hall from the local Anglican church each week in Midland and opened up a youth drop-in centre at this hall each Friday night, supplying drinks and food for refreshments and renting pool tables and pin ball machines so the youth would have somewhere safe to go away from the temptations of alcohol and drug abuse. Patricia also used to spend her nights walking the streets of Midland with a team of helpers assisting young people that were sleeping in cars and that had run away from home, offering counsel and support with their circumstances; always with the aim of getting them back to their families or somewhere safe. 

Over the next two decades Patricia worked extensively, both as a volunteer and as an employee, for a number of organisations here in our city that deal with youth in crisis; including Perth City Mission, YIRA and the Ministry of Justice. At the same time Patricia completed Youth Work Studies and gained a number of other Diplomas and Certificates relative to this field of work, which included many various placements at different agencies.

In 1997 Patricia was invited to become involved with Living Hope who had established crisis houses for young men and women here in Perth. Patricia assisted in setting up and developing a residential programme house that offers a safe refuge and recovery support for young women aged 14-35 years. The house was named Esther House. Within a year, Patricia was the Programme Coordinator of two residential houses for women that resided up to ten residents at any one time.

In the year of 2006, The Esther Foundation was founded and established as an independent organisation by Patricia Lavater to serve the needs of young women in crisis here in Western Australia. This residential women’s health and development programme presently operates ten residential premises, housing up to 45 young women and their children. Since then, Patricia has been associated alongside the highest awards in our community, State and Nation for her work with young women.

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