"I really am very lucky": How the Simon Community helped this Dublin woman pursue her dream of forensics
Ahead of the Dip from Dusk to Dawn Campaign, Her caught up with Lisa Mason to chat about the impact the Dublin Simon Community has had on her life.
Lisa Mason first came into contact with the Dublin Simon Community in 2012 after she became homeless. Since then, however, Lisa's life has completely changed. With the support of the Simon Community, she was able to secure housing and, eventually, return to education.
Today, Lisa is a student of Forensic Science, an area she has a very genuine passion for.
"It's brilliant," she says. "I’ve just always had this passion for criminology and criminal psychology and forensics, and the course was absolutely fantastic."
Lisa is particularly drawn to the field as she appreciates the way in which the science gives a voice to those who have been silenced.
"We all have our stories to tell," she acknowledges.
Looking to the future, Lisa hopes to use her studies to help those who have been through trauma.
"I'm a people person," she explains. "And I'd love to be able to talk to people who have had trauma in their lives, or people who are coming from chaotic lifestyles. It all goes around in circles."
In her own life, Lisa has faced some serious trauma.
"There was a lot of loss in my life," she says. "I lost my partner tragically in 2010. After that everything went pear-shaped and I lost everything, absolutely everything, including my home."
She admits that it's still difficult to look back on that time.
"There's so much regret and so much guilt. Losing my partner was the most traumatic thing that's ever happened in my life. I miss him every day."
Having said that, Lisa is hopeful for the future. "Things are good now," she says. "Maybe it's my turn."
After losing her home, Lisa reached out to the Dublin Simon Community. They were able to secure housing for her, but they also provided support in many other areas.
"I leveraged all of their services. Anything that they had going, I was in there and using it."
Crucially, the Simon Community enabled Lisa to finally pursue her passion.
"They were fantastic. I went to them and explained what I wanted to do, and could they help. They said they would, and set up interviews. So the Simon were just brilliant. They were never pushing me, they were holding my hand. They were just with me the whole way, and I'm just so grateful. I really am very lucky."
Today, Lisa urges anyone who may be homeless to reach out to the Simon Community.
"To anyone that is experiencing homelessness, definitely get in with the Dublin Simon Community, because they're just fantastic. I can't say anything bad about them. They're just always there."
On Monday 21 June, the Simon Community will mark the longest day of the year with their Dip from Dawn to Dusk Campaign. Participants are encouraged to take a sponsored swim in their local area in order to raise some vital funds for the organisation.
For more information on how to get involved, head to the Dublin Simon Community's official website.