Interview with Carla Fadelli founder of Homestead for Youth

A few weeks ago my kids, hubby and myself slept in a stable with Homestead for Youth to raise awareness about youth homelessness. Carla and Marty Fadelli are the founders of Homestead for Youth, which is a recreational rehab for young people, using horses, art and outdoor activities for holistic therapy. Suicide is the leading cause of death in young people and Carla (a school psychologist) and her husband Marty (a panel beater) are doing something about it. They have recently moved from Henly Brook, with their two small children, to the Peel region of WA, where they feel the greatest need is. They are hoping to raise $200,000 to buy a property near Pinjarra to use as a Homestead for Youth hub.

My little gruffalo dinosaur heading in to our stable accommodation at Homestead for Youth


My hubby and eldest son were not at all keen on the idea of sleeping outside in the middle of winter, but the rest of us were excited! I brought my guitar and sang a few tunes around the campfire over dinner. We planned to sleep in our tent, but the weather was wild and the wind knocked the temporary gazebos over, so we ended up sleeping in a stable instead. I remember being freezing all night even though I had bed socks on and my whole body including my face was in my sleeping bag! The next morning I asked my kids what they thought about the whole thing, and they said they felt lucky to have a house to sleep in every night. It is so sad to think that there are homeless people in Perth sleeping on the street in the middle of winter, especially very young people! Thankfully there are amazing people like Marty and Carla doing their bit to make a difference. I had the pleasure of interviewing Carla and she is an absolutely remarkable woman.

Carla and Marty Fadelli founders of Homestead for Youth

Interview with Carla Fadelli founder of Homestead for Youth
ME Q1: What are your kids' names and ages?
CARLA: Kids... which ones? :) I have a six year old daughter, Tia, and a four-and-a-half year old son, Jairon. We also have foster children who have stayed with us from five months to two-and-a-half years that we still see, and who come and stay with us on weekends and holidays. This always keeps people guessing as to who are our children. They are all our children really :)
ME Q2: What is your favourite food?
CARLA:  I married an Italian for his parents' cooking :) Gnocchi is my all time fav! and Sara Lea Rocky Road Ice Cream would be my next fav.

Carla and Marty from Homestead for Youth

ME Q3: What made you want to become a school psychologist?
CARLA: I actually wanted to be a vet... But then my mum pointed out I wouldn't like pulling cows out of paddocks on early winter mornings, but I'd be good at counselling. I was very aware at a young age of the needs and distress some people live with, so I quickly grabbed this idea of being a psychologist to help. I got into school psychology in my last year because I preferred working with kids and teenagers.
ME Q4: When school kids come to see you, what are the main issues that you have to deal with?
CARLA: Kids present with two things; the symptoms and the root issues. We can so easily get caught up in treating the symptom and not the root issue. Sadly, the main root issues I see are family breakdown and dysfunction. Trauma, depression and anxiety are the main issues I see. Teenagers are being sold a lie. Society has been sold many lies and our kids are sadly bearing the consequences.

The campfire


ME Q5: How can parents prevent and treat the above issues in their own kids?
CARLA: Time, our words and communication. It doesn't take a lot, even a little bit of quality time, frequent short opportunities to talk, and JUST listen, and positive words, can transform any family issue.
ME: Q6: How do you manage to be a foster carer in addition to looking after your own kids?
CARLA: Grace...and a little bit of crazy; you need to find the unique and individual calling and purpose that you were created for and then the things you need to do become do-able. Not easy, but do-able. As we started down this path, you get slapped in the face with the need. So you get to the point where it becomes non-negotiable. I live by the quote 'I will not let what I cannot do, stop me from doing what I can.' I also have to keep asking for, praying and wanting to have the right heart to love on children. My kids also just seem to be graced and built for our lifestyle.

Marty Fadelli in the workshop

ME Q7: Can you please tell us about Homestead for Youth (H4Y) and how it started?
CARLA:  Homestead for Youth birthed out of a vision and a revelation of the need and ability to create meaningful recovery and safe refuge for teenagers. H4Y has two hubs. We provide counselling, psychology, mentoring and case management for at-risk youth using hands-on highly motivating activities. We use horses, dogs, art, car restoration, and other programs to help at-risk youth find recovery. In our newest hub in Pinjarra, we are working on a farm-based family-style residential home for vulnerable youth. It started with our foster teens, and many youth who came to me for counselling, only to discover the most productive and quickest way to engage them in their recovery program was by getting them outside with the farm, the animals and the workshop. We hope to open our family-style residential farm-based home this year on 150 acres east of Mandurah. We then hope to multiply this home across the region in homestead-style family homes. Each family home will have direct access to all our recovery programs and mentors. We then hope to take this nationally and who knows, maybe even globally one day.

Having fun at the Homestead for Youth sleep out


ME Q8: What is the cause behind so many young people needing a recreational rehab like H4Y? Do you have advice for parents as to how they can prevent their own kids from needing such intervention?

CARLA: Broken families; confusing messages in society. Sometimes we can do all the right things and our kids still stumble. Some traumas and distress kids experience are outside our control as parents. Looking after yourself as a parent, honouring the child's parent, whether together or separate (even if they don't deserve it), time, communication and also being INVOLVED. We bear the consequences of stepping out of our kids' lives. Be present and constant, and also being the head of the house with fair, consistent and age appropriate boundaries. Many teenagers tell us they emotionally don't feel ready for the freedom and independence parents give them. Say no, say sorry and say I love you often.

Marshmallows for breakfast after the storm

ME Q9: How can the community be involved and help you?

CARLA: We believe strongly in the need for community to come together to be part of the solution. The community can help H4Y and get involved by volunteering, donating, letting other people know about us and through our 'sponsor a life' program. As we grow we have a greater need for valuable volunteers and finance. We currently need to raise $200,000 to open the doors and with volunteers we need a variety of skills and willingness in areas as broad as graphics and grant writing, to mentors, administration skills and cooking skills; especially if they are cooking gnocchi for the girls after a hard equine session!


ME: Q10: If a genie could grant you three wishes, what would they be?


CARLA: 1. My son has a disability; I wish to see him talk and develop and be fulfilled to discover his own purpose.

2. Multiple H4Y homes scattered around where the need is.

3. No more suicide. On a less serious note I am hanging out to sneak a kitten and a small calf into the backyard when my husband is not looking ;)


h4y 5


Carla and Marty are absolutely inspirational! I have so much admiration for this young family who are taking action! If all parents looked after their children well, we wouldn't have the problems in our society that Carla and Marty have given their lives to fix. Just remember that by looking after your children well, day in and day out, and by being the best parent you can be, that you are actually preventing these issues in your own children and are therefore being part of the solution. So parents, keep up the amazing job you are doing of raising your children well! You are making a difference! If you want to know more about Homestead for Youth please check out Carla's video below which goes for less than two minutes :)