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Support and rhymes help teen work through troubled times

15 October 2018

A supportive environment has helped Liam focus on what’s important to him; his school work and rap lyrics.

Liam is well spoken for a 17 year old but he still prefers to let his rap lyrics tell his story.

He is just more comfortable expressing himself this way.

The teenager has had an unsettled adolescence, moving in with a friend’s family earlier this year before finding his way to MercyCare’s Carlow House.

Carlow House is a medium-term, supported, accommodation service for young people aged 16-19 years of age who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

“There’s always the staff members on site who can help you through things,” Liam said.

As a resident at Carlow House, he was required to do his share of chores around the house to keep everything neat and tidy and prepare him to live independently.

He said the chores roster taught him to keep on top of things around the house and monthly house dinners provided a nice communal meal for all the residents.

“I’ve learnt a lot of things, maybe matured a little bit,” Liam said.

Being at Carlow House is not just about having a roof over your head, Liam also worked with the onsite youth workers to help him work towards his goals in life.

It would have been easy for a 17 year old who has had his fair share of challenges in life to give up or not take the idea of ‘life goals’ seriously, but Liam was determined.

He spent much of his down-time at Carlow House scribbling down lyrics in a notebook or typing ideas for raps into his phone, in between home-work of course.

Liam loves American rap and hopes to one day make a living from his rapping but knows it makes sense to get qualifications that will help him find work.

He’s currently in Year 12 and he’s keen to graduate, head to TAFE to do a Diploma in Screen and Media and then head to university to do more study so he can work in 2D animation and 3D modelling.

“I’m breaking it down into small attainable goals, if you look at it as this huge thing then you’ll never make it, but if you look at it in small parts, you take steps to get there,” he said.

The final year of school can be difficult for anyone and Liam admits his unique home-life has made him feel a bit like an outsider at times.

“At first it was pretty hard to relate the outside world with school life, it meant that I couldn’t talk to people in my school because they wouldn’t understand it or hadn’t experienced something like that or had anything to do with any sort of adult-situation, yet I was doing both at the same time, and I still am,” he said.

Liam said what has helped him in recent months was the support from the youth workers at Carlow House.

They helped him focus on the things that matter and what he enjoys doing; his rapping.

Liam shared his raps, or as he says “he’d spit” his raps, with some of the youth workers at Carlow House who are onsite 24 hours.

Not long after moving into Carlow House Liam got a chance to perform in front of an audience as part of an open mic night

After that moment Liam decided for sure that he wanted to make rapping a part of his future.

The youth workers encouraged him with his rapping.

“Calvin’s been a lot of help, pretty much whenever I write something or do something, I always show him, he’d always encourage me to do more,” Liam said.

Kat, one of the youth workers, even found a recording studio that was willing to give Liam some recording time to lay down a track.

“I was very, very happy when Kat told me about that and then pretty much straight away I went to check that out and introduce myself and the dude told me I could come back and record,” Liam said.

“I came back a week or so later with my draft version of this.”

His song Welcome, describes some of the experiences he’s been through to get to this point.

Liam, who raps under the stage-name ‘Keoto’ is keen to promote his rap work and get his song online and heard by more people in the future.

But for the next couple of months at least his focus will be finishing his final year of school though.

“I want to make sure I do everything right,” he said.

After his time at Carlow House, Liam moved on to a more independent living arrangement in July.

He is motivated to make something of his life and he wants to be in control of his destiny but says Carlow House had helped in that process.

Youth workers at Carlow House encourage young people to build their confidence, self-esteem, strong relationships and support networks for moving into private or shared accommodation and adulthood.

The program assists in preparing youth to live independently and address individual issues impacting their ability to find accommodation.

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