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“As a young person growing up in state care, all I’ve ever wanted is to be heard.”

Paige has had a challenging life journey. She was born in prison, has spent most of her life in state care, and she has lived through abuse, disadvantage and substance use.

But with the right support, this inspiring young woman is overcoming the hurdles life has presented her with.

As part of our Inside Out program, Concern Australia Youth Workers have been supporting Paige to learn to live independently, set goals and make positive life choices.

“For a long time I thought I’d end up dead or on drugs, because you often become what you’re told you are, but I’ve defied expectations despite what life has thrown at me,” Paige says.

“I think I’ve had 15 addresses in the last three years. Up until 2018 I was so lost and so broken. That all changed in 2018 when I was fostered by a great family. They were patient with me, gained my trust and didn’t leave me alone until I learnt to accept they cared about me.”

“I’m back at school and have a part-time job. I live independently, near my foster family and although I’m still battling demons from years of abuse, neglect and rejection I have hope.”

And she is really shining.

In early December after much preparation, Paige gained her driver’s licence. She is understandably overjoyed at reaching such a significant milestone.

And in late November, Paige found out she was one of the winners of the ABC’s new Takeover Melbourne initiative, giving young people a platform to be heard. She worked with an ABC producer to create a powerful audio piece about her life story.

After a lifetime of feeling her voice was not being heard, she has earned the opportunity to share her story far and wide.

You can listen to Paige’s story on the ABC website.

Paige, a proud young Aboriginal woman, is now hoping to use her difficult life experiences to help others.

“I am hoping to become a Koorie engagement support officer and help other Indigenous young people achieve their potential,” she says.

“I give talks to teachers and DHHS workers about my experiences so they can better support traumatised children.”

“I’ve realised that you are never too vulnerable or too young to have a voice.”

Don’t forget your voice matters. Always.

You can support young people such as Paige. Donate to our Christmas Appeal.

Find out about the Christmas Appeal and how you can support young people facing the fallout from COVID-19.

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