December 12, 2022

Chloe-Jo’s journey

Finding a more positive path

At 17, Chloe-Jo has been through a lot.

Growing up, she was bullied at school and living in a home with little love and no stability. For various reasons, she wasn’t able to live with her mum and didn’t get along with her dad, so spent a lot of her time trying to find somewhere else to be.

“I feel like I missed out on a lot of my childhood because I had to act a lot older to try and get away from there,” she explains. “I spent a lot of time away from home. I used to try to go to friend’s houses all the time because I just didn’t want to be there. I was looking for any alternative.”

Chloe-Jo feared she’d have to drop out of school before reaching Year 10 and didn’t feel she could find anywhere she truly belonged. Eventually she ran away from home to be with her mum.

“That whole process was pretty scary. I’d never done anything like that before,” she says. “It took a lot of guts and a lot of planning. But once I was with mum it was time to start mending myself… I wasn’t the kid my mum remembered. I hadn’t seen her for a while. So, it was just about trying to get back into things and learn what a positive household was. And building trust, I didn’t have trust in anyone really because of how low my self-esteem was.”

For a while she slept on the couch, then in a friend’s bus, and ended up sharing a room with her mum in a place too small to accommodate a growing teenage life. When Kids Under Cover offered to build studio accommodation in their backyard, Chloe-Jo’s journey quite quickly began to take a more positive path.

“I loved watching the building process. That was one of my favourite things because it was finally like seeing all the plans come together. It was my room. It was mainly about space because I need my own space to study or even just have time for myself. Or have space for my friends to come and hang out and it was so good when I finally got that.”

For Chloe-Jo, it seems like such a simple solution to what was a complex situation. But her studio offers a stability she has lacked most of her young life. It’s also helped her build the confidence to move forward and achieve her goals.

“It just made me feel so much better because I finally had a place that I could call home and feel comfortable in. I love my room and I love my space. And sometimes, I don’t really want to go anywhere else. Because this is what I can call mine. Which is such a good feeling.”

Chloe-Jo is now balancing Year 11 exams with work experience at an accounting firm.