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Kids Under Cover supports vulnerable young people at risk of homelessness by building studios
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When Aliesha Newman decided to tag along with a friend to the Melbourne Football Club women’s rookie trials, never in her wildest dreams did she think she would be running out onto Casey Fields for the historic first round of AFL Women’s.
Footy has always been part of family life for Aliesha, her sister Teagan and their Mum, who are huge fans of the Western Bulldogs. They are also great supporters of Kids Under Cover having received a two-bedroom studio back in 2015.
Aliesha and Teagan were at risk of leaving home due to severe overcrowding in their three-bedroom office of housing home after their Mum took on the care of three younger extended family members aged 9, 7 and 3. Often faced with chaotic conditions within the home and a great deal of conflict stemming from behavioural issues of the younger children the sisters had nowhere quiet to retreat to, study or simply be teenagers.
Since the installation of the studio, Aliesha and Teagan have completed year 12 and are now both working full-time. The studio provided the girls with the space and peace and quiet they needed to study and sleep, improving their wellbeing whilst keeping them connected to family, education and the wider community.
Both girls have continued to excel with their sporting endeavours, Teagan is now enjoying success with her weightlifting and Aliesha now focussed on the AFLW.
“I had never played AFL footy before, Mum always said I was “too small” so steered me towards soccer. I played soccer for seven years and have always been involved with athletics and other team sports. I know a lot about footy, but haven’t played a lot, so that is my focus now.”
“My friend actually barracks for Melbourne, so we decided to go along for a laugh,” says Aliesha. “Then the coach asked me to come back and have a kick, and well, the rest is history” she laughs.
Running out on that wet and windy Sunday in February for her first game with “The Dees” was certainly a surreal experience for Aliesha. “Until I got my first touch of the ball it didn’t seem real. I was overwhelmed, running out in front of such a crowd, I had a million things running through my head. Even after the game when my family and friends came up to me and kids were asking for my autograph, it all seemed like a dream.”
A dream come true that’s for sure!
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