My name is Karaleigh, and I am a young caregiver.

I care for my mom who has mental health challenges and my brother who has autism.

My brother and I go to the same school. When he’s having issues in class, his teachers call me to help him with his breathing exercises to calm him down. When we’re home, I have to deal with the stress of both my brother and mother’s challenges.

Sometimes, I have to be in charge and control my brothers, but to be honest, I wish I could just be a kid. It’s hard for me to be a child when I always have to help out or when I worry about my brother or mother. I do get time to play with other kids, but I’m always worrying about them.

I used to be very upset with my mom for having mental health challenges, but now I’ve realized that this is just who she is and that it’s not her or anyone else’s fault.

Powerhouse is a place for me to go to get “me-time”. If I don’t take care of myself, I can’t take care of anything or anyone else. It’s helped me with the stress of worrying about and taking care of my family. It’s been so helpful and it makes me feel a bit better.

A lot of people I meet at Powerhouse have similar issues as me at home. It’s nice, because I can say what’s on my mind and what I worry about, and other kids can relate and give me examples of how they deal with it.

“It can be difficult being a young caregiver. Sometimes I just want to be a kid instead.”

– Karaleigh, 11 Years Old, Caring for her mother and brother