Charlize's story

3 minute read

Meet Charlize

Charlize is a 16-year old carer to her brothers, Calum and Casey, who were born with learning difficulties and autism.

Although Charlize often says she is a carer in formal situations, she doesn’t see herself as a ‘carer’.

'I’ll say I’m a young carer but I don’t really identify with it, I’m just a sister looking after my brothers.'

Charlize has always cared for others, whether it’s for her family or her friends. “Sometimes, I think I subconsciously take on a parenting role, but I don’t mean to. I just want to make sure everything goes smoothly for the people I love.” she said. Charlize jokingly calls herself the ‘dad’ friend of the group, 'My friends come to me with their problems and I always try to help where I can.'

Often, Charlize has to prioritise taking care of her brothers over socialising with her friends. Charlize’s caring responsibilities involve taking her brothers out or looking after them when her dad has a commitment.

However, Charlize doesn’t let any of this phase her and always tries to think positively. 'I’m not a fussy person, you have to live with what life gives you and move on,' she said.

Beyond her love and care for her family and friends, Charlize is a self-branded geek and lover of languages.

In her spare time she loves playing building games like Minecraft, where she can be creative and explore new virtual worlds. Charlize enjoys discovering quirky new phrases in foreign languages and has a particular interest in Japanese, Chinese and Korean. Charlize is at her best when she can explore her curiosities.

Charlize admits it can be tricky to wind-down at home when she is looking after her brothers because, as with all siblings, sometimes they have disagreements. However, when times are tough, one of the creative ways Charlize gets through is by cooking with her brothers. 'Cooking makes everything much more fun and breaks up the tension,' she said.

Making a positive impact

Charlize is passionate about spreading awareness of unpaid carers and making a positive impact in the carer community.

One of her proudest moments and biggest achievements was when she became a Young Carer Ambassador for Little Dreamers. In this role, she took part in workshops and was actively involved in brainstorming solutions for unpaid carers in government policy.

Charlize regularly uses the Carer Gateway website to stay up-to-date with what’s happening in the carer community and particularly likes receiving the weekly Carer Gateway emails that let her know when the next young carer meet-ups are scheduled. Charlize’s dad often accesses Carer Gateway for Charlize too, to find out what events for young carers are scheduled so she can connect with other young carers. Charlize is looking forward to these events and meeting more young carers like herself.

'Something I’ve learnt from talking with other carers, is we believe our purpose is to help others.'

After finishing school, Charlize sees herself in a career where she can help people. Whether she takes on an accounting role, becomes a teacher and teaches English or becomes a nutritionist to help fix Australia’s nutrition crisis, Charlize hopes to create a positive and lasting impact.