‘I am much happier now’

Mika Jeuring was fourteen years old when he was placed out of his home due to an unsafe home situation. The new 18-year-old Social Work student wants to help get other people what he needed in his situation. The Hip-Hop scene plays an important role in this: “The freedom you have when writing music is amazing.”

Mika grew up in Dalen, Drenthe. As a young kid, he loved to make a competition out of everything. “I was a really annoying kid back in the day. I was stubborn and would push to get what I wanted.” If Mika didn’t get his way, he would explode and didn’t shy away from heavy discussions. Partially due to his ADHD, autism and going through three divorces between his parents, he was overwhelmed and couldn’t live at home anymore. He went to special education in Zwolle and was helped there. “I was sensitive to noise, which distracts me. At special education, the groups are smaller and there is more coaching. That really helped me. School became a lot clearer for me.”

Studying is still a challenge

At this special education school, Mika got his HAVO-degree and he is now, for the first time, studying at HBO level at a regular school. He enjoys his studies, although he has to work hard for it. “ADHD and autism make it that my qualities and flaws are not in balance. I find prioritizing, planning and keeping an overview of my work very difficult, but I do get very high grades for some courses.” At his secondary school, Mika was used to getting homework and planners from teachers. That is how he knew what to do for his classes and he could finish his homework at school. This is different now that he studies at an HBO level at Windesheim. “For the first few weeks, I didn’t even know that we had homework. It is a lot of individual work and I have to learn how to deal with that. Studying through Microsoft Teams and the other online learning environments does really throw you off the deep end.”

Happy with music

If Mika wants to change his mood, he likes to listen to music. He particularly enjoys raps or likes to write them himself. “At the same time that I got placed out of my home, I started listening to Hip-Hop. My coach heard that and pointed me to some great artists. He also listened to Hip Hop and we would share that with each other. That is how I ended up in the Hip Hop-world.” Mika’s favourite artists? The American J. Cole and the Zwolse Sticks are on number one. “At one point, I started to listen to the lyrics instead of the music and I thought it was really cool that you could talk about all these things as a rapper, things that seem really boring in a normal conversation.” A few years ago, Mika ended up at the Fakkelteit in Zwolle, where young people learn to write their own lyrics. “At first it was a little awkward, but the freedom to write and pick words that suit well is amazing. That makes me so happy.”

Living on an estate

Mika has some contact with his mother and sees her regularly over the weekend. “We are calmer now and can more easily talk to each other and talk about the past.” Since last fall, Mike lives at his own place with three other roommates in a youth-care centre on the Herfte, an estate just outside of Zwolle and he is doing a lot better. “Back in the day, I was lonely and by myself all the time. More recently, I have been contacting friends and staying in touch. I have got a lot of friends now but I do notice that Corona has stopped me from socializing. I am not the most outgoing person out there so I try to challenge myself to still socialize. I can write a nice text but it would also be nice to share that with someone.” If Mika is stuck, he can always get help from his coach and he is very satisfied with that. “Without him, I would not have got to where I am now. The help I got was amazing and I hope that I can pass this on and do it for someone else down the line. I find it very important to be surrounded by people that care about me. Before I was placed out of the house, I felt very lonely and couldn’t really express my feelings to anyone. I notice that I am much happier now.

Text: Reinhilde van Aalderen
Foto’s: Jasper van Overbeek

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