Twenty-one-year-old Dominick is working day-by-day to build a better life for himself. A rap artist, he writes and performs songs about his experiences, hoping to ensure that Maine youth don’t feel as alone and unsupported as he did when he was younger.
“When I was fifteen, I was very angry and bitter. I was just one of those kids who wanted to fight. It’s all I knew how to do. I’d had to fight my whole life. I wanted to hurt people because I was hurting.”
After experiencing abuse and neglect throughout his childhood, Dominick found himself incarcerated at Long Creek Detention Center in his early teens. While there, he connected with Maine Inside Out (MIO), a group that collaborates with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people to create original theater as a catalyst for social change. Inspired by the authenticity of the facilitators, several of whom had similar experiences to himself, Dominick began performing with them.
Upon his release from Long Creek at age 18, Dominick was homeless. He eventually connected with Preble Street Teen Services, collaborating with a caseworker to develop and attain his goals. His perseverance and resilience are paying off, and today Dominick is housed, working toward his GED, maintaining his mental health with the support of therapy, and has six years of advocacy work under his belt.
Earlier this year Dominick performed one of his raps, “Better Days”, for youth from Lewiston Middle School as part of his outreach with Maine Inside Out.
“I was surprised to see that a lot of these kids were as broken as I was when I was a kid. When I witness that it makes me want to help these kids however I can. If they can get anything out of my life, I want them to be able to feel like there’s hope for them to grow and change.”