KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Keimonie Madison has seen a lot in her short 17 years on this planet, so she's using her voice to enact change for herself and those around her.
"I don't like to label myself as a rapper. I like to say that I'm a poet," the Turner High senior said.
She has quite the story to tell.
"I grew up in a neighborhood with homicides every other week," Keimonie said.
She was just a child, seeing things no child ever should like gang violence and drug dealers.
"I went to a school where kids -- the drop out rate was significant," she said.
Born into a family where it was normal to see her mom being physically abused daily, Keimonie is the definition of overcoming adversity.
Her mother moved the family twice, and each time, they found themselves in the same situation.
It wasn't safe for us to walk down the street to the boys and girls club, but we did every day," Keimonie said.
It was while living in Hawthorne Place Apartments that she discovered her local Boys and Girls Club.
"I met some really great leaders who helped me exhort that negative energy that I had toward society and everything into something great," she said.
You see, Keimonie was closed off to the world, quiet. She said she kept all her emotions bottled up.
"I didn't really like opening up to people because I always felt like what happened in my household, stayed in my household," the teen said.
It was through the Boys and Girls Club that Keimonie discovered her love of storytelling through music.
"She's always at 100 percent," said Jamel Malone, a mentor through the Boys and Girls Club.
Malone has known Keimonie for five years. In that time, he's seen her grow immensely into a leader in her community.
"She brings a great energy to the club and to her peers," Malone said.
Keimonie said her passion is being a positive example for the youth around her, and she hopes to inspire as many students as she can through her music.
The Turner High senior is a KC Scholar and this past summer was awarded $50,000 for continuing education. She plans to attend Kansas State and one day plans to be a crime scene investigator.
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