Sixteen year old Ben has lived in Somerset with his Blue Sky foster carers, Jane and David, for about a year.
During that time, he has grown into a mature young man with a great deal of empathy for others, a quality that he is using to change the life of a person less fortunate than him.
Duke of Edinburgh - 'volunteering section'
Ed Thompson, Participation Co-ordinator and Duke of Edinburgh Programme Manager for Blue Sky, takes up his story:
“Ben and I met up one evening a couple of weeks ago to talk about the ‘volunteering section’ of his Duke of Edinburgh Award. Young people can choose any activity they wish and ours certainly undertake some amazing challenges, but when Ben told me about his challenge, I literally had goosebumps!”
A 'chance' meeting
The story goes back a little way to Ben’s school’s end of term activities day when a member of a wheelchair basketball club came along to give pupils the chance to take part in the activity and to understand how people who are wheelchair dependent are given the chance to enjoy such a fast-paced and exciting sport.
Now, Jane and David are justifiably proud of Ben, so when he came home and said he was really interested in taking up the sport, David contacted their nearest club. David was shocked by the reponse:
“It’s a 50 minute drive away, so I was surprised when the man who answered the phone said he was the one who had visited the school that day and he remembered Ben, very well, as he was brilliant at it!”
Jane and David agreed they would be more than happy to take Ben along to the club every Sunday morning to give him a physical hobby, a chance to meet other people and be part of a team. But there was more to Ben’s plans than they realised.
Fundraising to help others
“Ben decided to make this his ‘volunteering section’ for his Duke of Edinburgh Award, his aim is to raise enough money to get a specially adapted wheelchair for the club so someone without the use of their legs can enjoy the sport, too. When I heard his idea, I melted. It is such a kind thought and his empathy with those less physically able than him is truly inspirational. I know he’ll achieve his goals.”
“David and Jane are fantastic foster carers who are giving Ben the happy childhood and youth he richly deserves. When they describe him as “brilliant”, “amazing” and tell me they “could talk about him all day”, I know he’s absolutely with the right foster carers. He’s changed their lives as much as they’ve changed his.
Who could ask for more? This is why I know we all have the best jobs, ever!” If you could change lives like Jane and David to care for a young person as inspirational as Ben, please, get in touch.