James is an inspiration for us here at Blue Sky; he’s tackled personal challenges, channelling his energy towards helping others at the same time and we are so proud and privileged to be part of his life.
James lives in Hampshire with Wendy and her family. He is, without doubt, a very important and loved member of the household. James is clever, funny, bright and caring but, like many young people, he was unsure of himself and reluctant to push further than his boundaries. Then he discovered the Duke of Edinburgh Award (DofE) programme and things began to change.
Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award
Wendy takes up James’ story:
“Understandably, James was fearful of the unknown. We all are. But he faced his fears and decided to undertake the DofE Bronze Award. Blue Sky was the first fostering agency in the country to be licenced to offer the Awards to their young people so encouraged by us and everyone at Blue Sky, he decided to take the plunge!”
The Expedition and a sponsored walk
“Part of the Bronze award involved going on an outdoor expedition. Sleeping outside, the dark and keeping his dignity worried James but it proved a real turning point for him. He really enjoyed the physical activity, when he returned, he radiated good health and the positive comments about his appearance have kept him motivated to lose weight and get fit. It was due to this that James decided he wanted to do something positive with his new fit self, so he came up with the idea of a sponsored walk – a Macmillan Cancer Charity Walk – so far, he’s raised £114 for the charity, which is amazing and such an uplifting achievement.”
Going outside his comfort zone
Ed Thompson, DofE Programme Manager at Blue Sky is equally proud of James’ achievements:
“James has been an absolute example of what the DofE can do for young people when they put in the hard work and dedication and these are two things that can be attributed towards James. James is the first to say that he was nervous and unsure about taking on this challenge, as it was really outside of his comfort zone. He worked particularly hard to transform his physical health, losing weight and improving his cardio in the process.”
Aside from James’ physical transformation, he began to start believing that he could achieve and complete his award.
James led by example; he's a real team player
“The biggest challenge for all of us, was the expedition as it was outside of everyone's comfort zone. As he had done with every other section, James embraced it and exceeded all expectations. His newly improved stamina and physical ability allowed him to not only take part in the challenge, but to absolutely smash it out of the park! He led by example, helping ensure all the team achieved.”
James’ resolve to help others extends beyond his DofE Award and his charity walk. He also volunteers at his local church, helping with the cleaning and meeting new people. He loves cooking and embraces healthy eating.
Many thanks to...
....Wendy and her family, to Ed and all the young people who helped James on the expedition and in many more ways. Thanks to our local authority colleagues who kindly allowed us to share James’ story with you.
And the biggest thanks of all to James for making such a great, big, positive, difference, to his life and to others. James, you’re a star!
If you could help someone like James to achieve their goals, please, get in touch. We'll be beside you all the way as you change lives.