Catching up with our young champions - part two

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Picking up from where we left off on part one of our young champions blog, here’s Cherise and Jak talking about their experiences with the programme.

Cherise

Family: A group consisting of two parents and their children living together as a unit – Oxford Dictionary Definition.

Yeah, for some people this is true, but for me, it couldn’t be more different.

I am Cherise, I am 19 and my mum has been a foster carer for eight years. Family to us is a group of people who love and care for each other. Some people might find their mum being a foster carer hard because they might worry it would break the bond they share.

But, for me, it was exciting, as I could share this amazing person who brought me up and made me the person I am today. I have no idea where I would be without my mum and I know no matter what, she will always be there for me.

Have you ever stopped for even a second to think that some children don’t have the same relationship with their mum as you do? It is crazy to think there are children out there growing up with parents who have a hard time showing their children they care about them, some parents even hurt their children both physically and emotionally. Luckily, there are other amazing carers out there who can look after them.

Like anything in life, there are hard times and ups and downs, and not everything is easy in our house all the time. But being a young champion with The Fostering Network, I know I can meet up with everyone and we can share and unload.

It is like another family, meeting up with everyone and chatting about our experiences and how we want to change things for other children and young people.

Jak

I am Jak, I am 18 and I study nursing at the University of Dundee. My family starting fostering when I was 13. I didn’t have any fears as such when we started, but I didn’t want older kids coming to stay.

My parents were respite carers for a while and so we have had over 20 kids live with us over the years. Sometimes it has worked better than others. When the kids want to be part of our family it really works.

'When the kids want to be part of our family, it really works.'

People say to us all the time, ' I couldn’t do what your family do” and “I have so much respect for foster carers, it must be so hard.' But, mostly it’s just fun.

Another misconception is that the children we foster will be adopted or there will be a happy ending. But, that isn’t the case with everyone. We don’t know what happens to some of them when they leave us.

I became a young champion because I wanted to have a support group where everyone understands each other’s experiences. I have learned so much from everyone else in the group, it’s been important to have a mix of people involved. I also enjoy the days out to raise awareness and to promote The Fostering Network.

 

In case you missed it, here's the first of this three part young champions series.