If you were to ask me who my hero is, one of the first people I would think of is my brother Rob. At school he was as good as written off by his teachers, he's dyslexic but back then too many teachers equated that with laziness and I suspect there were several who failed to spot his potential. Comparing our school reports is telling, I am frequently described as "hardworking"or "conscientious" and only criticised for being too quiet and failing to "add to class discussions." Rob's reports tell of "silliness", "untidiness" and "being easily distracted."
Despite not getting the support he should have been given at school Rob was always single-minded in his wish to work with young people. Over time he had many jobs, sometimes with youngsters, often not. For a while he worked with homeless adults, supporting the people that society most abhors but that drive to help vulnerable teenagers never left him and through hard work and determination he eventually achieved his goal and found a job with St Christopher's Fellowship in London. He is now their New Business Development Manager so clearly his dedication is finally being recognised.
The sort of young person St Christopher's helps is often not the type certain sections of the media look kindly upon. They've been involved with drugs, been part of gangs, are often seen as little more than "hoodies with asbos." People who work for St Christopher's though see something different; the child who has been abused at home, the teen who can see no future beyond gang life because nobody has ever told them otherwise, the youngster who has fled to this country in fear of their life. These are children who have never climbed a tree, who are scared to try something new because they've never had anybody invest belief in them, who use bravado to disguise the fact they don't think they're worth bothering with.
St Christopher's tells them they do matter, they can be more and if they're willing to apply themselves and to work hard then they will receive the advice and support they need. They are given hope and learn to believe in themselves. If you can spare a few minutes please watch this video in which young people helped by St Christopher's talk of their journey towards independence. You might also like (please) to check out their website to find out more about their work and their aims. And if you should ever find yourself in a position where you would like to fundraise or donate money to a good cause please consider helping out St Christopher's. The kids helped might often appear difficult to love and may not have the aww factor of retired donkeys but many of them have so much potential and at St Christopher's there are people like my brother who can help them achieve it.