Today’s young people are dedicated, inspired and ambitious. They’ve risen to the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak, playing their part in their communities and helping those who need their support. 

But the pandemic has hit their mental health and wellbeing hard. It’s put their education, social lives and work on hold and, for some, led to increased stress, worry and loneliness,. 

As a new school year starts, the DofE can help young people develop the skills and character traits they need, including confidence, resilience and adaptability, to get through this crisis, safely expand their worlds and stand out in whatever they want to do. 

Our animations tell the real-life stories of four DofE Award holders, in their own words. Hear how their DofE helped them overcome personal challenges, find focus and motivation and achieve things they never thought they would. 

“The DofE gave me space for myself.”

Catherine explains how her DofE activities let her step back, escape and deal with her emotions after her mum was rediagnosed with cancer – and gave her memories to cherish, with and without her mum. 

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“My DofE showed me it’s who you are on the inside that counts.”

After being bullied because of poverty and her race, Lira tells how her DofE transformed her confidence and showed her what she was capable of – helping her reach goals she’d thought were impossible. 

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“It gave me a purpose, something to put my time and energy into.”

As a teenager, George struggled to control his anger. His Volunteering section helped him learn self-control, organisation and perseverance – and now he helps a younger generation do their DofE. 

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“Every bit of encouragement built me up.”

When Lucy started her DofE, she was too shy to speak to anyone. Getting to know her DofE group helped her relax and open up. Though she still has bouts of anxiety, she’s now a DofE Ambassador – and has even given speeches. 

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– If you’re a young person or a parent or carer, find out more about how you or your child can sign up to do their DofE – or speak to the DofE Manager or Leader in their school, college or youth organisation.

– If you’d like to run the DofE in your organisation, find out how 

– If you’d like to support the DofE so we can make a difference to more young people’s lives, please consider donating to the DofE charity 

– If you’re a young person struggling with your mental health, visit YoungMinds for help and advice. 

With thanks to ARC Studio, who created these animations.