Jack and Joseph’s Story
Jack and Joseph are Bronze Award holders from The Oaks Secondary School, a special educational need school near Middlesborough. For their Volunteering section, their DofE group visited 16 beaches over 16 weeks collecting almost 170 bags of rubbish, aiming to clean up their local beauty spots. Their efforts saw the school nominated for and win the County Durham Environment Award.
“Cleaning litter up every week for three months was a very enjoyable experience. For the most part we did it for the animals and marine life who hang out in that area and it felt good to be able to help. My autism affects my motor skills greatly, which are needed when doing DofE. It didn’t stop me doing it but it does make it more challenging, even things like washing up are that little bit harder so I have to be more determined but I really wanted to achieve my DofE Award. The Duke set up the DofE so a large number of children would benefit. He was a really cool guy and The Queen was lucky to marry him! I’ve really benefitted from doing the DofE, it was a good decision and today I feel very lucky to be a part of this.”
“History is my favourite subject at school because it’s so interesting to learn about. I’m mainly interested in wars and my main hobby is building miniature WW2 tanks, so I did painting my tanks for my Skills section. We did beach cleaning for our Volunteering section and it was very interesting and fun, it’s important to make sure the environment is not dirty. We need to all make sure that the animals won’t die from the plastic rings used for beers. DofE taught me how dangerous litter is for the environment, I got more out of the experience than I thought I would and helping made me feel good. I’m going to college to study media, film and TV. The skills I’ve learned from DofE, like teamwork, will help me behind the scenes at TV shows where you have to work together.”
DofE Leader, Mrs Burdett highlights the importance of young people growing in confidence through their DofE:
“The DofE is for everyone, and we do try to reach as many of our students as possible, tailoring the programme to suit the learners. DofE is for everybody, not just the outdoorsy types. It’s great for them to get out and explore, to have an adventure and the opportunity to communicate with each other as lots of our students struggle with that social aspect. To be able to offer them teamwork and leadership activities is important for them as we see a huge increase in their confidence and ability to talk to each other. These young people aren’t always allowed to be independent as they are capable of being, the DofE gives them that opportunity.”