story 26 January 2021

Aiming high: DofE gave Tom a confidence boost

Tom was introduced to The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) through his local volunteer police cadets and gained “a real sense of pride and achievement” from achieving his Bronze Award. His cadet colleagues played a vital role by supporting and motivating Tom throughout his DofE journey.

“I have Down’s Syndrome so I am very pleased I was able to participate and succeed with my DofE alongside my ‘mainstream’ friends. The team recognised my abilities and treated me with respect and working with the other cadets to achieve my goals was inspiring.”

With recent research revealing the positive impact that the DofE has on young people’s self-esteem, Tom recognises how doing his DofE helped him to grow in confidence – both as an individual and as part of a team.

“It gave me something to work towards. I overcame obstacles by paying careful attention to the other DofE participants and learning from them. I now feel more able to take on new challenges and confident I can complete them.”

Tom describes his expedition as a true test that required commitment and stamina. “I surprised myself by what I could do,” he admits. Completing the expedition and celebrating as a group was a highlight for him.

Metropolitan Police Officer Hayley, who was Tom’s DofE Leader, says, “Tom has overcome many challenges to achieve this Award. It was great to have him involved as part of the team and see him grow as a person.”

The DofE is achievable by any young person, regardless of their personal circumstances and Tom is proud to have been part of a well recognised youth award and to have worked his way through the various activities. Whilst doing his DofE, he also won two police cadet awards for community service.

“One of the most important lessons I learned from the DofE is that I have the ability to keep developing skills and the capacity to keep aiming higher. It has helped me to build my confidence and character, work better in a team and it’s been fun! Doing my DofE with people who treated me with such respect has also shown me how I can expect and deserve that kind of respect as an adult.”

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