Fostering a champion
To understand how you could change a young person’s life by becoming a foster carer you need to read the story of Carol and Blake – a foster carer and a world-class teenage athlete.
Carol became Blake’s foster carer after seeing a family finding advert which featured Blake in 2015.
His social worker Arooj explains that when Carol first began caring for Blake he was struggling: “He was low in self-confidence and was angry due to his past family experiences. He needed someone to believe in him and nurture him.” Carol stepped up and looked for ways to overcome some of the challenges Blake was facing. She turned to the sport of karate which is well documented to improve fitness, self-discipline and confidence.
Part of the family
Carol said: “When Blake became part of the family I wanted him to experience new things and be able to have a feeling of achievement. My grandson had become a black belt at age nine so I thought Blake would be interested in Karate to improve his confidence and self-esteem”.
Blake relished the sport and took every opportunity to train, sometimes four times a week. In addition to his training he also helped to teach younger students at Weoley Castle Shotokan Karate Club (WCSKC), where Carol has had strong links for over twelve years. Blake entered numerous competitions and won many medals along the way. He became British Champion in June 2018 but more was to come.
Having spent time with Blake Carol explained: “I knew his intentions were positive, but he had no way to channel his energy into something both challenging and rewarding. Karate was that outlet.”
In October 2018 Blake represented England at the World Kickboxing and Karate Union World Championships in Athens, Greece. He achieved a remarkable silver medal in the 13-17 age group under 60kg category, narrowly missing out on the gold medal to a German fighter in the final.
Carol is very proud of Blake, adding: “There was a point just before he achieved his black-belt that he wanted to give it all up, but I encouraged him to carry on. To his credit he got his black-belt – and it took just three years!
“It is a remarkable achievement and a testament to Blake’s dedication to the sport”.
“However, it’s not just Blake’s achievements that I am proud of, it is his personality. On the evening that Blake took his black belt grading, Blake was one of six students. He was the only one that failed but instead of sulking, being angry or upset, the first thing he did was make sure he shook the hands of and congratulated those that did get their belts that day.”
Carol was recognised at the Birmingham Children’s Trust first annual Foster Carer Awards, held in November, winning a ‘Remarkable Achievement’ trophy for her support and development of children and young people.
Can you make a difference?
If you become a foster carer to make a positive difference to the lives of young people in Birmingham, contact Birmingham Children’s Trust today.
You can ring 0121 303 7575 or complete a simple enquiry form on our website at: wwww.birminghamchildrenstrust.co.uk/enquiryaf.