Education charity AQA and the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust are calling for teachers to nominate their students for Unlocking Potential, a unique mentoring scheme which pairs teenagers who have faced personal challenges with Team GB Olympians and elite athletes.
The call comes at an event today (Monday 10 November 2014) to celebrate the programme's successes and launch nominations for 2015.
Unlocking Potential will see young people join with sporting stars including Olympian and Double Commonwealth swimming champion, Ross Davenport. They will receive support and guidance from their athlete mentors and deliver a community project over the course of eight months.
Now in its fourth year, Unlocking Potential is once again looking to develop the skills, confidence, motivation and self-belief of a new group of young people who with that extra support will achieve the best possible outcomes in their education.
One success story from last year is 16-year-old Ross from Waltham Forest who had a hard start in life. He was paired with professional taekwondo athlete Romaine Bailey. Romaine helped Ross organise a basketball tournament between primary schools in Ross' local area, to inspire children to take up the sport. Children from Ross' former primary school attended the tournament and said that Ross was a role model to them.
"I feel like I'm back on track now. Working on this project has given me opportunities I would never have had otherwise."
Nominations can be made by teachers who recognise unfulfilled potential and feel their students will benefit from intensive mentoring.
Sadie Visick, AQA Director of Communications and Marketing, said:
"Although AQA is best known as an exam board, we're also a charity which is committed to helping students make the most of their potential. We've seen the incredible impact the scheme has on the lives of the young people who take part – and on our staff too, who volunteer their free time to support them. Next year, we aim to work with twice as many students – so we are calling on teachers to get their nominations in so that as many young people as possible can benefit."
Dame Kelly Holmes, DBE, MBE, Double Olympic Champion and Chair of the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, said:
"So many young people need extra help to get their confidence and motivation up to aim high in life – I know I did. I've seen how Unlocking Potential and the mentoring support from my charity's team of world class athlete mentors has changed these young peoples' attitudes, and supported them to achieve in school and college. A huge well done to all those young people who came through this year's programme, and bring on 2015!"