Dame Kelly Holmes has penned an open letter calling on teachers to spot their students potential and nominate them for Unlocking Potential, a mentoring programme for young people who have faced adversity, run jointly by AQA and the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust.
The deadline for nominations is Wednesday 14 January 2015.
Double Olympic Champion Dame Kelly Holmes said:
"I'm sure a lot of you reading this will be familiar with my story as an Olympian, winning double gold at Athens in 2004. What you may not know is that from a very young age, I learned to work hard for everything I had. School wasn't much fun for me until my PE teacher spotted my potential and told me I was good at running. Finding my talent changed my life forever. It gave me the chance to set my sights on a goal and motivated me to try and achieve something with my life.
"That's why my charity, the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, has worked with AQA for the past four years to deliver Unlocking Potential. As teachers, you have the opportunity to nominate your students for this unique programme, which pairs young people who've faced adversity with inspiring mentors, who support them whilst they organise a community project. The challenges and experiences that world-class athletes go through are not just to do with sport, they are transferable in life too.
"I'm a strong believer that it can take just one person to change the course of a young person's life, just like my PE teacher at school did for me. Knowing that someone believes they can achieve something, does so much for a young person's confidence. Especially one who has had a harder start in life.
"I've seen the young people who've taken part in Unlocking Potential go on an incredible journey over their time in the Unlocking Potential programme. The impact has been felt not just by them, but in their schools and communities too. Plenty of 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 has changed young peoples' attitudes and supported them to achieve in school and college and go on to jobs or university.
"By nominating your students for Unlocking Potential you can help a young person improve their self-belief and realise their potential through encouragement and mentoring. Maybe you'll help change their lives forever just like my teacher did for me.
"Good luck to the young people you nominate!"
Double Olympic Champion Dame Kelly Holmes, Chair of the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust.
For the majority of previous participants, taking part in Unlocking Potential improved their confidence, their engagement in school and raised their grades.
Now in its fourth year, Unlocking Potential gives young people to chance to work with an inspiring mentor to develop and launch a social project in their community. During this once in a lifetime experience, the students will:
Find out more about Unlocking Potential and nominate. The deadline for nominations is Wednesday 14 January 2015, nominate your students now and maybe you'll help change their lives forever just like Dame Kelly Holmes' teacher did for her.