Foster children from Dunmow nominated for YOPEY
PUBLISHED: 13:41 27 January 2009 | UPDATED: 07:09 30 May 2010
TWO Dunmow teenagers, who believe they would have ended up turning to drugs and crime if they had not been fostered, have been nominated for Essex Police Young People of the Year. Phillip Gordon and Kerry Thacker, both 17, suffered neglect and unhappiness
TWO Dunmow teenagers, who believe they would have ended up turning to drugs and crime if they had not been fostered, have been nominated for Essex Police Young People of the Year.
Phillip Gordon and Kerry Thacker, both 17, suffered neglect and unhappiness during their childhoods but have turned their lives around after their foster mother, Rachael Evans, from Church End, suggested they started volunteering.
Since then Kerry has been helping out at the local Brownies and at a special needs youth club, while Philip gives his time to The Arts Centre in Dunmow.
Mrs Evans said: "I am immensely proud of them because despite everything they have been through, they are in the process of achieving everything they want in life.
"Philip's mother suffered from severe learning difficulties so most of the time he had to look after himself. He survived on leftovers and even stole from shops to feed himself.
"Kerry was a frightened and withdrawn little girl [when she arrived]. Her life experiences were limited and she was placed in care because her family were not able to meet her needs.
"They both deserve recognition for making a good future for themselves and setting a fantastic example for other children who are in the care system."
As a joint entry for YOPEY, Philip and Kerry are now in the running to win a top cash prize of £1000.
Phillip, who is currently studying a diploma in performing arts at Braintree College, said: "I want to prove to everyone that just because I am a foster kid it does not mean that we are all abused, take drugs and turn to crime.
"I have realised that I don't have to make do with what I get in life. I can set a target and achieve exactly what I want."
Kerry, who was placed with the Evans family at 14, proved herself extremely bright by achieving 13 GCSEs at Passmores School in Harlow. She is now studying for four A-levels at Helena Romanes Sixth Form Centre, Dunmow.
She said: "It is possible that if I hadn't ended up here, I would not have had a good education. I think I might have ended up in a dead-end job or worse involved in crime like people I used to know in the past."
* YOPEY closes to entries, aged 10-25, this Saturday (January 31). Young people can enter themselves. To nominate visit www.yopey.org or write to Essex Police YOPEY, PO Box 103, Hare Street, Ware SG9 0XD. Stansted Airport hotel Radisson will be hosting a lavish awards ceremony in March.