Olympic, Commonwealth and World Championship medallist Kriss Akabusi MBE has joined forces with Milton Keynes Council to support national Foster Care Fortnight, which starts on 1 June.
The former athlete, TV personality and motivational speaker gave an exclusive interview to Milton Keynes Council about his own experiences as a child in care and why he is encouraging local people thinking of becoming foster carers to take the next step.
He also shared some words of wisdom for current carers, who he says do an invaluable job for the young people they look after, as well as for the community.
"Being a foster carer is a sacred responsibility" says Kriss. "Regardless of what you see today, the person you have in your care can really make you proud in the future."
Kriss, who was placed with a number of private carers during his childhood when there were fewer regulations than there are now, has had both good and bad experiences, but says that they all made him who he is today. And this is why he is keen to help the council encourage anyone thinking of becoming a foster carer to give it a go.
He said: "If you are unsure, do it! Even if it turns out it's not for you a year or so down the line, you've had a go, you've made a difference in that time. You may take to it and if you do you'll be doing a service to the community and to a young person who will live a great life."
Reflecting on his own experiences, for Kriss, the key to a young person's success is to focus on their strengths.
Kriss added: "Find out what their personal strength is and welcome it; be positive and give them credit for what they're good at. Of course as any parent would, you must give them guidance and instil a sense of responsibility, but as well as that give them praise, focus on their talents and you'll be surprised where life will take them, thanks to you."
As part of the campaign, the Milton Keynes Council Fostering Team will be running a local 'drop in' on Wednesday 3 and Tuesday 9 June in the reception area in Saxon Court, 502 Avebury Boulevard Central Milton Keynes from 5-6.30pm.. Anyone who would like an informal chat about becoming a foster carer is welcome to go along.
Anyone who is unable to attend the drop in can call the fostering duty line 01908 253206 or visit www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/fostering
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