Inspiring young people to find self-worth & helping foster carers, social workers and other professionals to continue improving care for young people.
About the project
My name is Nick Barwick and I am a motivational speaker. But more importantly, I am a care leaver.
I am the eldest of 6 children and was born and raised in Bristol, United Kingdom.
I was taken into the care system at the age of 13 after suffering years of physical, sexual and emotional abuse from a distant relative. I struggled with feelings of rejection, anger, grief, self-loathing and emotional pain to name a few. I felt like a Volcano that was ready to erupt. Many people reacted to the symptoms of the problems that I had rather than reacting to the problem itself which made my symptoms spiral out of control.
For many of my teenage years I struggled with feelings of severe anger and would constantly be involved in altercations with the other kids at school and my youth club. I became a target for the school bullies and was often known as "the fat kid who didn't have any parents" and for a long period of time, i believed this to be true.
Whilst I was in the care of my foster parents I was often called a 'theif' because I used to help myself to their chocolates although they told me I could help myself to anything I wanted. However, when I decided to eat their chocolates, they called this stealing! So, as you can see, I had mixed messages from my carers. I was constantly told that i looked untidy and they often made reference to my weight. I was also labeled as a compulsive liar throughout my time in care.
I was told for many years that I would never achieve, I would never be able to work with children and young people. I was also told that I would struggle to maintain relationships and I would never have an intimate relationship. I was written off before I was even given an opportunity.
After 12 months of therapy, I decided that I no longer wanted 'professionals' judging me in a negative way and having them predict what I was going to turn out like. So, at age 15 i decided that i wanted to achieve and prove people wrong. I was on my 7th social worker at the time and felt like I was being constantly rejected by people so I took control. I settled down in school, increased the effort I put in education and controlled my aggression.
From that moment, I gained 8 A-C's in my GCSE's, 3 A Levels, passed my driving test, got myself a girlfriend, obtained a 2:1 BA Honors degree in Theatre & Professional Practice and then got married to my girlfriend in April 2015.
Below is a picture of me before I began suffering abuse. I do remember that there were good times when I was a child.
Why am I telling you this?
For many years I felt as though I had no purpose, I had no direction and I had no worth. By the actions of certain people in my life, I realised that I had worth and I had a purpose for my existence. This is something that a lot of young people growing up in the care of social services feel.
How can you help?
The aim of my project is go into different communities within the United Kingdom sharing my story and experiences with foster carers, social workers and young people to help improve the experiences that children have whilst in care. This project involves presenting to professionals about my life and helping them to realise how certain decisions made to 'benefit' young people in care can have positive and negative consequences.
This project will also allow for me to be able to do training sessions for foster carers called "It's A Kids Life" where they will be able to go on a journey to try and understand how it feels for a young person going through the system.
This project and funding for it will allow for events to be held for young people from a variety of backgrounds to give them an opportunity to make positive relationships within their community and an opportunity to listen to my story and feel like they can relate to me and realise that I didn't let my past effect my future.
Through helping fund this cause, you are giving me an opportunity to inspire these young people to find a direction and find their self-worth. Prove Your Worth does not mean proving your worth to other people but it is about proving your worth to yourself and once that worth is found then it will shine through and others will see that worth too.
What will this project do?
This project will motivate foster carers to continue caring and loving young people.
This project will motivate social workers to continue to make a difference to young people.
This project will inspire young people to make a positive change in their life to help them reach the potential that they all have.
This project will also allow for more care leavers to join the project and share their experiences with young people, foster carers and social workers.
This project will provide young people with the tools needed to have a positive future.
Is this a good cause?
This cause is one that can really make a difference. Certain people made a difference in my life and now i'd like to be given the opportunity to make a difference to others with your help.
Help me inspire others that can go on to inspire others.
How will your money be spent?
. Venue Hire - Nothing in this day and age seems to be free and we want to give young people from a variety of backgrounds and opportunity to come to a great venue and have a great day. We also want to be able to hold a 'Prove Your Worth' event for social workers, foster carers and other professionals to come and hear our stories and to be educated on what it is really like for a young person growing up in the care system. We want them to leave feeling inspired, motivated and ready to continue making a difference to young people's lives.
. Travel - We want to be able to offer assistance for young people and families that may struggle to get to events due to their circumstances and geographical location. Whether we put on a coach/minbus or even provide taxis for families who struggle. This money will also be used to transport any other care leavers joining the project as care leavers are nationwide and we don't want to restrict on location.
. Memorabilia - for the young people attending events such as T-Shirts and hats to be able to wear with pride.
. Fimling of events - We want to be able to give the young people a memory of the event they have come to and an opportunity to experience what it is like to be on camera (Should they wish/be allowed)
. Marketing - We want to be able to create posters, leaflets, be advertised in the local newspapers etc.
. Any money left over will be used to have even more events spreading positivity and giving young people the best opportunity to feel inspired, motivated and ready to get on the path towards finding their worth and having a bright future.
If you feel like this is a worthwhile cause then please donate and know that your money is going to be used to contribute towards young people's personal and emotional development as well as educating care givers about our experiences and what worked for us and what didn't.