Keeping up with Jeremy
Growing up with Downs Syndrome and Diabetes meant that Jeremy wasn’t always able to do the same exciting things as his three siblings. So when it was suggested to Jeremy that he do his Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, he jumped at the chance. His siblings have all achieved their Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards, and Jeremy wanted to as well.
Jeremy originally began his Bronze Award whilst he was in supported living, however he didn’t receive the support he needed to complete it. So on moving back to the family home, he was determined to give the Award another go – signing up to do his Gold Award. He wanted to make new friends, try different things and do some volunteer work.
[The Award has] made me feel so much happier. I like learning new things, so it was a good excuse to try a whole range of new activities. The [Award] has taught me that even if people say that you can’t do something, with hard work you can achieve anything.
Jeremy and his family were extremely nervous for his Adventurous Journey section since he’d chosen to do a walking expedition in Wales. This was the first time Jeremy had been away without knowing anyone – his routine was thrown, he had to do things he had never done before with complete strangers whilst also maintaining his blood sugars and camping outside. However, he returned with a new group of friends and a belief that he can do anything he puts his mind to.
Doing my DofE was great – I’ve made lots of new friends from all over the world and got fitter and I am so proud that I have achieved something my siblings have also done.
For Jeremy’s Skills section he learnt how to cook – a skill he feels has made him more independent, even looking into starting up his own soup making business. Doing his Award gave Jeremy a goal to work towards and was lucky enough to have the complete support of his family throughout. Jeremy is still helping at his local day centre and doing Zumba to keep fit, and has also been inspired by his Voluntary Service section – looking for volunteer work so that he can help as many people as possible.
Doing the [Award] will help me get a job as I struggle to gain work experience… It has given me self-confidence that I can achieve anything I want to, including getting a job.
*Thanks to DofE UK for sharing this Award story.