The story of Myles:
For one pupil, Myles, the Dot Com programme helped him turn his life around following his dad’s death. Myles believes the programme stopped him from being lured into gang culture.When the programme was introduced, Myles was at risk of permanent exclusion and – in his own words – was angry and behaving badly. The programme was used with Myles and his mum at home, helping Myles develop the tools, resilience and life skills he needed to deal with the shock and trauma of bereavement.
Within a year, Myles was on the school council and he now says that he doesn’t see the point of gangs and that ‘people should be able to live in their own area peacefully and calmly and not worry about the threat of violence from gangs’.
Myles has now successfully made the transition to secondary school and continues to be an ambassador for the Dot Com programme. His mum, who gave permission for her family’s story to be told, says ‘Dot Com saved my son’.
The inaugural Dot Com Foundation Inspiring Children’s Awards were held on the 3rd June 2016 at Aston Villa Football Club. Hosted by Anton Du Beke and Sir Hugh Orde, our CEO Sharon Evans and patron Kristina Rihanoff presented awards to eight inspiring children and five amazing adults. The Awards recognise the positive values and characteristics shown by exceptional children and the adults who support them.
The full list of award winners and the reason they won the awards are:
Esther Baker – Lifetime Achievement
Esther Baker – you are a wonderful example of the power of the human spirit to overcome suffering. The abuse you suffered as a child and into your teenage and adult years can only be described as unspeakable evil. Yet somehow you found the courage to escape from the cycle of abuse and put your own safety to one side so that you could help the police to carry out a criminal prosecution into a paedophile ring. You endured more than a hundred hours of video interviews to assist the police in their investigation, and you waived your anonymity to give an interview to Sky News to help give other victims the courage to come forward. Through your extreme bravery you are helping to make the world a safer place for children.
Please accept this award with our sincere admiration for your exceptional courage and passionate advocacy for other survivors and victims of abuse.
Nicky England – Inspiration Award
You are a wonderful inspiration to children. You were offered the opportunity to take part in the Dot Com programme and you embraced this to create the very best learning environment for your children. You helped children learn how to feel safe and how to understand their rights and responsibilities. You helped them learn how to express their feelings and believe that if they felt afraid or in need of help that you would listen to them. You supported them and nurtured them and gave them important life skills so they felt that they could tell you anything, no matter how big or how small. Through your teaching of the Dot Com Values programme you changed lives. You helped children learn how to know when they were safe and how to achieve success through living life by good values and making safer choices.
Your teaching is remarkable and inspiring!
Ruth Wylie – Inspiration Award
You are a wonderful example of how a positive mindset and caring attitude can inspire others and transform communities. You arrived as head teacher of Wrens Nest Primary School with a vision to take a school with poor results and low ambition and turn it into a jewel in the crown of the local council estate. You worked with staff, governors and families to help them believe in themselves which raised achievement and improved attendance. You raised the money to build a new school and improve the environment and lives of the children and staff. As part of your drive to raise aspirations and keep children safe you introduced the Dot Com programme and an enrichment programme giving children a better chance in life and parents the opportunity to take part in adult education. You are an inspirational leader.
Please accept this award with our heartfelt admiration and gratitude.
Margaret Lenton – Inspiration Award
Margaret you are a wonderful role model to children and parents who has been committed to your local school for more than 30 years. You have worked as a volunteer fundraising and organizing social events for parents and children. You worked as a dinner lady and lunchtime co-ordinator for many years and you used your creative skills in flower arranging to brighten up the school every day and to support events in the local community. When you could not do this any more you taught others the skill through adult education. When you were diagnosed with a life threatening illness you still couldn’t keep away and visited often to stay in touch with the children who had come to see you as an important part of their lives. When you recovered you returned to school as a cleaner and now keep the school in pristine condition. The love and dedication you have shown to children and staff and the way you faced serious illness has been inspiration to your community.
Please accept this award with our sincere admiration and gratitude.
Michael Peluso – Inspiration Award
To the outside world when you were growing up you seemed to have the perfect childhood and a loving Mum who was a celebrity actress and national treasure. But few people knew that your Mum Lynda Bellingham was in an abusive and violent relationship and it was many years before she spoke publicly about what she lived with during her marriage. Your Mum worried greatly about the affect the violence had on you and your brother and she helped Sharon and Neil Evans to start the Dot Com learning programme because she wanted to prevent children suffering. She was immensely proud of you when in your teenage years you volunteered to work for the charity. You used your life experience to help other lonely and vulnerable children who felt utterly alone and frightened and you helped to show them that you could make something positive from your life no matter what you suffered in childhood. In particular your work with young offenders creating a teenage soap opera to help prevent domestic violence was courageous and showed immense caring for others.
Lucy Stewart – Bravery
Born with a life threatening respiratory disease you have battled to overcome illness every day of your short life. But now aged 5 your determination and courage have become what defines you and not your illness. You have defied every warning that doctors have given your family and despite enduring four serious operations you have achieved your dream of attending school. You have now been at school for one year and are described as a joy to have around. You talk to other pupils about your illness and about how you cope with the challenges it presents. You are truly an inspiration to other children and adults.
Please accept this award with our heartfelt admiration.
Cleo Russell – Bravery
Your positive attitude to life and your caring nature have made you a natural leader and role model in your school. You live with diabetes and cope daily with regular injections, counting carbohydrates and blood glucose monitoring. You also help your Mum who is diabetic too, and when she is ill you take complete responsibility for managing your illness and your own medication. Despite this challenge, you are described by your teachers as always ‘smiling, energetic and caring’. You represent the school as a Young Leader supporting and playing with other children at break times. You are member of the Assembly Committee and School Council and so are a part of making important decisions about the running of your school. You also represent the school at a variety of sports events. You are an inspiration to your class and your school.
Please accept this award for your determination and bravery with our sincere admiration and gratitude.
Malachi Reid – Bravery
You had a very difficult start in life diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a very painful condition which affects your muscles. For a long time this condition prevented you from walking. But your positive mindset and dream of one day walking unaided and even playing football infected everyone in your school. The way you coped with your pain and the cheerful way you faced your daily challenges were an inspiration to pupils and staff, so much so, that the community raised £80,000 to send you to America for a life changing operation. When the school started the Dot Com learning programme many of the children mentioned you as their inspiration and role model. Your cheerfulness and sense of humour and your determination to overcome adversity is something that has made a difference to your whole school.
Please accept this award for your courage with our sincere admiration and gratitude.
Courtney Allen – Bravery
Since you were born, you have lived daily with intense pain and yet teachers report that you are always smiling and the child who is ready to play with anyone. You have used a positive mind-set to cope with numerous operations and bravely endured the pain, always returning to school as soon as possible even if that meant using a wheelchair or crutches. On one occasion you even came back to school with pins and a cage around your leg. Your Mum had to come into school to adjust the pins and you bravely endured this pain and carried on with your work. Teachers say the Dot Com programme has helped you realise your own strengths and particularly the value of friendship as you are a good fried to everyone. Your strength of character, sense of humour, kindness and determination makes you an inspiration to everyone in your school.
Please accept this award for bravery and caring for others with our sincere admiration and gratitude
Ollie Payne – Helping Others
You are a wonderful role model for you school. When you heard about the Dot Com Children’s Foundation and the programme that could help children learn to value themselves and lead safer lives, you immediately wanted to help. You were an amazing example to children and adults when you become the first person to complete the charity’s Challenge 1000 and raised £1,000 in a matter of a few months. With a little help from your family and friends you raised the money by making cakes, selling handicraft and used your musical talents to raise money by busking at school. Your mission to raise this money was inspired by your wish to do your part to make your school, Alverstoke Church of England Junior School, a place where every pupil can feel safe and free from bullying and can achieve their dreams. Your behaviour was inspirational.
Please accept this award with our admiration and thanks.
Jonjo Heuerman – Helping Others
The death of your much-loved Nan from bowel cancer had a profound effect upon your life. Instead of being consumed by your grief, you made a decision that you wanted to make the world a better place for others in memory of your Nan. At 9 years old you started to complete fundraising challenges to raise money for the Bobby Moore Fund for cancer research. You have literally completed hundreds of events, which are physically challenging and exhausting and endured pain and discomfort for the cause. Your courage and determination has inspired many others from all over the world to want to walk by your side and to fund raise with you. Your Just Giving Page currently totals £250,000 and your dedication and determination to help find a cure for cancer is an inspiration. You can read more about Jonjo’s fundraising work here.
Please accept this award for caring for others and making the world a better place with our sincere admiration and thanks.
Kelvin Sam – Caring for Others
You have embraced the Dot Com programme in every way and are described by your teachers as the pupil who befriends all the children and never expects anything in return. At home you are a great help to your Mum as you have an older brother who is on the autistic spectrum with very complex needs. But to you he is just your big brother and you are always there for him with a smile on your face. Your caring nature and positive attitude makes you an inspiration both at home and at school. Please accept this award for caring for others with our sincere admiration and gratitude.
Myles Billingham Roberts – Bravery
In the face of terrible tragedy you were offered the chance to take part in the Dot Com programme and you used that opportunity to turn your life around. When your father died suddenly at Christmas you were 8 years old.
You and your family were devastated and you were very angry at the hand that fate had dealt you. The world no longer seemed fair and you began to get into trouble at school and at home. Because of your anger you were in danger of permanent exclusion from school. You began to keep company with gang members and you were tempted by the life and power they promised you through crime. However, when the Dot Com programme was introduced in your school you started to learn how to express your feelings. You were shown how to achieve success through living life by good values and making safer choices. You chose to use the skills taught to you in the Dot Com Values programme and you changed your life. In your words: “I realised I was disrespecting myself and my mum and I learned I had to be take responsibility for my actions. I realised that gangs are not right because everyone has the right to live in peace and safety.”
You went on to be appointed to the school council and to become a Dot Com Media Ambassador sharing your story on stage and camera with thousands of children and adults.