Russell was taken into foster care at 11 years old because his family were struggling to look after him. He has complex additional support needs. He was placed with two foster families, but the placements broke down as he struggled to be away from his family home. Russell then came to Aberlour Options – Ayrshire in January 2011. The Options service normally offers short break care that gives families a rest from their caring role. However, the service fought to give Russell a permanent home.
“I am about to complete my first year at Ayrshire college where I have been studying a course called Connect to Enterprise. I have already been accepted into my second year; Connect to Learning.
“I work at a charity shop. The thing I enjoy most is being given the opportunity to be responsible for myself and show people what I can do and how hard I am willing to work. I love learning new things and if I find something in the shop that I cannot do I am straight in the manager’s ear asking her to teach me. I also love when it comes to the end of the day; finding out how much money we have made as it makes me really happy knowing that this is going to help care for people who need it most.
“I went to Scouts since I was about 12 all the way through until my 18th Birthday. I was very sad at the thought of leaving scouts as it has been in my life for so long now so I was delighted when they asked me to apply to become a Cubs leader especially as it has always been a dream of mine to work with young kids and care for them the way my workers cared for me growing up.
“I initially wanted to become a volunteer as I wanted some work experience and to build up my CV so that I had a better chance of getting a good job in the future. Now that I have been doing it for a while I find it really enjoyable and love being able to help others.
“I hope to stay at college for another few years yet but would like to eventually get out into the world and start earning some money so that I can treat myself a bit more. My dream job would either be to work as a carer or to be an ambulance/paramedic assistant. I like the idea of being able to work with children who are in the same situation as I was a few years ago and being able to tell them that it will be alright in the end and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel – just look at me!”
Aberlour Options – Ayrshire