When Maia Webster, aged 20, first learned that her college was offering The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE), she didn’t think she would be able to do it.
Maia, who lives in North London with her parents and younger brother, has learning disabilities and attends a specialist college for young adults.
However, her teachers believed she was up to the challenge and here, Maia explains why taking part in DofE was one of the most challenging and inspiring things she has ever done.
Maia said: “All the teachers encouraged me and said I could, which inspired me to get involved and in June 2019, I completed my Bronze Award expedition in Ashridge, near Berkhamsted.
“On setting out for the challenge, I felt really nervous, especially about putting up the tent as I found that so hard in the practice and also about doing the long walks! I cried sometimes before I did [it] as I was so worried.
“However, I found my courage and together with my team we managed to navigate map-reading, patches of stinging nettles and the challenging walks to complete our expedition and I even managed to put up the tent without any help.
“When I finished I felt so proud of myself. It was the most proud I’ve ever felt.
“For my Volunteering section of the Award, I wanted to serve customers and do helpful things for people so I worked in a charity shop and helped at Wave Café, which is a café for people with and without learning disabilities to come together. I also helped at The Challenge Group which is a crèche and support group for parents of children with disabilities.
“The whole experience has taught me not to give up and that I could do more than I thought.”
Sixty six years of supporting young people to do their DofE has taught the Lord Mayor’s Appeal one thing: never doubt what young people can do.
Taking part in a DofE programme can help every young person understand their limitless potential, no matter their background, skills or abilities. Providing opportunities like this to amazing young people like Maia is what the DofE is all about, and a testament to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh’s remarkable legacy.
The Lord Mayor’s Appeal has been supporting the DofE in London since 2019. Its ambition for the partnership is that it will enable us to help a total of 10,000 young people to build self-belief through DofE, especially those facing financial hardship and other barriers to participation.
Working together with The Lord Mayor’s Appeal’s four other charity partners, it is building new connections in the City of London and beyond to tackle the big issues faced by young people.
To find out more about the DofE, go to dofe.org
To find out more how you can support The Lord Mayor’s Appeal, go to thelordmayorsappeal.org