Posted: 11 July 2013

‘I was very excited when I heard that I was the recipient of the Lois Preston Award’

The Lois Preston Award was established by Sue Preston at our Warrington children’s centre, whose daughter Lois tragically lost her life in a hang-gliding accident in 2011 at age 16.

Lois attained a semi-professional level as a hang-glider through her determination, love and strong passion for the sport. Her aim was to excel at it in order to teach and share with others the exhilaration of hang-gliding.

Lois knew The Children’s Society well and would be proud to know that this award in her memory will support other young people in achieving their goals. The annual award is open to young people we work with at our projects and programmes.

This summer, Kim Ruvinga, in the middle of the photo above, became the award's first recipient.

Kim’s story

I was very excited when I heard that I was the recipient of the Lois Preston Award. This was the first year of the award, set up by Lois’ parents in her memory, to support other young people in achieving their goals.

The staff at the LEAP programme nominated me for the £500 grant, which will make a big difference at university.

In order to apply, I needed to think about the questions and come up with some goals for myself!

The judging panel needed answers to questions:

  • How would I spend the grant to achieve my goals?
  • How would it make a difference to me?
  • What opportunities would it give to learn new skills or try a new sport or activity?

In honour of Lois, I wanted to think of something that was positive, fun and uplifting.

Defining my goals

When I first heard about the award, I knew I was already accepted at university to study tourism management – it has always been my dream to study in the aviation field. I wasn’t sure that money for university would be enough of a goal, but for me, going to university is a big achievement in itself.

I decided to use just part of the funds to cover my accommodation at university. But I really wanted to win this award, so I thought more about what other goals I have!

I chose swimming, a sport that I really enjoy. This would improve my health, and it is something I never seem to have time for. I am also hoping to make new friendships in a new community and start a new life, so swimming at the local leisure centre near my university seemed perfect.

The programme manager here at LEAP has offered to sponsor me in my swimming – if I manage to swim 35 times, she will donate £35 to The Children’s Society! I can’t wait to get to university and start swimming!

Volunteering to help new students

This year, I took up volunteer training with the LEAP programme to help new arrivals in schools. I am also volunteering in the office every week and participate in activities to help others.

I am going to make a presentation at the next Over the Rainbow event in March 2014, so everyone can hear how my year went!

As Lois did, I feel I am getting to know The Children’s Society well, and I am grateful to her parents for creating an award.

By Kim Ruvinga - Guest bloggers

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