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Reformed student Akaash Rafiq meets Dame Kelly Holmes
A Bradford teenager who turned his life around and help troubled youngsters will meet Dame Kelly Holmes next week to talk about his work.
Akaash Rafiq, 18, of Girlington, confesses he used to misbehave at Samuel Lister Academy until he realised he needed to concentrate on his studies.
The teenager then buckled down and is now studying psychology at Huddersfield University. His teacher at Samuel Lister nominated him for the Unlocking Potential mentoring scheme because of his commitment and his transformation from troubled teenager to high achiever.
The programme was jointly developed by Dame Kelly Holmes and AQA, which partners young people who have overcome challenging personal circumstances with athlete mentors.
Akaash’s mentor was Paul Broadbent, a former Rugby League footballer and current rugby coach.
As part of the programme, Akaash created a multi-skills club at Manningham sports centre for children aged seven to 11 in the area where they could try out rugby skills, basketball shooting and penalty shoot-outs during the summer.
The fee was just £1 and Akaash plans to donate all the money to a children’s cancer charity.
He is one of 20 UK youngsters aged 14 to 19 who joined the mentoring scheme.
He said: “At first I just couldn’t believe I was picked.
“I was shocked because I didn’t really think I was something special.
“When I found out what it was and how lucky I was to be part of it I felt really confident.
“I live by the motto: If you believe, you can achieve.
“That is my code in life and I want to thank my parents for being so supportive and encouraging me.
“The course has developed me as a person and has opened my mind and showed me what I am capable of.
“I am really organised, motivated and driven. In Year 12 I was getting D grades but now I am getting A* and A grades.
“I was not very well behaved at school but made a dramatic change towards the end of school and made an effort to achieve my goals.”
Akaash will head to London on October 22 for a gathering that will celebrate the achievements of the 20 young people taking part in the programme and will showcase some of the community projects they have been working on with the help of their athlete mentors.
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