Real life stories about teens

These stories share the achievements of just some of the hundreds of teens we have worked with who have become amazing young adults.

Teens in care win top awards

Each year we give our amazing young people in care awards to help them pursue their dreams. Below are some winners from our William Wallace Awards - all these awesome teens have been in care.


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Jordan doesn't like to boast, instead he casually mentions that he writes his own songs as he gets out the guitar. But when he begins to pick out an intricate melody, it's immediately obvious that there is nothing modest about his talent.

Jordan has been in care since he was 12 years old. His talents range from a passion for guitar, to woodwork and Maori art - a coffee table detailed with Maori design that he has fashioned takes pride of place in the lounge. He is also a sportsman, a grade-A student and a natural leader.

"When he came to us he was a lost young boy," says his caregiver James Tuhoro. "He didn't have a purpose, he was confused and all he wanted was love. He certainly got that, and now he's spoilt!"

Heather and James welcomed Jordan into their home five years ago and he has never left. He is now part of the family, and they couldn't be prouder of their foster son. "He's got a gift for anything. No matter what he got his hands on, he'd be good at it," says James. "He's a pleasure to have as part of our family," agrees Heather.

It was James who first introduced Jordan to the guitar, and after teaching Jordan everything he knew, took him to a tutor where Jordan's talent blossomed. "Every young person needs a chance to develop their gifts," says James.

 "He wants to achieve and he knows that by hard work he can do it," says Heather.

Jack: An extraordinary life

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Jack, with his social worker Thomas on the right, meets Inga Tuigamala at the William Wallace ceremony.

"I'm passionate about leadership roles," says Jack. "I just want to bring out the potential in others and the group."

Jack is a truly exceptional young man, excelling in his studies, leading kapa haka and barbershop groups, and captaining sports teams at school. Jack won a scholarship to study civil engineering at Canterbury University, and his William Wallace Award helped him kick start his study.

His social worker Thomas says Jack is one-in-a-million. "Despite the things that have happened to this young man he has kept on track to achieve. He's won so many awards around the area, and just working with him and his passion to achieve, it's not often you come across that," says Thomas.

Maree: "I learnt what love was"

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Jenny and Maree, with foster brother Darren featured in the poster, who was also a previous William Wallace winner.

"When I found out I had won I just cried and cried," says Maree, "I was so overwhelmed."

"When I came to the farm I got to feel what it was like to be in a proper family…I never knew what love was, and I never had mother and father figures until I came to the farm. [Jenny and Chris] are my mum and dad, and they always will be," says Maree.

Her foster mum Jenny Rose was the first caregiver to have not one, but two foster children win a William Wallace Award. Her foster son Darren won three years ago. "I said that I was going to raise them as my own. I wouldn't give up on my own children, and I wouldn't give up on these kids," says Jenny.

Turoa: Dreams come true

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Turoa, pictured with fellow winner Craig.

When Turoa Salmon attended ANZAC Day celebrations in Gallipoli, it really was a dream come true. He was a winner at the William Wallace Awards and stole the show in his army uniform. The Award went towards funding his trip to Gallipoli, as part of his Cadet training.

The trip of a lifetime was even better than he could have imagined, or as 16 year old Turoa says, "It was mean, it was massive. I didn't want to come home."

Since winning the William Wallace Award, he has been going from strength to strength. He has been on the Spirit of Adventure, where he was elected as Captain. He has helped the Cadets win national competitions and was recently promoted to Lance Corporal.

He now has his sights set on a career in the army, and that is another dream which will no doubt come true.