Using his experience of foster care to help other young people, we’re proud to introduce Zion Zachary, a participation consultant in the role of Children and Young Person’s Ambassador, who is helping to support children in London and the South East.
Since joining the NFA back in May 2018, Zion has drawn on his personal knowledge of the care system to set up a Young Ambassadors Forum to improve participation and consultation with children placed in London & South East.
Recognising the value of providing vulnerable children and young people with a trusted role model they can turn to for help and support, we’re hoping that other people with an experience of the foster care system will join Zion as dedicated young ambassadors here at the NFA.
Speaking about his own experience of being in care, Zion says: “When I was in care, there wasn’t a specific person like me who understood what I was going through personally. There were people who presented me with opportunities — but as a young ambassador I’m here to offer the help, advice and support that people need.”
More than just a roof over their heads
We’ve pioneered the Young Ambassadors Forum as part of our ongoing efforts to help foster children make their voices heard without fear of judgement. And with Zion providing a visible role model — someone who can understand and amplify their views if needed — we’re confident it will be a success.
Tinu Ashaye, registered manager for London & South East Region at NFA Group agrees, commenting: “We’re very excited to have Zion on board our team — his wealth of experience in championing the causes of children and young people in care is brilliant. He’s driving our Young Ambassadors Forum in the right direction and giving them a stronger voice to influence developments.
“Zion is an absolute role model who is inspiring future ambassadors to use their own experiences to promote a positive outlook.”
Are you inspired?
If you know a looked-after child who could follow in Zion’s footsteps, read his own views on what kind of qualities make a good young ambassador below:
“You need to be resilient and positive — young people in the care system have been through a lot, so an optimistic outlook helps. If you’re negative, it could have the opposite effect on what you want to achieve.
“You also need to be hardworking and have integrity, because you have to set a good example to the young people.”
With Zion breaking new ground with the Pledge Project as our first young ambassador, this exciting step forward will bring great value to the young people we work with every day.
As he and future ambassadors throughout the UK work towards helping more young people in the care system, we’ll see more empathy and support for the views of children growing up in foster care– and this can only result in greater engagement and participation in events, advocacy and consultation.
For more information on our Young Ambassadors Forum, call us on 0800 044 3030 or contact us via email.