Our Young Ambassador, James Curtis, won the Rising Star Award at this year’s Directory of Social Change Awards! The ceremony took place on Thursday 23rd February at the Magic Circle in London.

The Rising Star Award was open to young people, age 16-25, ‘who have made a major impact in their organisation/community by achieving positive change themselves or by engaging others to bring about concrete results’. James, aged just 16, was the youngest to be nominated for the award.

The winner was decided through a public vote, so we’d like to thank everyone who voted for him.

In addition to the DSC Rising Star Award, James won the UK Young Lions Award at the end of February, with a prize of £1,000! This will be used by James to create a peer-to-peer network for Auditory VerbalUK’s young graduates.

This followed his win at the regional awards in January where he won £500 towards the creation of the network. He is now in the running to win €3000 at the European round.

James, who is currently in his first year of A-Levels at a mainstream sixth form, is passionate about making sure all young deaf children have the opportunity to learn to listen and talk.

James’ mother, Emma, told us:

When James was a baby we were told by many that we shouldn't register him for mainstream school. To us, this meant that his future would be limited. Finding AVUK helped us realise that he could go to mainstream school and in fact he could do anything. AVUK has grown from strength to strength and I wish I could go back to the beginning and negate the agony and despair it looked like we were facing by finding out about AVUK sooner. As I can't do that -James and I want to do everything possible to make sure other parents know how fantastic the future can be, what fun the journey to get there is and how supportive and important the charity is in reaching their goals.

We are so grateful to Emma and James for their hard work and commitment in helping raise awareness of what is possible for deaf children.

If you’d like further information on the development of our peer-to-peer network, please email Beth.Cardwell@avuk.org

Read more about James here.

James with his Directory of Social Change Award

James with his Young Lions Award