Performing arts, climate activism and the will to change the world

My name is Jasmine and I wanted to share with you what I have achieved since living with my aunt and uncle. I am 14 years old and have been living with my aunt and uncle for 10 years. Throughout this time I have accomplished a lot of things and have been given many opportunities by The Fostering Network, all of which I am extremely grateful for. 

I used to have a lot of confidence issues, was really shy and needed my aunty to come everywhere with me, but when I was about five or six I started going to Stagecoach Performing Arts School every Saturday morning. Through this I was given opportunities and tools that helped me to open up a bit and I attended there until last year when the Belfast school closed down. I've definitely come a long way with my confidence and I made lots of amazing friends there. 

Stagecoach provided me with so many opportunities, for example performing in Disney Land Paris in December 2018 and performing in New York City in February 2016. I also gained grade three in singing, drama and dance from my PAA (musical theatre) exams, which Stagecoach helped me to achieve. I have always been a pretty high achiever in school: I got 125 per cent in my AQE and an ‘A’ on my GL  exam. I was actually in the top 4 per cent in the whole of Northern Ireland and I think that’s pretty cool. I got to go to the school I wanted to and as a reward for good results my aunt and uncle let me get a dog from a rescue centre called ASSISI . He is a jack russell terrier and his name is Rudy. 

Rudy  helps me to feel better and calmer when I am sad or nervous and he loves taking naps with me. I’ve always loved animals, especially dogs, and when I was younger I wanted to be a vet.  Obviously my dream job has since changed and I now want to be a lawyer or politician. 

My love for nature and animals is also what makes me care so much about climate change.  In November 2019 I was given the opportunity to go and give a speech in front of Northern Irish politicians in W5 at the Northern Ireland Commissioner  event  celebrating 20 years of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. I talked about climate change and the impact it is having on all of us and what we need to do to stop it. It was absolutely nerve wrecking but it was a wonderful experience and it was amazing to feel like my voice was being heard and I was actually making somewhat of a difference in the world. 

I wouldn’t have had the opportunity if it wasn't for The Fostering Network letting me know it was happening. They have supported me in so many ways and I am forever grateful for it. 

Just remember that no matter who you are, where you come from or what your story is, you can make a difference in this world and you can achieve whatever you want. Everyone always says this but I feel like it fits well here. The world really is your oyster and you can do whatever you want and be whoever you want to be, as long as you put your mind to it.