Selfless John Denver, who was bullied as a child, draws on his own experiences to help others
A Bristol youth leader who was bullied because he was fostered has launched a campaign for greater respect for children in care.
John Denver, 19, was made to feel worthless when he was younger by playground bullies who saw him as an easy target because he was not raised by his natural parents.
Working with Fixers, the national movement of young people ‘fixing’ the future, John has made a short film to urge greater respect and understanding.
John, who is a member of BREAD (Bristol Education for Action in Development) in Lawrence Weston, said: “The bullying from other children made me feel worthless.
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“They thought the fact that I didn’t have parents made me a target, and something that they could easily bully me about. I think that was very wrong.
“I want to get the message out there that children in care are no different to anybody else, regardless of the colour of their skin, their age or their background.
“Everyone should be treated exactly the same, in a respectable manner.”
Fellow Fixer, Brenda Horn, 18, also from Bristol, is helping John with his project. Placed into foster care when she was five, she was also bullied for not living with her biological parents.
“It felt like nobody cared about me,” she said. “I was being picked on and it felt like I was being singled out.”
Fixers is a movement of thousands of 16- to 25-year-olds across the UK who are supported to take action and change things for the better, addressing any issue they feel strongly about.
How each Fixer tackles an issue is up to them – as long as they benefit someone else.
The award-winning Fixers project has already supported almost 7,000 young people to have a voice in their community.
Thanks to a £7.2-million grant from the Big Lottery Fund, Fixers aims to work with 20,000 more young people over the next three years.
Each Fixer is supported with help from media professionals to make their own promotional material, such as films, websites or print work.
Fixers is a trademark of the Public Service Broadcasting Trust (PSBT) - a charity that brings together mainstream broadcasters, public and voluntary sector services and viewers.
A report about John’s campaign will feature on ITV West Country news tonight from 6pm.
For more information visit http://www.fixers.org.uk/fixers/5885-11312/john.php.