A Fife woman has won a national award for her dedication to young people.
Caitlyn Ross, who works at an Aberlour Child Care Trust residential home in Kirkcaldy, was selected as the Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care’s residential superstar of the year.
The wider group was also named runner up in the top team category for the second year in a row.
Caitlyn was nominated for the award by 15-year-old Samantha Coyle, who moved into one of Aberlour’s residential children’s homes last year.
Samantha said: “I haven’t lived with my mum since I was nine years old.
“She is blind and couldn’t look after me properly.
“I then went to live with my aunt, but we didn’t get on at all.
“When I first met Caitlyn, I was scared to like her or get attached because everyone I have ever liked in my life has left me.
“But, she never gave up on me.
“I now call her my silent cheerleader – she is the person who I know is always rooting for me to succeed and has my best interests at heart.”
Over the past year Caitlyn, who comes from Kirkcaldy, has helped Samantha settle into her new home and get her education back on track.
Samantha was asked to leave school when only 13 only seeing a teacher for two hours a day in a social work office.
Caitlyn took her to the Aberlour Sycamore nurture hub and within a couple of months, she was back in school.
She now has a conditional offer to study English, maths and psychology at college.
Caitlyn said: “I feel very humbled to receive this award and I am just so incredibly proud of how far Samantha has come.
“Everyone at Aberlour is motivated by the same thing, to show young people like Samantha that they can be successful and to give them the tools they need to have the best possible start in life.
“Samantha always says that I just come here because it is my job, and she is right, it is my job.
“But the reason we come back day in and day out is because we want to be here for the young people we look after, we want to make a difference in their lives.
“Young people living in residential care deserve to be happy, they deserve to be loved. “Sometimes they just need someone to believe in them.
“I often say that a young person is just one caring adult away from a success story.”