Written by Arthur Gallant, @ArthurGallant27, CAF ambassador and former young person in care.

Anybody that knows me knows that Wheel of Fortune is by far my favourite show in the entire world.  To many people Wheel of Fortune is just a game show but to me it’s much more than that. It is what brought my family together in which we were able to put our challenges aside for 30 straight minutes, 6 nights a week.

As the show’s biggest fan I’ve some how been able to compare an element to my life.

For diehard Wheel of Fortune fans reading this post you’ll remember the show had a token on the wheel called a “Free Spin” in which contestants could guess a correct consonant if they landed on it. The contestant could then use their Free Spin if they landed on a penalty wedge such as Bankrupt or Lose A Turn or they could also use the Free Spin if they guessed an incorrect letter or incorrectly solved the puzzle. In other words the Free Spin was a second chance. Some contestants used the Free Spin wisely and others used it to gamble and maybe weren’t as strategic with the token as they could have been.

That got me thinking a few years ago; I’ve had a lot of second chances (or Free Spins as I like to call them).  So many caregivers, friends, and professionals have offered me an opportunity at redemption and have continuously believed in me. To this day they have never given up on me. Some times I’ve been extremely smart with my Free Spins and other times I have been foolish.

I never look at second chances as being wasted, I look at each one of them as a new opportunity to learn.

The truth is that thousands of youth in care and former youth in care have had a difficult life. Sometimes they do things and make mistakes that they aren’t necessarily proud of.  It’s sad, but the reality is that we get stigmatized for our mistakes. What people don’t realize is that being shunned actually holds us back.

Free Spin Tattoo

Contrary to some people’s beliefs, we aren’t bad kids; I prefer to look at us as students in a very giant classroom learning lessons that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives. I’ve always believed myself to be fortunate because I’m able to learn all the hard life lessons many people won’t experience until their 30s or 40s.

As we go through the school of hard knocks, we have and will make mistakes along the way. When we make these mistakes we’ll also need a second chance or Free Spin to show how far we’ve come and to empower ourselves, and also the people around us.

There is nothing wrong with making mistakes. I stand by this fact so much so that I had the Free Spin tattooed on my wrist to permanently remind me of this.

Everybody deserves to have 1 (or in my case a million) Free Spins.

Read another young person’s blog by clicking here.

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