What's Happening in Mansfield blog

Inspiring teen up for award

Autistic teenager Andrew Zawadzki has been nominated for a youth award after dedicating his time to helping disabled youngsters.

The 19-year-old, from Mansfield, has been nominated for a Notts Outstanding Achievement Award 4Uth, which aim to celebrate the most inspirational and caring young people in the county.

Andrew, who has problems interacting with others due to his autism, has excelled in swimming and now spends his free time coaching other swimmers.

He was selected for the British Swimming Disability Squad to compete internationally last year, and is now one of the hopefuls for this year’s Paralympic Games. He is also a member of the Bingham Penguins swimming club and has qualified as a coach and team manager at the club.

He said: “It’s nice to be put forward for the 4Uth awards, but then again I don’t really like too much attention.

“I do what I do because I find helping disabled youngsters really rewarding and I want to do it for as long as I can.

“The difference between helping an able-bodied child to do front-crawl well and helping a young lad with Down’s syndrome to do front-crawl well is really big – both are rewarding but helping disabled kids is such a great feeling.

“If I were to win the award, I’d be really pleased.”

His mum Christine Zawadzki, 48, said: “Having autism is a daily battle and people who have it need to go that little bit further to get by.

“But Andrew has exceeded himself and developed his social skills to the point where he has done really well, especially with his volunteering and helping disabled young people.”

 

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