Christine Fox (53) from Middlesbrough, is the founder of The Sunflower Dreams Academy which helps children to believe in themselves, provides a safe environment in which to encourage the development of ideas, aspirations and hopes and helps them to successfully face any challenges head on.
Indeed Christine has already beaten two major challenges in her life. Firstly, she was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age 48 resulting in poor literacy and mathematical skills which gave her a distinct disadvantage compared to her peers. Secondly, in 2010 she was diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) after being involved in a major road traffic accident.
"I've learnt in life that you have to be positive and always believe in yourself no matter what people tell you. Everyone has the ability to do whatever they want if they really want to. My struggle against dyslexia and PTSD has been tough and if I can do it, others can too. "
True to form, Christine has once again defied all the odds by writing her first children's book, "Frickel and the Golden Locket." The book tells the story of a frog called Frickel who is based on Christine's childhood imaginary friend.
"At school, because of my dyslexia, I couldn't easily put pen to paper and express my thoughts, fears or ambitions so I invented Frickel to help me get through any diffciult times."
The book is beautifully illustrated by designer Jenn Garside and is backed up by a series of educational workshops which are aimed at children aged five to 10 years old. Each book has blank spaces so that the children can express themselves and encourage their imagination and creativity.
Christine has piloted the workshop at Collingwood School & Media Arts College in Morpeth where she read the book to around 30 students who all have special needs. Each child received their own copy of the book so that the learning from the workshops could be revisited in the future.
"Collingwood School was the ideal place to launch the book and run a short taster of the workshops," she said. "The children all enjoyed the reading and their reactions to the story and the learnings were amazing. My aim is to positively impact the lives of one million children worldwide by 2020 and it all starts here," said Christine.
Christine is looking to licence the workshops all across the world and as the brand develops, her influence will create major opportunities for children to express themselves.
"The workshops are all about self belief, resilience and empowering children to free their minds and do what at one time would be considered impossible," she said.
Helping her with the workshops is husband Dean who is an established motivational speaker and entrepreneur and he will bring even more skills to the table.
Head teacher of Collingwood Media Arts College, Richard Jones was delighted that Christine chose the school for the book launch.
"Our students will greatly benefit from the story telling and workshop sessions. We actively encourage the qualities that Christine is helping the children to learn and we are proud that she has given us the benefit of her experience."