If anyone knows the power of hard work and perseverance in achieving your dreams, it is Australia’s childhood sweetheart, Nikki Webster.
After flying into Olympic folklore in the role of Hero Girl at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, Nikki, together with her brother Scott, has just released an inspirational children’s book, Dare to Dream.
A story about thinking big, aiming high and working hard, the book tells the story of a young girl who falls asleep and dreams of doing what she loves – performing and dancing on stage at the iconic Opera House. With challenges to overcome on the way to achieving her ambitions, she wakes from her dream inspired, motivated and passionate to conquer the obstacles that lie between herself and her goals.
“I have been so incredibly lucky to be able to live my dream of performing and singing for audiences from a very young age,” said Nikki.
“As a child I had the opportunity to learn important lessons about the power of hard work and above all believing in yourself.”
Two decades on from the Sydney Olympic Games and the release of platinum single, Strawberry Kisses, Nikki and Scott work together to nurture the performers of tomorrow in their three dance studios located in Sydney and on the Central Coast.
“Through both our work at the dance studios and now with the release of Dare to Dream, we always work together with the one overarching goal of inspiring young talent,” said Scott.
After reflecting on who and what had the greatest impact on their lives, Nikki and Scott decided to draw inspiration for the book from the story of one of their dearest and longest friends, four-time Paralympian, Ben Weekes.
Nikki and Scott have been friends with Ben since they attended the same childcare centre together. The trio then went on to attend the same primary and high schools together.
While playing tennis at school one day, Ben suffered a blood clot to the spine which left him permanently disabled.
“I still remember the shock of that day when Ben went into hospital,” said Scott.
“But by far my strongest memory, and what’s left a lasting impression on me, is the amazing way in which Ben dealt with the adversity,” he concluded.
“Ben’s ability, even as a young teenager, to accept what happened to him and then go on with so much positivity and perseverance to achieve so many great things left an indelible mark on both Scott and I,” added Nikki.
“We both still draw inspiration from him today, which is why we’re so pleased to be able to share some of this inspiration with children through Dare to Dream.
“We want to encourage children to believe in themselves, dream big, and stay positive and passionate, no matter what happens on the road to achieving them.”
Inspired by Ben’s story, and in the spirit of encouraging and nurturing youth, Nikki and Scott have partnered with Paralympics Australia and will be donating a percentage of the proceeds from book sales to the organisation.
“We’re so pleased to be able to give back to an organisation like Paralympics Australia who do such great work with children through their Come and Try Days and Paralympic School Education programs,” said Nikki.