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A year in the Street Elite programme: Riccardo Chase

28th Jul 2017

I enrolled in to Street Elite through my younger cousin Daryan who is a friend of one of the coaches, Ross. At first I was sceptical at how this would help me re-engage with society and actually do something positive with my life.

However, when I met the coaches, Ross and Dan, I felt at ease and quickly understood that they had our best interests at heart and weren’t stereotyping us on our looks or our past. Having grown up with this kind of judgement in all walks of life, the fact that they spoke to us on the same level was endearing and hugely encouraging.  

So, what do I like about Street Elite? I think a better question is; how do I explain my time with the lads?

As you can imagine from a sports-based programme in London, the group was kept incredibly active, playing different sports including football and cricket. From the beginning of the programme I was always made to feel valued and important and instantly built a bond with the other boys on the pitch. I won’t lie, at times my patience was tested as unfair tackles flew in and friendly sledging was taken out of context, but I think that’s kind of the point – learning how to handle difficult situations better. The important thing to mention is that I have never lost my temper. I’m pleased with myself but a huge part of that is down to Ross and Dan. Even though we all come from different walks of life they always found a way to get us to view each other’s point in a mature and empathetic manner.

As well as the support within a group setting, it is amazing to feel I have someone’s unwavering support and dedication and I know no matter what, they will always be there for me. 

I would definitely recommended Street Elite to other young adults. I know many guys may not feel it makes a difference or help them to reengage with society but it’s a great new way to step out of your comfort zone, create new memories and build desirable characteristics, especially for those who may want to, one day, take the step back into work or education.

From my experience, all the lads from the group loved it! We all became extremely close knit and valued within our team. It helped me personally to rebuild a friendship with one of the boys in the group who I had previously had issues and fallen out with. Thanks to Street Elite we are back on speaking terms so have that to take away with me.

In my opinion, Street Elite has had a major impact on my life, I have learned to communicate better with the people around me, and not always act so closed off. I am able to trust people again and open up, and that’s only a good thing.

God knows I wasn’t handed the best start in life but I believe I will make something of myself. Now, I know I am worth investing time into – I’m not just another government statistic. It’s my time to shine. 

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RT Street Elite boys graduated tonight. A big shout to Ross & Dan. Thank you @JohnsonSitu @ChangeFdn https://t.co/90E6r4qJ4Q