Ethan Tells His Story

Born on the 29th April 1991 in his home in Thornton Heath, South East London, Ethan grew up in a house with his mum and siblings. Ethan is one of 5 children. He has an older brother and sister and a younger brother and sister.

"I was never the popular one in primary school, that everyone liked but at the same time I was not the quite one in the corner that no one spoke to. Everyone knew who I was but the no one could say he is my best friend.

I was an all rounder and I played all sports, but I wouldn’t really say I had one special thing that I was particularly good at, but I am a very passionate person and I will stand up for what I believe in.

I was an A star student in secondary school, from year 7 - 9 I had perfect grades, but half way through year 9 I moved to the estate and that is when everything changed. This is when I started to spend more time on the street and all I wanted to do was hang around my friends. I used to go to school in the morning to get my first mark and then walk straight back out the doors. So as far as the head teacher was concerned I was present but none of the other teachers had actually seen me.

I spent a lot of my time bunking secondary school.  Every morning when I woke up in all I thought about was the next crime I was going to commit.

It came to a point where I was bunking every day and I became a recurring name at school. I developed an anger problem and was diagnosed with ADHD. For those who say ADHD makes you angry, it doesn’t. All it means is that your emotions are accelerated a lot quicker and I would get angry quicker than others.

There was one moment in secondary school when I was on crouches as I had a broken my toe so I couldn’t walk. A couple of my friends were playing around my crouches, the head of house took them away and locked them away in an office, As I couldn’t walk without them I hopped on my one foot, tried to barge the door off, but I was restrained by two teachers and a year 11.

After this incident my head of year was determined to get me out of the school. She was looking for any opportunity for me to slip up or do something wrong.

Secondary school just didn’t appeal to me anymore, so I started to rebel even more. I never wanted to go to school, I didn’t even bother to go get my first mark.

Things started to get a little bit shaky as a result of my behaviour. I stopped getting pocket money, so I had to try make my own money in any which way I could. I know now that it wasn’t the right way to do things but everyone needs money.

A couple of weeks before taking my GCSEs I was kicked out of school and wasn’t able to sit my GCSE exams. I went back to school to sit my GCSEs, but the same head said to me I am not supposed to be in this school, and not supposed to be on the grounds. She escorted me out. I pleaded with her but she didn’t want to hear it. As far as she was concerned she wanted me to get out of the school.

I was being arrested regularly and every night my mom would get a phone call from the police station to say "can you come and pick your son from this station or that station?", from Bromley police station right round to South Northern police station. I have seen cells in practically every single one of them. I am not proud of it but it is a part of my life.  

It came to a point where I thought to myself I can’t keep living like this and this is when I moved to my auntie’s house in New Cross and started to bring myself up and started attending the Ilderton motor project.

Once I started working at Ilderton I tried to lead a positive life. I refused to do negative things anymore, so when I was with my friends and they wanted to commit a crime, I had made it so clear that I was serious about changing my life around and I would go my separate way.

I then started making legit money, received my first pay cheques and did volunteer work. I also started helping a few people out in my estate. I helped one person in particular, found a part time job and a get a college placement in our local college. This gave him a head start and enabled me to move forward.

One day one of my work colleagues sat me down and said to me ‘tell me everything you are doing in your life, where you want to go?‘. Without hesitation I stared speaking to her and little did I know she had nominated me for the Princess Diana Awards.

I received an award for the most inspiring youth in 2007. This is when the positive became really great. After winning this award things really took off for me. I was then introduced to Graeme Lloyd at Transport for London. He took me under his wing alongside road user’s education and I started doing a lot of work with them.

I was also offered a job at the Ilderton motor project as a care support worker. I did my youth work qualification and got my MVQ level 1 in youth work, I also attended my apprenticeship and I did my MVQ level 1 in motor vehicle technician and now I am registered mechanic.

This opened a lot of doors for me and gave me the chance to go to Blue Rubicon in Canary Wharf to do my media training. I had the opportunity to interview Beverly Hues, who is at the top of the triangle for the youth sector in Greater London and manages all of anything with regards to youth for the YMCA.

I then became a recognised youth worker and everyone started taking my job role seriously and I started to take myself seriously. I was also invited to Leicester, Rockingham Raceway on a business trip where I was offered a contract with Rockingham raceway, Lunar Racing to help set up a projec.  Basically it's a bigger scale version of the Ilderton Motor Project.

There are people out there who don’t like what I am doing because we started out in the same place. There were 8 of us sitting on the same wall, doing the same thing, going through the same struggle, having the same family arguments. Till this day where are they? They are still on that wall in the freezing cold. Where am I? I changed my life around for the better, because I wanted to and I have been given the opportunity to help other people."

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