Proud to be who I am - your stories
Below are stories that you have shared with us about why you are proud to be who you are.
Why I’m proud to be who I am
I’m Delroy Ellis, Mentor and Founder of YES Mentoring and Service Director at Increase the Peace. I’m also a qualified Youth Worker, Mentor and a registered Foster Carer.
To celebrate Black History Month I’m sharing my story of how I got to where I am today and my work with young people in Gloucestershire.
Growing up I wasn’t as confident in my own ability as I am today and I didn’t always have the same ambition and drive when I was young. For a while, I wasn’t sure of which path to take in life. Sometimes it can seem easier to get mixed up in things that you know aren’t right and follow what you see others doing around you. Once this happens, it’s hard to break away and to start making positive life choices, especially when you don’t have many role models to look up to.
This is why Black History Month is so important, it shines a light on those role models who are often forgotten about in society, but they are there and I hope my story can inspire others in years to come.
My community work
Some words that inspired me at a difficult time in my life were ‘Become a leader, not a follower’ and that’s where it all started. I decided to do just that, leaving behind a life involving crime to pursue community work.
First, I completed an internship at the Princes Trust which led me to become a Youth Worker at Star 66 centre. I then went on to set up Increase The Peace in 2008, with the help of a lovely lady called Pat Dabbs who supported the charity for many years afterwards. Increase The Peace is there to give young people hope. Some of the young kids we work with don’t have their mum or dad on the scene. They’re in foster care, in and out of the system. We just want to give them an opportunity to know there are people out there who care, that we can try and steer them down the right path rather than going down the path of crime and drugs. Our aim is to prevent young kids from going down that road of crime and drugs, give them somewhere safe that they can express themselves in an environment with professional people who are going to support them and give them advice.
In 2012 I founded YES mentoring, which provides emotional, social, behavioural and educational one-to-one support to children and young people between the ages of 5 and 21 years through a bespoke and holistic mentoring programme tailored to meet their individual needs.
In 2013 I was an Ambassador of the South West for The Prince's Trust and The Mayor of Barton and I’ve also worked as a Learning Mentor for READS (Racial, Equality and Diversity Service).
I’ve been fortunate enough to have my work over the last 22 years recognised with awards, including the Volunteer Achievement Award for Outstanding Contribution to The Princes Trust - 2002, Gloucester Young Person of the Year Award - 2002, Volunteer Achievement Award for The Prince's Trust - 2002, Outstanding Contribution to the Black Community - 2004, Citizen of Gloucester Award - 2012, Hero Award (Churches for Change) – 2013.