"We want to show them not everyone from Burngreave is involved in anti-social behaviours or gangs"
Tes Awoke is a 21-year-old project assistant at leading Sheffield youth charity, Element Society and lives in the Burngreave area.
Tes was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2000.
Aged nine, he fled through Sudan to Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, where he lived for three years. He believes God blessed his family with safe passage to the UK nine years ago.
He studied at Newfield School in Sheffield where he started helping at EIS on children’s sports days.
At 17, Tes founded anti-knife crime project Big Brother Burngreave with his two best friends, encouraging males aged 12 to 20 to come off the streets on Saturday afternoons and enjoy sport together.
There were six lads the first week, but now over 100 are registered and his Big Brother project has won several awards, including the Move More Power of Sports Award. TES found his passion and enrolled at Hillsborough college to study sports. He has just graduated with another volunteering award.
One of the biggest reasons I wanted to work with Element Society is because I want to be able to help many more young people from different areas, backgrounds and genders.
The staff at Element Society are so friendly and have made me feel like I belong here since I participated in the National Citizenship Scheme in 2017. The year after I attended the youth group and in 2019 worked as an NCS team leader. Now I am running a project I started with them, called Youth Force.
The diversity and the people in Sheffield
One of the best things about Sheffield is that it has so many diverse cultures, which is what first made it attractive to my family to move here. There were so many people here that we could relate to and connect with in Sheffield, it has made me and my family feel like home again as a refugee, so I love it for that. Plus the people in Sheffield were so friendly and lovely, we got on with our neighbours and the community very well, which is very important to me.
Me and my family are Christians, and when we first came to England we didn't have a church to go to for about eight months, so we were really struggling. Then when we moved to Sheffield, we found a church me and my family can go to straight away and we were really happy about that. Now my mum has an Ethiopian church she goes to and I have an English church I attend, which I am very pleased about because it's the best church.
Verdon Centre, Burngreave
This place is one of my favourites because that's where my community is and that is where we run our Move More Award-winning Big Brother Burngreave project every week with Reach Up Youth. That is a big part of my life and I love it with a passion. Because many people have lots of negative ideas about young people from Burngreave, at Big Brother we want to show them not everyone from Burngreave is involved in anti-social behaviours or gangs, while trying to reach the ones that are. Also for me it's personal, because I have a young brother and I want to leave something positive for my brother to do in our community, because there isn't much going on.
For me, Hillsborough College helped me to get involved with sport. All the teachers were so helpful and made me fall in love with sport and activity even more. They gave me opportunities to volunteer at lots of different places and I got awards with them which made me feel special and continue doing good. I didn't believe in myself enough to do a degree, but the college staff enrolled me on a last-minute foundation degree course and helped me all the way through my degree. Now I have graduated with a 2-1 which is a very big accomplishment for me and my family. I give thanks to Hillsborough College, especially Leanne Whittam, Lewis Web, James Firth, Luke Hughes and Gill Brown, for everything they have done for me, going above and beyond.
Football (Sheffield FC) and sports
I love the history Sheffield has with many diverse sports. We have one of the best ice hockey teams in Europe, the World Snooker Championship, two very good football clubs in Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday and the people of Sheffield are very passionate about football. I love that the first ever football team was from Sheffield (Sheffield FC). Sheffield United played in the Premier League last year and the year before and the first year they got promoted, they surprised the world by doing really well. I went to watch some of the matches and it was a marvellous atmosphere.
The different restaurants
Sheffield has so many restaurants that are so good. I love food, so I try out different places and I have been very pleased with most of them. I have tried beautiful Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Turkish, Yemeni, English, Italian, Greece, Nigerian, Jamaican, Ethiopian, Angolan- Portuguese and many more, which shows you even more how diverse our city is.