Full back Elliot Omozusi is adding another string to his bow this season by mentoring local resident Dominic Crichlow. Dominic, 24, who lives in Leytonstone, has a similar background to Elliot, spending his youth growing up on an impoverished estate in one of the more deprived areas of London, attaching himself to a gang and ultimately spending time in prison for various public order offences.
Terry Angus, Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Equalities in Community Executive, said, “The work Elliot has been doing within his local community, talking about his gang experiences, his prison time and how he has changed his life around is inspirational and he stated he would like to continue to spread a positive message to young people, especially those most at risk of being swallowed up by gang culture.
“By coincidence, Dominic has been on work experience via the probation service for the Leyton Orient Trust and as we are always looking at new ways to involve players, mentoring is something we are considering, utilising the players status to help guide and encourage those low in confidence or in need of support for whatever reason. This was an ideal opportunity for us to see if an active player can add mentoring to his daily routine and I’m glad to say it seems to be working very well”.
Dominic said, “When I was asked if I would like to take part in the mentoring idea with Elliot as my mentor, I immediately said yes. His early life is really similar to mine but being able to phone and chat to a pro footballer and have him pass on his advice has been great. He gives me a different way to view things and how to deal with situations”.
Dominic had been in Chelmsford prison amongst others for over two years but feels he has now turned the corner and the support given by Elliot has only strengthened his resolve. “Elliot is always positive and when we chat or text is always interested in me and asks open questions. He recently organised some match tickets for me and gave me a ‘thumbs up’ whilst on the pitch. That made me feel special. He’s a really chilled out guy and I know if that if there was anything I needed that he could help with, he would”.
Omozusi has continued with his community work throughout 2014 including being featured on BBC television’s Late Kick Off and recently visited the Score centre to chat to around 60 of the BTEC students currently studying for a sports and leisure qualification.
Lloyd Boateng, course tutor, said, “This is the third time Elliot has come in to address the students to help inspire them. Some of the guys are from similar backgrounds and what Elliot has to say really does strike a nerve. They love the football stories too especially when he mentions he played against Christiano (Ronaldo)!”
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