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5 July

Support from The Lord Mayor’s Appeal helps young person complete their Bronze & Silver DofE

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16- year-old Yejesh from East London Science School began his Bronze DofE just before the pandemic started, and showed fantastic commitment to it throughout lockdown and beyond. On returning to school, he progressed with his Silver Award so quickly that he was approved for his full Bronze on the same day he was submitting the evidence for his certificate of achievement for the Silver Award!

Yejesh’s Silver Award was funded by The Lord Mayor’s Appeal. Hear more from Yejesh and what he is taking away from his DofE experience.

What inspired you to start your DofE?

The first time I heard of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award was when I joined East London Science School in year nine. My teacher Mrs. Newson’s unparalleled enthusiasm encouraged me to take part in this Award and it resulted in me truly benefitting from the skills I learned and all the knowledge I learned and picked up during the Award.

What was it like completing your Bronze Award during lockdown?

“[DofE] definitely gave me an outlet. It diverted my attention away from my phone and the chaos and misery of Covid itself. It made me focus on things that would help me gain knowledge and skills that I might possibly not have gained otherwise.”

What motivated you to immediately start your Silver Award once you’d completed your Bronze?

I really enjoyed working for the Bronze Award, so I thought I'd do the Silver Award straight after Bronze. I wanted to progress the journey I had started. 

 

Can you tell us about what you did for your Silver Award?

For the Silver Volunteering section, I cooked for the community. During COVID, we would cook different meals for the elderly each week. They would come in and sit in socially distanced groups and then they would have what we'd cooked for them.

Most of these elderly people said that they were living by themselves, and were feeling quite isolated from the rest of society during the pandemic. They said they felt warm being with us, eating with us and chatting to one another. It was a really satisfying feeling.

For Skills, I earned a First Aider Certificate and completed courses such as The Origins of Aquatic Mammals, Ethics in Science, An Introduction to Histology, etc, each week through the Open University.

What did you enjoy most about your DofE?

Two things – all the learning and the communication skills the programme allowed me to develop. DofE really opened up my communication - I realised I quite like communicating with people. It gave me this whole new way of looking at things. As a result of DofE, I started up an educational podcast called The Discussion Point where I discuss science, politics, and other topics with my guests – the episodes change each week. 

What did you find challenging about doing your DofE?

Committing to something – before, I would keep jumping from place to place as I’m interested in a lot of things. Having a DofE programme where I had to approach things systematically and get the evidence approved – that certainly helped me be more committed and more organised.

What did you learn about yourself through your DofE?

I learned that if I wanted to do something, I could do it - if I were committed and planned properly, which are the two skills that the DofE predominantly taught me - then I could do it.

 

How did it feel knowing you’d been approved for your Bronze Award on the same day you were completing your Silver?

At first, I wasn’t even aware that I had submitted my documents for Silver and got approved for the Bronze Award at the same time - Mrs. Newson pointed it out to me and that was a huge surprise. It really made me feel quite fulfilled and very happy.

What was it like having the support of The Lord Mayor’s Appeal to complete your Silver Award?

I do believe that the support from TLMA has given me a great opportunity. It’s allowed me to boldly pursue certain dreams and I’m grateful for that. I’d also like to thank the people who make the DofE awards happen, Mrs Newson and my mum and dad without whose support and motivation I could not have completed both Bronze and Silver.

You can find out more about how we support The Duke of Edinburgh's Award here 

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