Those who are familiar with the DofE, such as Tunde Folawiyo, may know that whilst many of its participants are school-going teens, in recent years, the programme has also been made available to young offenders. These people are offered the chance to complete each stage of the Award whilst they serve their sentences. This supports the rehabilitation process, as it gives them a sense of achievement, builds their self-esteem, and provides them with practical skills which will allow them to make better choices after they are released.
Danielle is a young woman from the UK who was given a two-year sentence when she was 17. Prior to her this, she had been involved in the DofE; and although she didn’t initially want to continue with it, her Award Leader encouraged her to carry on with the programme whilst she was at the juvenile detention centre.
Danielle followed her leader’s advice, and over the next year, she finished her Physical, Service and Skills activities, eventually going on to receive her Gold Award. After her release, she completed her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Psychology, and she now has a career as a youth worker. In addition to this, she also serves as an Award leader at her local youth centre, and has been selected as the representative for the UK DofE Award at the Canadian IGE (International Gold Event.
Danielle’s inspiring story is just one example of many around the world. As Tunde Folawiyo is no doubt aware, young offenders in South Africa are also offered the chance to get involved in the DofE. Erol De Souza completed his Award in 1994, three years after he had been sent to St Albans correctional centre. Receiving the Award in the presence of Nelson Mandela was a great honour, and inspired Erol to continue serving as a fieldworker for the DofE after his release, as he wanted to make sure that other young offenders knew that there was hope, that they could still go on to achieve great things. In an interview, he noted that the Award dramatically reduced re-offending rates, and that true rehabilitation was only possible in prisons where this programme and others like it, were offered to inmates.
Paul Reynolds is another success story from the UK; he began to participate in the Award when he was midway through his sentence. As a result of the DofE, he was able to organise fundraising events, which generated a significant sum of money for several children’s charities. He explained that the Award changed his outlook entirely, giving him the confidence to believe that he can do something good with his life, both during his incarceration, and after his release.
Folawiyo has supported the work of the DofE for some time now. Those who wish to learn more about him should take a look at the bio on Tunde Folawiyo in Business Week.