Name:  Anthony Sestanovich – January 2015

Anthony left prison in December of 2013, after a 3-month stint which he is determined will be his last. Upon leaving prison, Anthony had no forms of ID and no financial means of obtaining any.

After almost a year attending probation in Croydon, Anthony decided to swallow his pride and ask for support: “I said to them: ‘Is there anything you could support me with…’ I was feeling a bit low about myself, I felt like if I don’t get support now I’m going to do something. I had a replacement support officer, and she said: ‘We’ve got a driving course coming up.’ And I said ‘A driving course? I’ve never heard of that before.’”

A few weeks later, Anthony started the On the Road: Driving Theory Programme with Croydon Probation. A group of ex-offenders assembled to learn their driving theory in preparation for the DVLA test. Anthony passed the course with flying colours: “After that I was over the moon because I’d actually achieved something. It made me feel really happy and proud of myself because I was tired of achieving the wrong things and ending up back in prison.”

But this was only the start of Anthony’s journey with Elevating Success UK. Anthony and the rest of the men on the On the Road Programme were offered a further course: the Pathway to Work in Construction Programme, a course aimed at achieving the CSCS Green Card for work in construction. Anthony was hesitant at first, but his achievement on the On the Road programme gave him the confidence he needed: “I said to myself ‘If I can do the driving one – it was six weeks, 11am- 3pm, easy to deal with – and I’ve proved to myself I can do that, then I can do the construction one.’”

Anthony Sestanovich

After seeing the potential in Anthony to be a youth worker, he was invited to volunteer with Elevating Success UK. During this time he was also placed on the High-5 Employability Skills Programme: “I’ve just recently finished High-5. I thoroughly enjoyed that, the group that I was there with became very close. It brought everyone together. That’s another one of Elevating Success’ successes.”

“A lot of people left the High-5 course feeling empowered,” Anthony said, “they felt more confident, they felt like they could achieve things. I’ve also completed my first aid training, so my portfolio is really building up.” Anthony has also visited Victoria Probation to do a speech with Managing Director Andrew Brown. “They’ve actually requested to see me again because I think they were really happy with what I said. I’ve been there twice so far.” Most notably, Anthony has recently won a national award from probation for his outstanding achievements after coming out of prison.

Since September of 2014, Anthony has completed three core Elevating Success UK Programmes, passing each with flying colours. He has obtained a Provisional Driving License, a replacement Birth Certificate and has opened a bank account, giving him plenty of ID.

Perhaps the biggest testament to Anthony is how he has overcome his most recent hurdles. Having passed the On The Road Programme, Anthony sat his Driving Theory Test full of confidence. He suffered not one, but two setbacks as he was unsuccessful in his two attempts to pass the exam. However, this did not dampen his spirits. It only made him more determined to achieve his goals of obtaining a Full UK Driving License and a Green CSCS Card.

So what’s next for Anthony? He says that he would love to be a youth worker or social worker. “There are a lot of stories that I could tell the youth, and they’re not made up stories, its real stuff.” Ultimately, Anthony says he would just like to make a difference. “If I could see a result come out of just one person, just one person alone, I would be happy with that, I would feel like I’ve achieved something.” Anthony is determined to turn his life around and achieve success. His goal for 2015 is simply: “to look back at September the 26th 2013 – that time I spent in prison – and look back in 2015 and say ‘Look at that, I went into prison on this day and now look what I’ve achieved now.’”

With his CSCS Health & Safety Exam and Driving Theory Tests booked for early January, Anthony aims to start 2015 with a bang.