Eastside is ten years old, I was barely ten years old when I joined in year 4, I was 8, just 8, three foot tall and I walked into this decrepit hall along with a bus load of other traumatised looking boys. It's dead silent and I distinctly recall these huge black guys that didn't smile once.
My relationship with Eastside began when my godfather told my mum about it because of concerns about my behaviour and performance in school. I had become a distraction to the class as well as to myself and my mum knew it had to be dealt with quickly and decisively and more than that she couldn't do it on her own.
It has been the most rewarding, exciting and adventurous journey of my life. I have had some wonderful opportunities and met some of the most incredible people including, Damon Buffini, Iain Duncan Smith, Ric Lewis, David Cameron on his first day in office and of course the big man of London, Boris Johnson.
Now at one level there is nothing remarkable about these things and in itself, they are perhaps interesting. However there is something you may miss in the headlines and the reason behind why we are a leadership programme; because it is us that will break the cycle and downward spiral.
It's what Mr Lewis calls the recurring dialogue, the constant, unspoken, internal conversation that says what is will always be. It is the manifesto for survival, the cycle of bondage that year in year out keeps ordering the same thing from the take away menu on life.
This way of thinking was fast tracked when I joined Rugby school 3 years ago as bursary student. As soon as I joined Rugby, I knew I was in the right place. It has been an eye-opening and insightful experience.
I belong to 2 communities, one in Rugby and the other in East London and I am comfortable in both but my mission is to transform both.
Mr Lewis used to work in the prison service and he taught us that there is something worse than being behind bars, worse than being locked in and that is to be locked out, not having the keys, the tools, the courage and the confidence to access and influence the world of ideas and this 10 years on, is what Eastside stands for.