We recently nominated one of our Kicks participants,Tresor Kalilwa, for a Premier League Kicks Hero award. Tresor was then prsented with a comic strip of his story, by Hull City Defender, Moses Odubajo on Monday Evening.
Tresor is the third person to be recognised by the Premier League Kicks Heroes campaign, which sees inspirational individuals’ stories, turned into their very own comic strip, following their involvement in the programme.
Premier League Kicks began ten years ago, and is a youth outreach programme with the aim to create safer, stronger and more respectful communities through the development of young peoples’ potential, whilst giving young people access to facilities, coaching and mentoring.
In its first decade, Premier League Kicks has engaged more than 180,000 young people in weekly football, sport and personal development sessions held at local community venues across the UK. The programme is now run by 68 Premier League, English Football League and National League clubs.
Having moved to the UK from Zaire when he was eight years old, Tresor had initially found it difficult to integrate with the local community in Hull due to his lack of English. Having been involved in disputes with a neighbour after his move, he was told about the Premier League Kicks sessions being run at the University of Hull by local police officers, as a way of channelling his energy. Tresor joined and as well as making new friends at the free session, he and his team-mates made it to the final of the Premier League Kicks Cup in 2014.
Tresor, who is now fluent in English and is studying Art and Design at Hull College, has been immortalised in the comic strip illustration designed by Marvel and DC Comics artist John McCrea.
Speaking about how the programme has benefitted him, Tresor said:
“I have always wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps and to work alongside him as a tailor. When my family moved to England, I was unable to speak the language and I didn’t feel a part of the local community.
“Attending Kicks sessions gave me an outlet where I could make friends, develop my English and my self-confidence, so much so, that I am now studying Art and Design at Hull College. Not only has Kicks completely turned my life around, I’m now working towards my dream and I couldn’t have done that without the support of the Tigers Trust.”
After presenting Tresor with his comic strip, Odubajo added:
“The Tigers Trust have been brilliant at working closely with the local community to see what type of programmes and engagement are needed in and around Hull.
“Tresor is one of a number of refugees who has joined our Kicks programme over the years and who has gone on to achieve great things because of the support, guidance and help the Tigers Trust has been able to provide."
“It was great to be able to come down to the session to present Tresor with his Premier League Kicks Hero comic strip and to be able to reward the hard work and dedication he’s shown since being a part of the programme.”
Premier League Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore said:
“Premier League Kicks delivers sessions for young people where they are needed most, connecting football clubs with their communities in a meaningful and sustainable way.
“The Kicks Heroes campaign allows us to highlight some of those inspiring individual stories – like Tresor’s – and celebrate their achievements and thank the 68 Premier League, English Football League and National League clubs currently delivering the programme.
For more information on our Premier League Kicks programme, please visit our 'Youth' section of the website or email firstname.lastname@example.org