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Civic Participation

Serhat Enyüce

Serhat Enyüce Gets Children off Streets onto Ice Hockey

On 28 January 2011 Sabancı Foundation's "Turkey's Changemakers" program hosts Serhat Enyüce, a police officer, who aims to empower street children through ice hockey in the Southeastern Region.

Serhat Enyüce is originally a Chief of Police, but he has been playing ice hockey for 23 years. After working in Ankara for 10 years, in 2007 Serhat Enyüce gets appointed to Erzurum, a Northeastern province. Known as the capital of cold, the temperature is below 0^oC in Erzurum and the cold and snow anywhere else in Turkey are always be compared to that of Erzurum. The story of a champion ice hockey team and an idealist police officer intersect here, in the capital of cold. Right after his appointment, Serhat Enyüce runs into several street kids, who sell pastries or polish shoes on the streets of Erzurum. While noticing that kids living on the streets are at risk of picking bad habits, he also realizes that these kids are well adapted to the severe weather conditions.

Combining his knowledge and ability in sports with his determination to change the future of these kids, Serhat Enyüce established an ice hockey team out of street kids to help them actively participate in society.

Although the idea is promising, there is the issue of affording sports equipment and finding arenas to practice ice hockey in a city where ice hockey has never been heard before. The problem is solved by acknowledging the city itself as a resource. Thanks to harsh winters in Erzurum, the frozen public ponds become a perfect training ground for ice hockey and the team utilizes police equipment during trainings.

No matter how scarce the resources are, ranging between the ages of 10 to 14 the team has performed several miracles over the years. Their nationwide successes did go unnoticed especially back in Erzurum. They were welcomed as heroes upon their return after they won victories in nationwide tournaments. And in 2008, under the leadership of Serhat Enyüce, the "Police Force Ice Hockey Team" won the Turkish Ice Hockey Championship in the youth category. "Hopefully we will keep working until they become national athletes," says Mr. Enyüce.

Serhat Enyüce let his dreams lead his life. He established a championship-winning team by tapping into the community's resources. Not only he did empower street kids through sports but also he introduced ice hockey to the capital of cold and to the country.

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