The mentors and mentees from our 2013 programme were asked to write about their experiences in the Transition to Independent Living programme. Here’s what they had to say, in their own words.
Last month we hosted our fifth anniversary celebration at Theatre on the Bay in Cape Town and took in a performance of Sunset Boulevard. It was a great opportunity for both past and present mentors and mentees to meet and mingle with other SA-YES supporters. One of the great moments of the evening included two of our youth ambassadors, Kim Lynn Bowers and Patrick Xhanti, who stole the show with their short reflections on how the programme has helped them.
The night was a wonderful success, and many thanks to all who attended our special evening, we truly appreciate the support. If you couldn’t make it, we have a few photos from the evening that you can view on our Facebook page.
We celebrated our 2013 graduation on Saturday, November 16th at the Protea Breakwater Lodge Hotel in Cape Town. This year we decided to have a joint graduation with Virgin Active who ran a series of teambuilding through life skills workshops for our programme participants. It really was a very special morning, for we had some very bad storms the night before so a lot of roads were closed due to mud slides but everybody managed to get there.
One of the youth made a great speech about how the programme has affected her and two of the mentors did the same. It was quite an emotional morning for us to hear people speaking about the impact of our programme. A number of mentors and mentees have signed up for our 2014 programme, and we have been able to increase the number of mentees we can take on each year thanks to the unwavering kindness of our supporters.
There is a 5K fun run phenomenon sweeping the world, known as the Color Run. Dubbed the “happiest 5K on the planet”, this “race” allows participants to travel the streets of their cities all while being COVERED in color that is being thrown around in the air by race volunteers. It is an amazingly fun event, and some SA-YES supporters recently formed a team to allow fellow supporters from around the world to raise funds and awareness for SA-YES all while having the time of their lives.
Formed by supporter Ashely Billig in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Team SA-YES or DYE has grown to cover Color Runs from all over the world united by people coming together to have fun and support SA-YES. What began with the Color Run in Chicago has grown to Berlin, Santiago, Chile, and Bogota, Columbia. Here’s what a few people had to say about their Color Run experience…
- Angela: The Chicago Color Run was such a fun experience, I highly recommend that everybody participate in a Color Run event at some point in their lives – they are very well done and an absolute blast. What made my experience even better was the fact that I got to participate with such an amazing group of like-minded friends and raise money for a deserving charity – all at the same time. I hope that Team SA-YES or DYE becomes an annual event!
- Mary: Being able to do this run to raise money for SA-YES has been such an amazing experience. Seeing how many people are willing to help others in need and support each other while having a good time… there’s nothing like it. I can’t wait for the next fundraiser!
- Rebecca: It’s no exaggeration. The Color Run really is the happiest 5k on the planet. And knowing that all of our fun was for such a great cause made the whole experience even happier. Almost every SA-YES or DYE team member had a story to tell about spreading the SA-YES word, which was the best part of all. Nearly a week later and some of us are still bending people’s ears. What a great team! Already looking forward to next year!
If you’d like to do the Color Run in your city, we’d love to have you join Team SA-YES or DYE! Many thanks to everyone who have already participated, raised funds, and most importantly, supported SA-YES around the world! Still need some convincing? Check out this video of the Color Run in Chicago to see just how much fun was had.
Five years ago this week SA-YES was registered in the UK and subsequently in South Africa. Happy birthday SA-YES!
It has been an incredible five years. All we knew when we started was that we wanted to provide support for young people who have to make the difficult transition from a children’s home to living independently at the age of 18. We have tried and tested different approaches and we now have a successful, effective programme that is led by the youth and the mentors. SA-YES simply provides the platform, the structure and the resources.
In addition to the programme we have established an incredible network of support globally. It’s so heartwarming for us when we read stories and see photographs of people walking, running and networking on behalf of SA-YES. Thank you all for your incredible support and for contributing your time and energy, allowing us to continue with our work here in South Africa.
We have added some testimonials from a few of our mentors, which we hope you will enjoy reading. Thank you for your continued support!
Gillian Anderson and Michelle Potter
A Note From Our Mentors
Ross Metcalfe, Mentor, 2013
Spending time with *Dylan has been a learning experience. I have had no previous experience of mentoring young men of Dylan’s background. But I felt at home. I do not know if I improved Dylan’s ability to cope with the world- that is for Dylan and those close to him to judge. The facts are simple: Dylan and his peers are at risk of achieving far less than children in “normal” homes. But the young men I met at the children’s home have a potential to make a massively positive impact on the world. If I have increased the chance of this happening I am happy.*The name has been changed to protect the privacy of the individual.
Kase, Mentor, 2013
From the beginning, being a mentor for one of the young men at Beth Uriel has been rewarding and tough at the same time. There have been a lot of ups and downs stemming from the need to build a solid, reliable and workable relationship so that the mentee can use it as a springboard to excel in life. When I first started mentoring for SA-YES, I had no idea what to expect as I had never mentored in South Africa before. However, I have now come to understand that mentorship is universal regardless of the persons being mentored, or the place of mentorship. The only barriers to good mentorship are impatience and lack of empathy. If young people are afforded time and a degree of empathy, then it becomes easier to relate to them and to engage effectively, so that we as mentors can add value to their lives, by sharing our life experiences, and showing how to use them in a positive light. I believe I have shown my mentee some useful life lessons, but I have also been taught a lot by him along the way, which shows that mentee and mentor relationships have to be reciprocal to function efficiently.It has been a challenge gaining my mentee’s trust due to his past experiences with people. We have had misunderstandings and differing points of view but ultimately, we have grown to respect each other as he allows me to guide him in a more suitable direction. We have discussed issues that affect young people daily, from drugs, teenage pregnancy, HIV, to crime.
These conversations have been a revelation because they have helped my mentee face issues which he thought were solely for older people. I have also encouraged light-hearted conversations to help maintain good comfort levels. Over the course of the last few months I have seen a great improvement in his attitude towards serious talks. When I first started working with him, he enjoyed being rebellious and unconcerned, about anything. However, he has shifted his thinking positively and understands the importance of being a helpful and responsible human being.
All in all, the SA- YES mentorship program has been an educational and life changing experience which I have thoroughly appreciated. I would definitely recommend it to any potential mentor. Regardless of how rough the journey might be, it is worth it.
Leanne Coole, Mentor, 2013
The mentor / mentee relationship between myself and Nikita has grown from strength to strength. Nikita started an internship with me from Monday 2 September where she will be receiving a start up salary for the internship which will become a permanent position in my company.Nikita has been assisting me on a part time basis as a personal assistant within my business and an au pair to my daughter Skye. She has proved to be extremely dedicated and proactive in both areas and I am delighted with her progress. We have had very few challenges and have overcome them through honest, open communication. There are clear boundaries in place and our work relationship is separate from the mentor / mentee relationship.
My company is called Living By Design and Nikita will be getting experience as a personal assistant as well as learning about the exciting world of Graphic Design, Promotional Gifts and Clothing and the various forms of Advertising. In essence she will be my right hand person and will be exposed to the Corporate world. She will also attend meetings with me and be exposed to my Clients. In terms of the au pair work, she will be assisting Skye with homework, extra murals and fun filled activities.
We are all very excited about this new adventure we are about to embark on. Nikita is a wonderful young lady and both myself and Skye see her as being part of our family. I think SA-YES is the most incredible program which enriches both the mentor and mentee’s lives in a variety of different ways. Congratulations to Michelle and the team for making it such a huge success.
I look forward to the future of the program and I am confident it will continue to empower these wonderful young people who need a positive support structure in their lives.
If you would like to join us for this special evening, just drop us an email to reserve your tickets. Look forward to seeing you there!
A message from Sabine Schmidt, who runs Friends of SA-YES in Germany.
After more than one year of mentoring two young people in a home in Germany I was thinking about the difference between youth mentoring in South Africa and in Germany. First of all I think that young people are the same all over the world. They all have the same needs. Material needs like a place where they can live, a job they get paid for so that they can sustain themselves and emotional needs like having someone they can turn to, who supports them.
In Germany youth welfare services usually end when a young person turns 18. But they can request for further support until they are 27. When they want to or have to leave residential care homes they don’t end up living on the streets. They usually get an apartment in a living community where they learn to live independently before they live on their own.
I try to help my mentees planning their professional career. One does and apprenticeship and one still goes to school. Then there is the problem with housing. Where do they find an affordable place to stay when they finally want to live on their own? One wants me to teach her how to cook while the other one needs assistance with buying furniture for her room. One wants financial advice while the other one needs help with filling out a form. But what both of them really need is someone who is just there for them, who listens to their problems or to what they had experienced since the last meeting. When I meet them – separately – I usually spend the first half hour or so just listening to what they want to tell someone. I remember pretty well that my mother did that as well when I came back home from school. My mentees simply want and need a friend. I think that is what they have in common with young people living in care in South Africa. They all may have different problems and needs, but they all need someone they can turn to, who listens to them, who cares for them, who guides them and supports them.
For me who has had a protected childhood it was always natural to have adults around me who guided me. Through SA-YES and my own mentoring I came aware of the fact that not every child and youth is as fortunate as I was and how important it is for young people to have a healthy relationship to at least one adult. That’s why I appreciate so much what SA-YES does in South Africa.
We have secured a number of places on the 2014 Cape Argus Cycle Tour, scheduled for 9 March 2014. If you are a regular or a first –timer we would love to have you ride with us. All seeded riders will maintain their seeded start times, all others will have a group start.
Very important: Riders will not lose their seeded positions when they ride for SA-YES.
In what began as a race to bring awareness for the need for cycle paths in South Africa, The Cape Argus Cycle Race has become the world’s largest individually timed cycle race, with as many as 35,000 cyclists taking part. The race route is 109km long, and offers absolutely amazing views of Cape Town and the Atlantic Ocean.
If you would like to participate on team SA-YES, please contact us directly to secure your place. The cost per person is R1000. This includes your entrance fee and a SA-YES cycle shirt. In addition, we ask all entrants to raise a further R1000 (South African Rand). That is approximately equivalent to 100 US dollars/70 GBP.
If you know anyone else who would like to participate, please feel free to pass this information along to them. We hope to see you next March in Cape Town!
Supporter Kirsty Herrington sends us this report from the British London 10K fundraiser.
Whilst the majority of the UK population were soaking up the sun in mid-July, a team of SA-YES supporters were out in full force for the annual British London 10k. A team of 11 runners – Andy, Celly, Chloe, Christian, Claire, Kirsty, Natice, Pauline, Petra, Sabine and Sarah were supported by Julie, Catherine, Cathy, Clare, Kasia, Keith, Lena, Murph and Nicole – armed with banners, pom poms and loud voices - all endured the hot weather on Sunday 14th July in the name of a very good cause.
The weekend kicked off with a mid-afternoon meet and greet on Saturday, where the majority of runners and supporters were introduced to one another, race packs and SA-YES supporter packs handed out and a refreshing drink consumed by all to cool down (that was our excuse anyway). Then after a catch up, it was time for dinner (for Chloe) and an early night for all (in theory) before the big race.
Sunday was an early start for some and an even earlier start for others making their way into London from outside of the city. By the time we all met at 8am sharp, the sun was already out and temperatures high. A lot of photos and videos were taken before supporters made their way to find their cheerleading spot, and the rest of us joined thousands of runners in heading to the start line.
The course itself, beginning at Piccadilly, took us close to some of London’s most iconic sights, including the Ritz, Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral and Trafalgar Square. Streets were lined with supporters all in fine voice, with some happy to throw bottles of water over runners, which was very much appreciated as the temperatures rose. We were lucky to pass the very vocal team of SA-YES supporters twice during the route, and their cheering spurred us on to the end.
Despite the heat, runners for Team SA-YES made it across the finish line all in good time and, armed with our medals, complimentary bottle of Gatorade and impressive t-shirt tans, found the rest of our team at a nearby public house. Once the pub opened, we all enjoyed a refreshing drink before we posed for more pictures – complete with medals and bigger smiles this time – and Julie helped spread the word of SA-YES to fellow customers.
The team came together once again Sunday evening for a well-deserved meal – and enough garlic bread to feed the entire UK population – and a drink or two to celebrate our achievement. Once we could eat no more, we headed outside where Nicole and Celly were busy adding the final amount raised at that point onto the Team SA-YES banner (£3,400), and posed for more pictures. Then we embarked on a mission to find a pub open in London on a Sunday evening. Later that evening, after a LOT of laughing, it was time for the team to say their goodbyes and agree to meet up soon for the next fundraising event, which we all hope will be soon.
Below you’ll find a selection of quotes from just some of Team SA-YES who made the weekend so enjoyable…
“Even if running is much about convincing your mind that your body can make it to the finish line, all the help and motivation that you can get from fellow runners, supporters, and givers makes a huge difference. Once the finish line was behind me, I knew I wouldn’t give up on helping SA-YES anytime soon. I now feel better about myself, and I believe again that we can change the world. Indeed, I met beautiful people on Sunday: their smile and their concentration of good humour for SA-YES were bliss. I will deeply miss these people till next time. Team SA-YES is really the best”. -Celly
“I thought I’d say how much I thoroughly enjoyed supporting SA-YES and believe me, it takes a lot to persuade me out of bed at 4:30am! I couldn’t have hoped to meet a more open, generous, fun and friendly group of likeminded people! In short, everyone and everything was fantastic! And so much money was raised for such a good cause! (I’m still in awe of all those who ran in such fierce heat! Hat’s off to the runners – serious commitment!)” -Catherine
“Big congrats to all the people that took part, I had huge admiration for all of you running in that heat and keeping such good spirits. Of course us spectators endured big challenges too; carrying the banner, deciding where to hang the banner, figuring out how to hang the banner etc! A wonderful day for a wonderful cause.” -Cathy
“It was lovely to meet everyone and I’m very much looking forward to seeing everyone again for the next event. Every single person was such fun, runners and supporters, we all did an amazing job. I hope by the next event everyone will be accustomed to my ‘food swings’ too, ‘I’m not rude, I’m hungry!’ Sorry again!” -Chloe
“A fab day filled with fun, laughter and lots of sweat from both runners and supporters alike – boy, was it hot! Hats off to the fantastic people running for a great cause, you guys were amazing. It was an excellent way to spend a Sunday, a huge pleasure being among such great company and I’m looking forward to doing it again!” -Lena
“SA-YES changes lives. Not only in South Africa by helping people but also those who support the charity. It definitely changed my life in an amazingly wonderful way. Thanks to Julie for this awesome idea and for organising it, and many thanks to all my sponsors! Thank you for this opportunity, which made me so happy and continues to motivate me to run the next British London 10k for SA-YES! I’m so glad I participated in this event – thank you”. -Natice
“It was a pleasure to meet everyone, I think I got round to speaking to you all at some point (if I didn’t then I’m sorry). Hopefully the next event will not only be a chance to raise more money for a great charity, but to also to forge stronger bonds within a great group of people. You can always count on my support in the future”. -Murph
“That was an amazing experience, running for a charity, in the middle of this gorgeous city that is London. Getting to meet you all, put faces to names, share these emotions and this happiness, it wouldn’t be worth it without you. I feel like I owe something to SA-YES, like I didn’t give any support and they gave me so much in return, is that weird? I keep thinking about what Gillian said once ‘There is nothing that harvests more of a feeling of empowerment than being of service to someone in need’, she was most definitely right, I felt like I could run 10 more kilometres at the end! I never thought I’d enjoy running as much as I do now and I hope we can do it again next year. I’m so glad SA-YES will be able to invest more into the future of these young people”. -Pauline
“I was thrilled to meet so many like-minded people who knew why we spent that memorable weekend in London, and that was to raise money for SA-YES. I hope this was just a start to more successful and fun fundraise activities. A huge Thank you to Julie who did a great job organising everything – as always”. -Sabine
“Thank you all so much to those who answered my request for runners and supporters. Without you there would not have been a Team SA-YES, and we would not have raised the fantastic amount of £3400 which we have so far, with more to come I believe. I had a really fun day, and I hope you all did too. It was a pleasure to spend the weekend with such kind and generous people in aid of SA-YES. I look forward to seeing you all again at the next SA-YES event…. Hopefully not in the too distant future…..” -Julie
Finally, on behalf of the team, I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to support us and donate to SA-YES. If you haven’t and would like to, it’s not too late – please visit our JustGiving page and give anything that you can. THANK YOU.
A great opportunity for our mentees has come available from False Bay College, who invite all prospective students to participate in their 2013 assessment month. Assessment Month takes place from the 1-31 August 2013.
They are offering free Math’s, English and career assessments to determine which careers is best suited for prospective students.
Requirements for assessment are:
- You must contact the nearest campus.
- You need to bring a pen, a copy of your I.D Document and for NCV L2, N1 to N4 applicants, a copy of your most recent school report (June Results) or matric certificate.
- If you are successful, an interview date will be scheduled and you will be given a Student Profile Form (NCV’s only) to be completed by your current school.
- Depending on your choice of course, you may be referred to the correct campus to continue the registration process.
If you would like to participate, the application form needs to be completed by the assessment day, which can be downloaded from the website or obtained from the nearest campus. All documents must be certified.