Youth find a way out

2015-05-05 06:00
A youth group from Ocean View have successfully completed a lifeskills programme and are now preparing to assist others in their community. 

PHOTO: 
SUPPLIED

A youth group from Ocean View have successfully completed a lifeskills programme and are now preparing to assist others in their community. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

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It took 10 days and 30 hours for an Ocean View group to turn their lives around.

With the odds stacked against them 12 graduates of a life skills programme run by Earl Mentor have tackled tik addiction, gangsterism, alcohol abuse and crime. Now they are preparing to help other youths by addressing the social ills they have themselves worked to overcome.

The programme was a partnership between the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Youth Centre, Dale Hendricks who works for the City of Cape Town sports and recreation department, Fruitnation and Euodia Samson of Fusion Worx. It identified youth at risk in the mountainside community.

In an interview with some of those in the group, who have requested their names not be used, the youngsters reveal peer pressure as the main reason for their previously bad behaviour.

Each graduate tells a heart-wrenching story about how their environment impacted their young lives.

However, with the programme they have received guidance, support and hope for a brighter future.

First up is a teenage boy who explains he dropped out of school and was on a downward spiral.

“I left in Grade 9. My friends were bunking school and I did it with them. I regret not finishing and for a long time I thought there was nothing I could do with my life.”

The 18-year-old admits to running with gangs and selling drugs but says he battled with his conscious after witnessing the ­effects on his community.

“I saw the effect it was having but I also didn’t know what to do. This programme showed me how to find direction. I learnt I am passionate about the youth and want to spend my life helping them find direction.”

Another graduate (20) speaks of how the programme helped her to remain positive.

The young woman tells she started using tik with her friends while in matric. She used the drug for two years before deciding to quit.

“I just stayed inside my house and stayed away from my old friends. They are still ­using and I only started because I wanted to fit in. This programme has helped me ­understand that I need to stand out and I need to stay positive.”

Feeling equipped to make a change in their community, the group is motivated to help others.

Mentor says the graduates will now train as youth facilitators.

“We want to create leaders for the youth in Ocean View. We look at ways they can develop their skills and in the [next] level we look at entrepreneurship and skills ­development to assist them in becoming ­independent,” he says.

Mentor explains many graduates are in need of internships or skills training which can assist them with employment.

V

If you are able to assist contact Mentor on 072 857 3392 or earlmentor@fruitnation.co.za

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