Empowering pupils

2016-04-12 06:00
All set to cut the ribbon at the launch of the Community Keepers office at Maitland High School were, from left, area manager Laurian Furneaux, representatives from the Student Governing Body Lukhangele Sebe and Dorcas Pilonda with office manager Janine Williams and principal Riedwaan Kenny. PHOTO: gary van dyk

All set to cut the ribbon at the launch of the Community Keepers office at Maitland High School were, from left, area manager Laurian Furneaux, representatives from the Student Governing Body Lukhangele Sebe and Dorcas Pilonda with office manager Janine Williams and principal Riedwaan Kenny. PHOTO: gary van dyk

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Maitland High School has embarked on a partnership to counsel and empower learners and teachers at the school.

Last Tuesday the school celebrated the launch of the Community Keepers office at the school that will cater to emotional needs of learners and staff at the school.

This organisation had its start in 2008 when a group of Christian professionals from the social and corporate sectors came together with a collective concern for the well-being of South African communities, especially children and the youth.

Schools were identified as centres from where children and the youth could be served and research was conducted to determine the relevant needs, problems and resources within local schools.

Data from this research laid the foundation for the development of a unique model for school-based services, piloted in 2009 at one Stellenbosch school and since rolled out to more schools and communities.

Office manager at the school, Janine Williams, explained that as an organisation they aim to improve the social and emotional well-being of learners and staff to create supportive school communities where learning and development can prosper.

“Being school-based, all our services are implemented in partnership with learners, educators and parents or guardians.”

The programme has four phases that involves support keepers dealing with assessments counselling and therapy where admission to these services is gained through self-reporting or referrals by educators, parents or guardians, or other community members and organisations.

Life keepers deals with personal and social development through classes or programmes.

“All programmes are developed and presented in collaboration with educators and learners and has a strong focus on mentorship and training.

“These programmes are implemented as a preventative intervention delivered to large groups of learners, aiming to equip them with skills and knowledge about an array of topics they are dealing with.”

Teachers are also catered for with professional support and development of educators. Parenting initiatives with parents or guardians of learners is also an important part of the programme.

“Parenting committees are established by involving parents or guardians to become part of the parenting network.”

School principal, Riedwaan Kenny, confessed that he was a bit sceptical when approached by the organisation but since realised that they will become in integral part of the emotional well-being of all at the school. “Working with the team from Community Keepers has made me realise that their services are needed here and at many other schools in our communities.

“With their services in place it is also going to help learners realise their potential to face difficulties and problems and achieve their positive potential in life.”

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