Kids give a hand

2017-08-08 06:00
Children from around Maitland joined in to clean local parks on Saturday.

Children from around Maitland joined in to clean local parks on Saturday.

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Members of the Adventure for Kids Club rolled up their sleeves and got their hands dirty while cleaning parks in Maitland this Saturday.

More than 30 children joined their mentors and volunteers in picking up litter and cleaning lawns from 09:00 to 13:00 under the theme “Reclaiming our Parks”.

The cleanup was aimed at teaching the children about being responsible by looking after themselves. The organiser and founder of the club, Mariah Strachan, says she wants to make her suburb a safe place for children.

“Parks belongs to children and by cleaning them we create a safe place for them to play. We meet every week and do something that would have a positive impact in their lives,” she says.

Strachan says Maitland is dominated by crime, drugs and alcohol abuse and local children are more vulnerable to these elements and need to be protected. She says her experience as a recovering drug addict sparked her desire to protect youngsters from losing their lives to drugs. She says in 2013 when she quit drugs she became concerned about children spending too much of their time on the street, getting exposed to illegal things. She started inviting them to her free sessions at Maitland High School. Since then the club has grown to about 30 members. Others participate on a part-time basis.

Strachan says every Friday they have programmes such as reading, birthday celebrations and team building and once a month go out to have fun.

“We take them out for mountain climbing, sightseeing and other activities. This helps to open up their minds and is a form of ­relaxation.”

A volunteer at the club, Katie Molenso, says she is happy to be part of a community-building club.

Molenso says the club help keeps children away from the social ills affecting Maitland. She also says the programmes of the club are informative and have a positive impact on the children. She says the cleanup taught the children to take care of themselves and clean up after themselves.

One young member, Dorcas wa Mwamba (16), says she has learned a lot from the club.

“It is helping us a lot, showing that we have quite a lot of opportunities in life. I am privileged to be part of the club and I have now started helping where I can with younger children and some of the activities that we do. Our communities need programmes like these to deal with different social issues,” she says.

Suzette Little, Mayco member (North), supports the initiative. She says the City of Cape Town encourages other members of the community who would like to take back their spaces from those who litter and dump to follow the club’s lead.

“With sustained effort from residents as well as City support, we can improve the condition of our community spaces so that they can be properly enjoyed,” says Little. “It is hoped that if we provide the necessary support for these kinds of initiatives, we will facilitate a sense of ownership and responsibility for public spaces.

“If residents are assisted in creating a space that they can be proud of, the community is much more likely to look after the space and hold each other accountable for littering and illegal dumping.”

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