Mentors bring out positive potential

2016-11-08 06:00
Cheslyn Steenberg

Cheslyn Steenberg (Gary van Dyk)

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A project to mentor young men has started in the Kensington and Facreton area.

The project is the plan of Frontiers, an organisation that was launched in the 1990s. The organisers created the Mentors for Life programme to empower youth in various communities.

Cheslyn Steenberg, the coordinator of the project, says the aim of the project is to match male learners (Grades 7 to 10) with mentors in one-to-one matchings for an academic year or more, if the need arises, to build the young ones’ positive potential.

“Through these matchings, as well as recreational and group activities, our matches share friendship, support and fun, but most importantly, we build holistic young men who can face the current social challenges faced by young in the area with hope for their future,” he says.

“Too many of them are lost when they are recruited into gangs, drop out of school, stand on street corners or become fathers at young ages and this does not bode well for their future.

“Both mentors and mentees make a commitment to spend time together throughout the academic year. They can participate in activities that they both enjoy and we are also available at all times to answer questions, offer support and help matches work through challenges that may arise.”

Steenberg adds that the project was also started to get people in the community to play a part in helping youth at risk change their lives.

“There are so many complaints in the area about the young men loitering on our streets,” he says.

“When you see all these men on our streets you know we have a problem, but here is a chance to be part of a change in those lives.

“We need mentors who will try to deal with the holistic needs of the boys we will be mentoring.

“Many boys in our community grow up without a father figure, let alone a brother figure. These mentors will fill those roles for as long as possible.

“The advantage of the programme is that we have the skill set in our community. Once we identify the needs of the child, we can simultaneously deal with the parent(s) to complement our programme and effectively reach our goal of creating positive youth in our community.”

The first meeting to recruit mentors is taking place at the Kenfac Toy Library on the corner of 12th and Facreton avenues (next to Shawco) on Thursday at 18:00.

V For more information call Cheslyn Steenberg on 083 543 1344.

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