YMCA opens centre for young opportunities

2016-12-06 06:01
Celebrating the launch of a resource centre at the YMCA in Observatory are, from left, Elmo Lynch from Retreat, Sindiswa Mbude from Nyanga, Sharnelle Cader from Paarl, Michael Henry from Wynberg, Natasja Manie from Rondebosch East, Buddy Golding from Athlone, Brandon Kadalie from Ruyterwacht, Colleen Davids from Mitchell’s Plain and Nomthetho Cuntswana from Delft. PHOTO: GARY VAN DYK

Celebrating the launch of a resource centre at the YMCA in Observatory are, from left, Elmo Lynch from Retreat, Sindiswa Mbude from Nyanga, Sharnelle Cader from Paarl, Michael Henry from Wynberg, Natasja Manie from Rondebosch East, Buddy Golding from Athlone, Brandon Kadalie from Ruyterwacht, Colleen Davids from Mitchell’s Plain and Nomthetho Cuntswana from Delft. PHOTO: GARY VAN DYK

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The youth development programme Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), situated in Observatory, officially opened its new resource centre last Thursday.

YMCA aims to be a “bridge” for young people who want to get connected to opportunities in areas like self-improvement, help with drug abuse, food and other basic needs.

The programme is recognised for its continuous efforts to help the youth develop in further education, communication and leadership skills.

The Y-Justice Prison Programme, hosted by the YMCA, takes place twice a week for four hours, and is specifically aimed at young offenders and prisoners who are about to be released.

The Youth Justice Resource Centre will help youth who are looking for short and long-term opportunities in leadership and self-development. The Y-Justice programme isn’t just aimed at offenders, but also the general walk-in public who find out about the project.

The programme hosted an event on Wednesday in celebration of the launch. Members, as well as volunteers of the organisation, spoke out about their experiences and what life was like for them before they joined the YMCA.

Elmo Lynch, a former prisoner who has been in and out of prison for the last sixteen years, has been a volunteer at the organisation for six months since his release. He says he makes his contribution by sharing his story and empowering other young people with life leadership and skills.

Lynch also participated in the Y-Justice Prison Programme for five years while locked up.

“They’ve taught me how to communicate [and] organised rehab which I completed and received a certificate for. I also did a business and an IT course which I feel is very important because today one needs to be computer literate in order to find a job.

“I feel good to be giving back. If it weren’t for the YMCA, I’d still be selling drugs,” he adds.

Brandon Kadalie, the programme’s director who also spent time in prison, says: “Young people are known for the bad things they do, and are always in conflict with the law. YMCA is a place of hope ... our home away from home.”

Sindiswa Mbude, YMCA project coordinator, says: “We ask them to join us at YMCA where we act as a bridge for change and also offer counselling to help them reconnect with their families and society. We assist them in writing up their CVs, let them use the internet to apply for jobs and look at the various online courses that are available. We also provide accommodation and other basic needs such as food.”

V For more information about the YMCA follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on @ymcact.

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