Volunteers get boost for future

2018-12-19 06:01
: The 30 volunteers who participated in the recent Standard Bank Ironman 5051 African Triathlon series.Photo: supplied

: The 30 volunteers who participated in the recent Standard Bank Ironman 5051 African Triathlon series.Photo: supplied

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THE B Blessed basketball mentoring programme is on the rise and most of their volunteers are deployed to participate in various Ironman events in the Bay.

The volunteers, mostly unemployed and based in PE, received certificates in recognition of their work in assisting all Ironman athletes.

According to Riga Vermaak, marketing coordinator at B Blessed, Zelda Ennis from Ironman contacted her regarding volunteers for the 2018 Isuzu Ironman 70.3 World Championship.

“We got 34 volunteers together for the Isuzu World Championship, and when Khanyisa Bada from Ironman contacted me for another event, I immediately said yes. Our volunteers come from all over PE, but many are from Kwazakhele and are unemployed or students.”

B Blessed is a basketball mentoring programme based in Kwazakhele. It was born in 2017 out the hearts of Luvuyo Meleni and Mthuthuzeli Matikinca, with a love for basketball and their community. The programme aims at giving previously disadvantaged youth a safe place to belong, to learn teamwork and discipline through basketball. They are mentored by coaches who are currently based in Kwazakhele. One of the founders of the programme, Meleni, said, “The programme started off as an informal way to get kids off the streets after school by providing them with a safe place to come to and participate in an activity that promotes a healthy lifestyle.”

According to Avela Mbewu, one of the volunteers, their participation in the various events helps in learning more about the tourism industry and being able to interact with different people and cultures from around the world.

“It was very exciting and a wonderful experience to be part of such a big international event. It gave us the opportunity to be tourism ambassadors to our city and show people from around the world what a beautiful place Port Elizabeth is. We also did an assignment about Ironman and our fellow students were very excited to hear about Ironman and how it brings tourists to our city,” Mbewu added.

The programme has big plans in place for 2019 to help curb crime in the Bay through starting a men’s and ladies’ team for teens after completing their matric.

Vermaak added, “We will also be kicking off with a tekkie drive in February 2019 in partnership with Newton Park Methodist Church, Brian Bands sport, Collegiate High School for girls, Grey Boys’ High School and hopefully a few more schools. This will help to give kids a better life.”

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