Her passion for youth and community development has propelled her to do something to cultivate a sense of purpose and help the youth escape gangsterism. Shamiela de Villiers is the manager and coach for the Hanover Park Community Marching Band which was launched last year in March. “The reason why I started this marching band was to discipline children and to also keep them off the street and away from drugs and gangsterism,” she explains.The marching band is divided into two; the first group consists of 12 girls and boys between the age of six and eight. The second group has 40 girls and boys aged between 9 and 18. De Villiers is strict when it comes to practise sessions and attendance, which happens every day after school. She says they never used to practise so often, but because they have a few upcoming competitions they will be participating in, they felt they needed to up their game.The band is not just about marching but about instilling a sense of change in their mindsets. “I want them to occupy their minds with positive thoughts instead of standing on the corners and end up joining gangs,” she explains.De Villiers says she made the uniform for the band herself. To keep the momentum and to remain inspired, De Villiers calls upon parents to get involved. She says she would like the mothers to get involved by maybe donating anything they think would be needed. She says she has been depending on support from her friends for items such as small food packs for when they travel. That includes transport as most of the youngsters who participate come from unprivileged families. She also thanked all the people who have made donations such as drums. Her wish is to have more young people join the band. According to her, that would change the narrative and perception people have about Hanover Park.“People think if you live in Hanover Park you have no talent. They think we run around with guns. “All these children have so much potential,” she says. She complains of an open field they used to use to practise on. They are now unable to use it because gangsters perform their “activities” there, she says. Marching members Kiyana Sass (11) and Tiarick Levin (15) say they enjoy being part of the band. They wish for all their parents to show support and involvement in the band – a wish all the members of the band share.Tiarick, a Grade 10 learner at Mount View High School, says he has been part of the band for a year. He says he has no intentions of quitting because he enjoys marching and the lessons “aunty” teaches them. “She teaches us how to march, respect and discipline,” he says.Kiyana, a Grade 5 learner of Bellmore Primary School, echoes the same sentiment. “Aunty teaches us to always salute with our right hand,” she said.She added she wants to carry on marching with the band. When she finishes school, she dreams of becoming an air hostess. To make a donation or to book the band, call De Villiers on 084 264 1108.