New picture needed for success

2018-03-27 06:00
I am Passion volunteers at one of the schools sharing their programme with learners.

I am Passion volunteers at one of the schools sharing their programme with learners.

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I Am Passion, a non-profit organisation from Retreat, has grown and expanded considerably and they are happy with the progress they have made, although they feel a lot still needs to be done.

Starting off about two years ago with only eight volunteers, the organisation – which was registered last year – now has 25 full-time volunteers. The organisation for young people by young people was awarded a bronze medal last year at the Department of Social Development’s Ministerial Youth Excellence Awards for “encouraging self-expression through sports, arts and culture”.

Johnlyn van Reenen says the idea behind I Am Passion is to give other young people a picture of what success looks like. “Young people don’t have a picture of what success looks like. Our aim as an organisation is to give them that picture and be role models, showing them that there is an alternative to what they think is the way out for them. Looking at what is happening at the moment, young people look up to gangsters as they are the people with money, nice cars and nice houses, and none of those things are obtained the right way.”

Through the programmes they run they have seen many youngsters change their lives. This year, they hit the ground running with programmes such as “Counter Culture”, which addresses the moral degradation in society and general apathy towards education in schools, currently operating at Steenberg High, Crestway High and Sibelius High schools. They also facilitated several Grade 12 motivational camps throughout this month, which included schools such as Beacon Hill High, Oval North High, Ocean View Secondary and Portlands High schools, to name a few.

They are also excited to be relaunching the “Reset” programme, which is an entrepreneurial project aimed at high school drop-outs and unemployed young men. “Like the name suggests, we are resetting the mindsets and calling on all those who want to start again. Through this programme we give a holistic development programme as well as job readiness to get participants ready for employment.”

One of the programmes is “Creative Team”, which is made up of musicians, dancers and producers. They produce original content and they are looking to release their first EP in April. Another programme is “Inspirational Misfit”, where volunteers talk about their own struggles and challenges and also share with others how they overcame those struggles.

“This is one of the most powerful programmes. We use stories of our own people to motivate others. We all have been down at some point but hearing that one has been down and they made it up gives you hope. It just gives a new face to the message of hope that we are trying to spread. We are happy that the programmes are all growing and we hope to reach a lot more youth and make a huge impact in their lives,” says Van Reenen.

As busy as the organisation is, they are also preparing for their annual Go Leaders Conference taking place from Wednesday 4 to Sunday 8 April at the New Hope Church in Retreat where the organisation is housed.

“This is not a conference to be missed. We want everyone to come and hear our speakers bring a message of hope and talk about the issues that affect us and how we can make a change. We have a lot to do and we have people from here that can tell very inspiring stories, so don’t miss out,” says Van Reenen.

V For more information or to register for the conference, email iampassiongo@yahoo.­com.

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