For Robyne Smith, a 31-year-old woman from Tafelsig, Mitchells Plain, the School Safety Ambassador Programme was a life-changing experience.
Robyne was one of 83 School Safety Ambassadors, deployed across the Western province at schools in communities including Mitchells Plain, Strandfontein, Khayelitsha, Manenberg, Bonteheuwel and Robertson
She enjoyed her mastery sessions where she learned about 'deep listening' and being attentive to others. In the past, Robyne would interrupt others when they were trying to communicate with her, and she would 'listen to respond' but has since learned to appreciate the power of being fully present and attentive when others are speaking.
"People feel a sense of being heard and valued if you look them in the eyes and sincerely listen to what they are saying," explains Robyne.
On 17, 20 and 25 March 2021, 74 School Safety Ambassadors participated in the certification ceremonies for the school safety ambassadors, signaling the end of the programme which commenced on 1 April 2020.
This followed an intensive training period of two weeks in partnership with Chrysalis Academy, focusing on personal mastery, leadership, and peacebuilding. It included training to unpack the experiences, learnings, and recommendations for the improvement of the School Safety Ambassador Programme.
Additionally, Robyne enjoyed the meditation sessions and the emotional intelligence workshop where she learned about being in control of her emotions. These sessions have changed her mindset, and how she addresses challenging situations at her placement organization and home.
She feels that she is calmer and more in control of how she reacts to people and situations. Having been a School Safety Ambassador and participated in further training, Robyne is inspired to complete her matric as she was not able to do so when she was younger.
She would also like to study office administration after being exposed to administration tasks at the school where she was placed.
In the short term, she has applied to work in the Youth Safety Ambassador Programme and looks forward to furthering opportunities for growth, development and gaining workplace experience.
Going forward, the current cohort of School Safety Ambassadors will be eligible to become Youth Safety Ambassadors to gain further training opportunities and work experience as youth violence prevention facilitators.
Submitted to Parent24 by the Western Cape Minister of community safety.
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