ENGAGE OUR YOUTH
During my recent stay in Australia I was impressed with the involvement of the Youth in volunteer community work.
After discussions with Educators about youth development, it emerged that programmes that have the following characteristics attract and inspire kids and teens alike to “buy in”.
- 1.Goal and Results-Driven
Programmes with specific missions that are easy for kids to understand can help them “buy in” to the work of the group. Seeing quick results of their labour helps children and teens keep engaged as they learn new skills and overcome obstacles.
Children want to work when new learning is involved. They thrive on challenge. When programmes offer children the opportunity to build skills, meet new challenges, and observe the results of their efforts, they instill the value of hard work. Perseverance is learned through practice, by working consistently on one project.
- 3.Adult Mentors
As children learn skills, they need adult mentors who
- Support and encourage them,
- Set high expectation,
- Show interest in them as individuals,
- Foster self decision making, and
- Provide another perspective during problem-solving.
Environments that encourage collaboration with adults and peers help children experience the connection between individual work and teamwork. These environments not only give them the opportunity to be learners but also invite them to become mentors and leaders themselves.
Work is fun for children and adults when we believe in what we are doing, learning from others, growing as individuals and nurturing new friendships in an environment where humor is cherished.
- 6.Giving Back
There is no better way to teach perseverance and the value of hard work than through programmes that give back to the community. When children experience the joy of accomplishment through the eyes of those in need, they move beyond a focus of me to a focus on us. They learn that social good can be derived from individual and team efforts.
Research has shown that kids who work on programmes develop positive attitudes towards work and life. They learn to believe in themselves and what they can accomplish.
Do these 6 steps apply to all of our Youth in South Africa?
Yes, for those who have parental support and are in a school environment that fosters and supports these ideals, but what about all the children who come from backgrounds where surviving day by day is the predominant factor.
There are Thousands of children who have no hope of a good education, of ever finding a job, and in a lot of cases, are in a Child-Headed Household situation where they have to care for their younger siblings, with no hope of attending school regularly.
This is the reality in South Africa and in many African countries.
For these children the 6 steps would be Utopia.
Many youth are disengaged from mainstream society and tend not to be attracted to traditional youth programmes. They do not find the activities interesting or useful, nor do they feel a kinship with the youth of other races.
I don’t want this subject to become an academic exercise. So the question is where and how do we, the E-Club, contribute and make a difference?
We have our flagship project at EKUTHULENI PRIMARY SCHOOL, where we have had excellent results through our involvement and with the support of their Principal and teachers.
Maybe we should now be thinking of expanding our involvement by finding other suitable schools and by involving more principals and teachers for the good of the Youth in their community.
It is a challenge for our members to come up with suggestions. The reality is that youth come from all types of communities and it is there, on their turf, that we as Rotarians can reach out to them and make a difference. We need YOUR support.
And now on to a different subject on YOUTH
As we will shortly have our Club’s first Long Term Exchange Student with us, it seems appropriate to speak about this Rotary Programme.
Rotary Youth Exchange programme started in 1927. Since then there have been thousands of Youth Exchange students and currently more than 8 000 PER ANNUM from 82 countries who have had the opportunity to learn about new cultures and ways of life.
The Rotary Youth Exchange programme is considered to be the most powerful force in promoting international understanding and peace by exposing Youth to different cultures. The world becomes a smaller, friendlier place when we learn that all people desire the same basic things, a safe comfortable environment for our children and ourselves. Youth Exchange plants the seeds for a lifetime of international understanding.
We a looking forward to welcoming our new friend, Enrique, from Gran Canaria, shortly.
Rotary is not the only Organisation concentrating on Youth , ONE YOUNG WORLD founded in 2009 by David Jones and Kate Robertson is a London based charity that gathers together young people from around the world. Helping them establish lasting connections to create positive change.
Their Summit this year is being held in Johannesburg with the motto GIVING THE LEADERS OF TOMORROW A VOICE TODAY. If you want to know more go to www.oneyoungworld.com.
GO TO MEETING Monday 30 September 2013 presented by Irene Kotze