For the past three months SLF has been working to build interest and participation in an afterschool social club pilot programme, with help from a group of professional creative talent mentors, and in an effort to work closely with young people at risk in a series of positive life activities. A key aim of the process has been to explore ways to create opportunities for positive change in young people’s lives.
We have a committed group of 45 youth mobilised from five secondary schools in Delft who have been actively participating in weekly sessions (after school on a Friday and Saturday) since the beginning of August. The intervention has been exploring and bringing about change to young people’s lives through:
- Peer to peer learning;
- Creative and healthy mentorship;
- Exposure to safe spaces and environments, for example, ‘no-drinking no drugs’ activities;
- Establishing ambassador / leadership roles;
- Encouraging community participation and ownership of the process;
- Developing new life skills.
In this time we have established a solid and exciting youth development and mentorship programme, which for now, is linked to three key social club activities, namely: 1) Skateboarding skills (with Mr Theo Poswayo), 2) Music production, performance and management (with Mr Simmah Mahlanyana, and 3) Story Telling and Film making (with Ms Kayla Petersen).
Simmah, music club mentor:
“Our music social club, now known as “Royal Harmony”, has developed such a great bond over these last few weeks, from mentees learning about music and showbiz – to sharing a bit about our lives beyond music – at home, at school, with friends etc. Our journey together has been absolutely beneficial for the mentees especially, as they have had training on different topics ranging from time management, financial management, and fan base management, to learning the difference between individual vs. group image. I invited a few professional people to come and inspire and motivate the mentees by talking about the pros and cons of their professions and also sharing what music means to them. A few weeks ago, we started writing songs focussed on problems and solutions experienced by youth in Delft. Just last week we recorded two of the songs in a music studio. The excitement I experienced on that day is unexplainable! After each session, the mentees leave so amped about new learnings and new experiences. The journey for me, personally, has been eye-opening – listening to the stories the youth share to learning more about their lives and issues affecting the realisation of their vision and dreams. It’s been such a wonderful journey and something that I will forever hold dear to my youthful heart.”
Kayla, film making mentor:
“I can honestly say that we are all pretty blessed to have had this opportunity. I mean, it’s not every day that we get to influence even just one person, and potentially make an impact. It’s been a tough journey so far. Taking kids from an environment where they wouldn’t normally be exposed to filmmaking has been tough. But nonetheless, they’ve adapted pretty well so far. We’re currently making a film exploring common themes in Delft, such as gangsterism, alcohol abuse, death, drugs and abuse. The story is a powerful one that we’re hoping gets into the community and inspires change. We’ve also done a few other film exercises to keep these kids on their toes. We’ve also managed to work alongside and with the other two programs. The skateboarders have helped us out by acting in one or two of our scenes.”
Theo, skateboard club mentor:
“When I started it was a big challenge, organising the kids, making sure that they have the boards and are able to skate. So basically it’s all about having fun. I use skateboarding as a tool to engage with them. So skateboarding and life skills as well, because that’s the most important thing – using skateboarding as a tool to engage with kids.”
What’s coming up in the following weeks?
The pilot programme aims to provide commentary and insight, not only into young people’s lives, but also their attitudes towards various social behaviours and activities, such as the act of consuming alcohol as a minor or participating in drug use. Measurement tools that we will use include peer to peer reflection and in-depth discussions, as well as an ongoing evaluation of programme participation and performance. We will also conduct a final qualitative post-intervention evaluation for comparative analysis with baseline data collected when the programme first started a few months ago. The programme will end with a small public event/exhibition in mid-November (2019) showcasing some of the social clubs’ achievements during that time.