This is part of LifeXchange’s coined slogan; Holistic sustainable transformation of youth-at-risk. But, it’s very hard to measure a point at which this is reached, it’s not a tick in a check box or a graduation from a 3 month life skills programme, so how does one know when you’ve reached it? We have a complex list of developmental criteria which helps us know this, but so much of it is only known when the youth are ‘put to the test’ in a situation which previously would have turned out very different, here’s an example:
Three guys were asked to play in a team for an Ultimate Frisbee tournament at UCT. It just so happened that there was no-one around who could go with them on this particular occasion, and so I had to hand over the responsibility to them. It felt like the moment when a parent takes the training wheels off and lets the child ride for the first time without them. You realize at that moment that suddenly the room for error is so huge!
On this big day, they woke up on time, met with their inbound lift, managed the money I gave them for their train and taxi rides back, they found the team they were meant to be playing for, made friends, of course being the brilliant athletes that they are they played brilliantly. They also performed successfully as part of a team, they communicated well, they responsibly turned down offers of beers and smokes during and after the games. They were polite, well mannered, looked people in the eye and said their thank you’s and independently made their way back home. But, even greater than that…..they did this without one single instruction or mention of what was expected of them. THAT is sustainable change! So exciting!