Saturday, August 25, 2018

American student volunteers support Cape Town NPOs

The youngsters visited the Mother City during June and July, as
part of an initiative organised by the international
organisation Student-Athletes Abroad. 
Nawaal Nacerodien, the South African director of Beyond Sports
who facilitated the project, said that the students contributed
in areas such as fundraising, research and social media
communications. “While many of the students are excellent
athletes, they were mainly selected for their people and life
skills that would enable them to make a difference in a variety
of programmes. It has been a life-changing cross-cultural
and development experience for many.”
Mornings were spent at the offices of Inyathelo (The South
African Institute for Advancement) in Woodstock. This
organisation has a well-equipped Civil Society Sustainability
Centre, where the students could strategise, plan and undertake
research using its state-of-the-art facilities. During
afternoons they volunteered at NPOs throughout the peninsula.
Twenty-year-old Chelbi Graham, who is studying early childhood
education at John Carroll University in north-eastern Ohio,
worked with Project Playground in Langa and Gugulethu.
“As an Afro-American, I was interested in visiting Africa, and
to discover South Africa for myself,” said Chelbi, who excels
in basketball as well as track and field events. “Project
Playground is involved in numerous activities like netball,
soccer, art, dance and after-school tutoring. It helps children
develop their self-esteem and belief in the future.”
Twenty-two-year old Marie Brockman is a biology graduate from
Arcadia University in Pennsylvania. “I first came to South
Africa two years ago, for two weeks,” she said. “I fell in love
with the country and was keen to return and help out.”
Marie got involved in Community Health Intervention Programmes
(CHIPS), which exposed her to learning and physical activity
programmes for four to nine-year-olds at 17 Cape Town schools.
The organisation also offers Optifit exercise classes for 15-60
year-olds; and the Live It Up programme which helps keep senior
citizens physically and mentally active.
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