Every year Emmanuel Apostolic Church runs a Children In Action (CIA) holiday club programme for the community of Beacon Valley.
This year, their theme was fire and ice, focusing on the good and the bad in their community and in their Christian beliefs.
Sergio Miller, 19, from Beacon Valley, who studies language and communications at the University of the Western Cape, is play leader at this year’s holiday club. “I feel passionate (about) working with the teenage groups. I would like to pass on my knowledge to them about high school as they’ll face different challenges and their attitude will change with what they’re experiencing in that time.
“Me doing this could inspire them. They could either do bad or be like me, choosing to follow my dreams instead.
“You have to teach other kids about God; it will change their mind-set. We have lots of gangsterism in this place and they’re becoming the role models. Some parents were not able to finish school which can affect our children if these parents aren’t putting the effort into their children to have them be the greatest they can be.”
Laaiqah Eksteen, 20, from Beacon Valley, who is studying chemical Science at the University of the Western Cape, said: “This holiday club programme is needed in our community as it keeps the children busy and off the streets. It is also needed to empower them and give them a broader mind-set of what they see around them, in the community, as all they see is negativity and we want to change that to positivity.
“I started holiday club in 2012 and working with these children has become my passion. I want to plant a seed of positivity in their lives.”
Tamelyn Williams, 22, from Beacon Valley who studies business management at the College of Cape Town, said: “It was in 2010 when I started doing holiday club at Emmanuel. I found a love for working with children. I want to influence them in a positive way, I want to make sure they grow up to be the best possible version of themselves.”
Robin van der Byl, 27, from Beacon Valley, who oversees the CIA holiday club and works for The Plain Media and Performing Arts, said: “Our children need heroes. All they see are gangsters in the community. They need positive people in their lives and need to be kept busy during the holidays. We try and remind them that things will get better in their lives. We are very grateful to our sponsors in the community and church who have helped us feed the children and have activities for them.”
Yorick Adams, 13, from Beacon Valley said he enjoyed holiday club because he had made new friends and learned new things.
Camden Mitchell, 13, from Beacon Valley added: “I have learned when you reach high school, you can change your life and not get involved with friends influencing you negatively. Holiday club is needed so that children do not smoke, get involved with gangsterism and stay off the streets. My friends tried to convince me to smoke and drink, I tried it but it did not work for me so I stopped.”
Brooklyn Fisher, 13, from Beacon Valley said: “I love playing the bass guitar and the drums, it is so much fun. My friends and I can share with each other what we like to do here. I learned a lot about relationships, God, respecting your parents and those around you.”
Zeenith Fortune, 9, from Beacon Valley said: “I came here to learn about God and have a relationship with him. I have also learned to treat everybody with respect even though I don’t know them. Holiday club is good for children in the community, lots of us can learn not to get involved in gangsterism and have a good job one day.”
This year the CIA holiday club celebrates its 10th holiday club in Beacon Valley. They have also mentored and taught a Namibian church how to run holiday club and Namibians from the towns of Oshakati, Opuwo and Rundu joined the holiday club in Beacon Valley from Monday June 25 to Friday June 29.