Mervin retires, continues community work

Mervin du Plooy, 60, from Strandfontein, retires after 26 years of service as a youth and child care worker.

Mitchell’s Plain youth and parents have a lot to learn about the five Rs of behaviour.

“Be responsible, respectful, reliable, resourceful and you must be a role model,” said retired youth and child care worker Mervin du Plooy, 60, from Strandfontein.

He retired from Mitchell’s Plain Department of Social Development (DSD) last month but is already working on another project to take care of the poor and destitute.

“I would like to continue to dedicate my life to nurturing and empowering my community.

“I especially enjoyed teaching this and seeing it implemented by participants of the courses I trained in over the last 26 years of service.”

Mr Du Plooy and a few colleagues will be running non-profit organisation Eurgon Flo Community Outreach, which will be working with abused children.

They have already signed up a Danish sponsor and will be based in Sewende Laan informal settlement, in Camp Drive.

“We would like to host women for three to four months and focus on their parenting.

“They will do learn-to-earn programmes, skills development, leadership and we hope to generate a generation with positive values, role models and stronger families.”

He was born in the Eastern Cape and relocated with his parents and siblings to Bonteheuwel, when he was 2 years old.

He dropped out of school in Standard 9 (now referred to as Grade 11).

“I just wanted to go to work,” he said.

He and a friend, Clint van Rheede, worked at Bonnytoun Child and Youth Care Centre in Rosmead Avenue, Wynberg.

Mr Du Plooy was a soccer player and coach, which helped him deal with delinquent children.

He then moved to Boys’ Town in Macassar between 1988 and 1993 before moving to Ottery Youth Care Centre as a senior child and youth care worker, which he left seven years later.

He was an acting supervisor for Tenterden Place of Safety in Wynberg, for abandoned, abused and neglected children.

About three year ago he moved to the Mitchell’s Plain DSD.

In the early 1980s Mr Du Plooy had completed a national higher certificate in residential child care, child education, psychology, management and administration, from what was then called Cape Technikon, today it is called Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

He also received certificates for completing courses with the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and Quaker Peace Centre.

Mr Du Plooy was particularly hands-on when it came to the DSD local office’s parenting and behaviour modification programmes which were aimed at equipping parents and children with the tools to communicate with and respect each other (“Families learn about discipline and communication”, Plainsman, June 12).

They also conducted home visits. “The child is assessed and assisted by a social worker, occupational therapist, nursing sister and youth and child care worker, who will nurture and develop his or her needs; and add more value to the solution of the problem.

“I want to develop the child who has been negatively influenced and to be empowered to make the right decisions,” he said.

Mr Du Plooy despite having retired, looks forward to work in his community and as an elder in the Mitchell’s Plain United Church.