Teens on a mission to make a difference

Pictured, from left, are Teenz On a Mission, Cedar High School pupils Chloe Payne, Lauren Crainstein, Rayvonne Maneveldt, Rachelle Classen, Jenna-Leigh Ferley, Keelyn Witten and Chad Hamner.

Cedar High School pupils are making a difference – one meal at a time.

The Rocklands school is one of five in the Metropole South Education District (MSED), participating in an after-school leadership programme, called Teenz On a Mission (TOM), encouraging leadership development and service to the community.

These schools include Tafelsig, Cedar, Lavender Hill, Ocean View, and Wynberg high schools.

On Wednesday November 2 the 15 pupils and staff cooked a 60-litre pot of akhni which they served to 200 pupils, who are fed daily by Peninsula Feeding Scheme Association. Between the staff and pupils, R2 000 was collected and the teachers brought ingredients.

“Charity begins at home,” said Grade 11 pupil Chad Hamner, “(so) we decided to start within the school.”

Teacher Courtney Edwards said the meal at school was the only one some pupils had for the day.

Grade 10 pupil Keelyn Witten said her peers eat the same food every day and that they had wanted to make a difference.

The pupils cooked another pot of food on Thursday November 3 to serve the residents of Sewende Laan informal settlement, in Strandfontein. On Friday November 4, they painted a classroom.

Keelyn said usually classrooms are vandalised but they want to make a change.

“We can make a difference and others can follow in our footsteps,” she said.

The aims of TOM include creating youth clubs on schools; occupying pupils after school in a meaningful way and in a safe environment; creating a space for pupils to engage around social or safety issues that impact them; to teach pupils life skills; to create an awareness among youth of their social responsibility; to create a sense of self-worth among pupils; and to enable youth from different schools in different geographical areas to communicate and work together towards a common goal.

Brian Jeftha, who heads up the project, hopes to have an event at the end of November where parents and other invitees will be able to listen to the experiences of pupils and where pupils can present their different community projects.

“We hope that learners involved in the 2016 programme will be able to run the programme on their own in 2017, with support from the district. The district will then look at how to expand the programme to other schools,” he said.