Bokamoso Youth Programs
The Bokamoso Youth Centre offers valuable programming and services to the youth of the Winterveldt community in South Africa. What follows is a concise description of the Centre’s core activities.
- Adolescent Development Program (ADP): ADP is a three-month program where youth come to learn life skills in a safe and supportive environment. Through facilitated discussions and activities, youth develop self-awareness, explore values, create new bonds, gain confidence and rediscover a sense of hope and self-belief.
- Love Life Program: After ADP, Bokamoso youth participate in this three-month nationwide program which trains them to become mentors for younger students in the area. As mentors, the Bokamoso youth visit local classrooms and lead workshops focused on AIDS awareness, conflict management and life skills training. By helping others confront the many challenges brought on by poverty, crime, and unemployment, Bokamoso mentors solidify their own learning and begin to identify themselves as community role models.
- Scholarship Program:Bokamoso's scholarship program has three main components to insure youth success and effective use of scholarship funds. First, the College/Vocational Preparation Program (CVP) prepares students for the scholarship application process and develops their study skills. Second, Bokamoso staff closely monitor student progress through regular meetings and academic follow-up. Third, a resource center offering textbooks, laptops, peer support, and a safe, quiet study enviroment is currently under development. The annual Bokamoso Dream Breakfast held in Washington, DC support the scholarship Program. All funds raised at the breakfast are dedicated to running the Bokamoso Youth Centre and its Scholarship Program. To date, over 60 youth received Scholarships.
- Performing Arts Program: Through the efforts of Roy Barber and Leslie Jacobson, two accomplished American playwrights and drama teachers, and talented Bokamoso staff, this program provides Bokamoso youth with the opportunity to develop their talents in music and theater. Performance pieces include traditional song and dance, as well as plays and vignettes emerging directly from their life experience. In Winterveldt, the youth perform at schools and community organizations. Each year, twelve youth are selected for a month-long visit to the US. During their stay, the youth perform throughout the metropolitan DC area to raise funds for their community and share about their lives and the Youth Centre.
- Counseling and Social Services: A full time social worker serves on the Bokamoso staff and provides counseling, home visits, behavioral support and crisis intervention to its youth. She also helps them navigate government entitlement programs and maximize use of available resources.
- Staff Development: Bokamoso is blessed with seven staff members who work tirelessly on behalf of the youth. Staff development programs provide staff with team-building activities as well as opportunities for professional training and skill building.
- Youth Leadership Projects: Recently, Bokamoso Centre has been the launching pad for several student leadership projects. Individuals or groups of Bokamoso youth have initiated their own programs to “give back” to their community and to create a local economy. Examples include a student-led scholarship support group, a women’s peer support group, an independent theater troupe, a “mini-Bokamoso” youth centre in the nearby town of Soshanguve and a proposed Winterveldt tour agency. These initiatives demonstrate the impact the Bokamoso Youth Centre has had in empowering youth to make a difference in their own communities.