President Clinton Visits City Year South Africa

City Year South Africa was honoured yesterday to host former President Bill Clinton at a service event in Freedom Park, Soweto.  President Clinton, together with our former President Nelson Mandela played an important role in the founding of City Year South Africa. Hosting a conference on Civil Society in Cape Town in 2001, Mandela extended an invitation to Clinton, who accepted and brought along a delegation from the US, which included representatives from City Year Inc. It was after this conference that dialogue started about a possible City Year in South Africa and the site was officially launched in 2005.

The event yesterday was held at the Ikusasa Lethu Youth Project, which serves the children and residents of the Freedom Park and Devland communities. Ikusasa Lethu (which means “Tomorrow is in our hands) serves three meals a day to almost 300 children and also provides home-based care to the elderly.

140 City Year South Africa Service Leaders and staff were on site from 11am preparing the project, which included repainting the outside walls of the centre, creating murals and new signage and helping to revamp the food garden, which is used to grow vegetables that are used in meals for the children.

Service began at 2:30pm with over 200 community members, centre staff and the City Year team working to transform Ikusasa Lethu.

President Clinton and his daughter Chelsea arrived at 3pm and were welcomed at the entrance by City Year’s power greeters. Both he hand his daughter were presented with City Year jackets, which they wore for the duration of the event.

President Clinton went on a tour of Ikusasa Lethu, lead by Joey Monane, the project’s director. He stopped on numerous occasions to talk to children and Service Leaders he met along the way.

After spending almost an hour interacting with all the volunteers and watching the amazingly speedy progress they were making with their work, President Clinton joined everyone for a group photo.

After his departure, City Year and the rest of the volunteers completed the remaining work, ultimately completely painting the outsides of 4 buildings, painting ten murals and a new sign, and creating 10 vegetable beds – all in just under 2 hours!

All in all an amazing and inspirational day!

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Are You Thinking About Applying to be a Part of City Year?

Here is some information to get you started:

  1. Learn about City Year

The more you read, the more you get to know…

City Year is a non profit organisation that unites a group of diverse young people in a year of full time service, giving them the skills and opportunities necessary to change the world. City Year provides a rigorous year of full-time service, leadership development and skills training to young South African volunteers (Service leaders) between the ages of 18-25 years. But that’s just the start…visit our website to learn more www.cityyear.org.za

2. What will you do as a Service Leader?

  • Tutor/mentor children through the City Year Children’s Club (after-school programme)
  • Implement various projects within the school and surrounding community
  • Attend training sessions to equip yourself with the skills necessary to provide quality service in schools, enhance your future prospects and develop your leadership capacity

3. What kind of candidate are we looking for?

Every Service Leader is unique and brings with them their own skills, experience and talent. However there are core skills/experiences that make you a stronger candidate.

The ideal Service Leader is someone who demonstrates or possesses the following:

  • A passion and love for working with big groups of kids
  • The ability to work on a team – you will work with a diverse group of people!
  • Some volunteer experience – to understand how hard volunteers need to work
  • Commitment – City Year is not easy, so we look for people who are committed to sticking it out
  • Leadership skills – we are looking for people who can, and have, demonstrated their leadership skills
  • Is confident and well presented
  • Has begun thinking about their life after City Year
  • Is self disciplined, and focused
  • And most importantly – wants to make a difference in the world!

Visit our website now to find out more and download an application form www.cityyear.org/joincy

Making a Difference at Winnie Ngwekazi Primary School

By Wayne Tsotetsi

The first day that we spent in our school, got me feeling both anxious and excited. I couldn’t wait to see Winnie Ngwekazi and its learners for the first time!
The principal made it very clear from the start that we had to give her good results when working with her learners and the school. This meant that we had to perform at our level best.
Our recruitment of learners for the City Year Children’s Club went well, and even though we didn’t get quite as many learners as we had hoped for (because of other after-school programmes running concurrently to ours), that didn’t keep us from working as hard as we had promised. Our team arrived early every day and assisted in the many tasks that had to be done at the school. We helped with look and feel and we ushered, swept and cleaned chairs when the school hosted parents meetings. We also helped with the feeding scheme, relieving some of the stress from teachers since they already had so much to do with so little time. The attitude of the principal and teachers quickly changed towards us. They began to communicate more with us and acknowledged how passionate, and creative we were when helping at the school. This also motivated us into doing more for the school. Today the teachers offer to help us instead of us helping them. Before the school embarks on any project they consult us, so that they can hear our views concerning what they what they want to achieve.
The effort that we put into the school helped build our relationships with the staff and today we work together to achieve one goal.