The right course can boost a teen or families ability to face choices in just a few weeks. Hope House runs the Better Life Choices and Strengthening Families courses all over Cape Town.
Better Life Choices welcomes teens into a safe place where they can learn about how to make choices for a successful future. The 8 week programme is for Youth At Risk, who may need help expressing themselves and understanding the power of their choices to shape their lives – for good or bad. We hope to Equip, Motivate and Educate youth through this powerful course. We equip them with tools to better manage their emotions, we motivate them towards their future and we educate them about the importance of values, goals and the pitfalls that might occur. The 8 week programme is currently being run with primary schools and we suggest that the learners are in Grade 4 – 7. This is an age of 10 – 14. at Primary Schools in areas like Kuils River and the Southern Suburbs in Cape Town.
Each Better Life Choices group has 10 learners in it and we now run one group per school per term. We currently serve 3 schools in Kuils River and 2 schools in the Southern Suburbs. Of course we would love to serve more schools, we receive many requests for Better Life Choices youth courses from many schools, but due to limited resources we can only offer it to a select number of schools.
Where are we running the Better Life Choices Programme in 2017?
What is the Better Life Choices Programme all about? The power of Choice
In a second a teen’s life can be shaped or harmed: a few words can form a threat, a movement of a hand can turn into a blow, the word “Yes” can lead to drug use, theft or worse. This course uses open discussion, role playing and internal reflection to grow and develop youth ability to understand and make choices. The course also gives youth 45 minutes a week where they feel special, with plenty of attention focused on them. The difference this can make to a youth’s self esteem is huge, which goes on to positively impact their ability to make good healthy choices which align to a good self image.
Most South African homes are run by single mothers (only 33% of children in South Africa live with both parents). Research has shown that children who have an absent fathers have 5 times the average suicide rate, 32 times the average rate of incarceration, increased risk of depression, far higher rate of substance abuse and higher divorce rate and issues around relationships. Understanding the power of our parent role models – good or bad – helps teens to be aware of how that power may shape their choices in future.
Communication and Quality TimeFamilies are encouraged to boost their communication skills with practical methods that are easy to apply. Weekly Family meetings are a key way that families can improve communication. Its here that positive feedback, problem issues and family schedules and planning can be shared. Many misunderstandings can be avoided with regular family meetings. QUality time together is another family must-have. Spending time outdoors, doing hobbies or going on a special outing (even if that is just to go for an ice cream) help to bond the family and create memories. Addressing chores also helps to build a family as it becomes more functional and even younger family members learn about responsibility and team work.
Training the Trainers – Taking Strengthening Families Programme far and wideHope House is passionate about spreading the impact of this powerful family building course. Hope House Founder, Judy Strickland trains facilitators around the country on how to run the SFP program and then offers follow-up monitoring. The City of Cape Town have recognised the value of this program and Judy trains their Community Workers in the program and they run it in their Districts.
Strengthening Families – feedback
We always receive great feedback about the dramatic difference the course is making to the families in the communities. Many have remarked on the difference this program has made in the way their family relate to one another, others have mentioned that they had never before realised that their children did good as well as bad behaviour. Youth have benefitted from the fact that their parents now listen to them, and youth feedback that they love the extra time their parents are now spending with them. With so many families the desire to love, communicate well and spend quality time is there – they simply need practical steps on how to make that a reality.