Emmaus Assembly hosted a community outreach programme for youth on Wednesday December 16, the Day of Reconciliation, in Eagle Park.
The non-profit organisation was started by friends Basil Morgan of Eagle Park and Alfred Harrison of Phumlani Village who had turned their lives around after being on the streets and living a life of crime.
Six years ago they invested in changing the mindsets of the youth in their area and surrounds to prevent them from making the wrong decisions in life.
They have been working passionately to keep the youth busy with sport and life skills workshops.
The event on Wednesday, called “touching hearts” had jumping castles, face painting and mentors sharing their life stories with the youth. Artists included K-Nine Die Hond, Barendz, Warren Morgan, Devon Wildeman and Shade band.
“The purpose of this initiative is to prevent the youth from drug abuse and crime, as the gangsters are taking over our areas,” said Pastor Morgan.
He said one of the main reasons why youth choose gangsterism was the exposure to the wrong role models. “We are offering mentorship and support for the vulnerable youth and single parents who suffer abuse.”
Pastor Morgan said his aim is to give back to the community.
“We are active in Eagle Park, Pelican Park, Phumlani and New Horizon where we feed and give talks to encourage them not to get involved in gangsterism as crime doesn’t pay. We also play soccer with the boys.”
He said about 10 years ago he realised that what he was doing by committing crime was wrong.
His love for people drove him to help as he said, “I would like to see them prosper.”
Mr Harrison said he remembered when the tables turned for him. “I lived a life of crime and I was full of life trying to prove to people, thinking you know everything but you know nothing. It was a month before I was released from Pollsmoor prison when I became spiritual and I asked myself what am I doing here? I wanted to be a good example for my children. I thank God, I am more than a conqueror and I am now giving back to the community.”
Gloria Veale Oliver of Abbas Restoration House Ministries in Pelican Park, who introduced Emmaus Assembly to Southern Mail, said they had been active with an initiative before lockdown called Balls not Guns, where they encouraged the community to donate soccer balls for youth to keep them away from violent activities. “We have been in partnership with Alfred and Pastor Morgan and have been supporting them with food at their events.”
If children want to play soccer or receive mentorship contact Mr Harrison on 073 396 7791 or Pastor Morgan on 064 923 3824.