Programme encourages kids to become leaders

John Alexander and Mary Cupido with the group of children from Retreat.

New Season Foundation, a non-profit organisation based in Retreat, has been making a difference in the lives of youth from Retreat and Steenberg, affirming the NPO’s motto, “Transforming minds, Elevating lives”.

John Alexander, a Retreat resident and chairperson of New Season Foundation, has always had a passion for children and was a rugby coach since his teenage years. He has now taken on the task of changing the lives of the young people in his community.

John started by having after-school programmes for the youngsters in the community. Initially 11 children joined the programme and shortly after numbers have increased to 30.

The previous two years John had volunteered to teach life skills at high schools in the surrounding areas, making his way to Crestway High School, teaching Grade 10 and 11 pupils. His teachings have become part of their subjects and timetables.

Despite his love for children, working with them can be quite a challenging task as they come from various backgrounds and often needed more than just the life skills he was offering. They needed discipline, love and attention. This is when John met up with Mary Cupido and her son Aubrey Cupido from Retreat who willingly assisted John with his initia-

Ms Cupido, who has a background of working with foster children and is known in the community as a “mother to all”, finds working with the children interesting and explained that she had seen a change in the children’s behaviour. “Sometimes when I see a change in a child, I do not approach them immediately but I wait till the class has ended then I speak to him or her,” said Ms Cupido.

The NPO, however, is struggling as it has not received much financial support. John, a single dad and volunteer, Ms Cupido a pensioner and Aubrey who helps with the children, use their own money and small donations that have been received for resources such as books, pencils, pencil colours, paint and many more.

John explained that every now and then people came along with contributions and they were very grateful for it. “It is not about the stuff the children get – these kids get love and attention and they understand that there are people who take care of them,” said

John said it was not only about getting more people to donate but also to volunteer to make a change in children’s lives as the aim of the initiative was to keep the children off the streets and encourage them to become the leaders of tomorrow. “We want to teach them the positive things – respect, how to carry themselves and instil in
them that there is a future,” said John.

If you want to help the foundation, call John on 071 874