Twenty-five-year-old Retreat resident Dale Hendricks had a choice to make: he could be a professional soccer player or he could help his community. He decided to do the latter and about a year ago started the non-profit Restoring Hope Association (RHA), with a few of his friends.
The initial aim of the organisation was to take care of homeless people in areas such as Retreat, Grassy Park, Ottery, Lotus River and Muizenberg.
“We have identified spots in Cape Town CBD recently to hand out clothes and soup. We always package the clothes in different sizes, men’s and women’s clothes and we give them a bowl of soup as well,” he said.
But soon they were struck by the extent of homelessness in the city and started to focus on initiatves aimed at preventing young people from ending up on the streets. “Our future plans are to visit schools to teach them life-skills such as setting goals. We are focusing on primary schools first. And we will take a different approach by teaching the Grade 7s skills in a fun way. (Then) we will be taking on high schools.”
Mr Hendricks told Southern Mail that he grew up in Retreat, having been raised by his aunt Sheila Jacobs, after his parents divorced. “My aunt is my role model and she created an environment where we play a part in helping others. I was always lying awake at night about what my purpose in life is.”
He attended Lourier Primary School and Zeekoevlei High School after which he went on to study sports management at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).
It was during a six-month internship with the City of Cape Town, as a youth play leader, that his passion for community work was ignited.
“When I got a permanent position in Ocean View, in 2012, I enjoyed working with the different communities – helping them with reading, homework and wellness classes as well as sports such as volleyball. We also assisted seniors with sewing and knitting.”
However, while in Ocean View, he did some investigation and realised that the Retreat civic centre was not used for recreation. “I live close by and I felt the need to help the people in my area. I started the NPO in September last year, and resigned from the City in May.”
He said while he has a passion for working with children, it is hard work. “We need to get resources, to find the right programmes for the kids and we need more volunteers to come on board.”
If you are interested in joining them or supplying them with the necessary resources, contact Mr Hendricks at 078 008 9331 or email firstname.lastname@example.org