Living Social Justice

A blog about responding to poverty and injustice, everyday and in all sorts of ways

Archive for the month “October, 2012”

Volunteer Q&A – Maintenance Ministry

Full name: Denton Walters

Congregation: Rondebosch PM

Occupation: Quality Assurance Officer at present, previously an Architectural Technologist

How long have you been a volunteer with the Maintenance team? For approximately 2 years

Why did you choose to volunteer for this ministry? I wanted get involved more with church and found this ministry appealing as it is something I love doing – hands on kind of work.

Can you explain what you do as part of the Maintenance team? Well, as part of the team, I’m involved in almost everything from gardening to painting to plumbing. You don’t need to be an expert or a specialist to be able to help because some of the things we learn as we go along and, if necessary, acquire the aid of a specialist. My background and practical knowledge has given me an advantage which helps me to help others learn as well 🙂

Some examples:
NETwork in Wynberg – we put up some shelves, hung curtains, painted some walls and even hung some pictures.
The Warehouse in Wetton – we installed some ceiling boards, installed and repaired some drywalls, painted etc.
Sisters Inc. in Kenilworth – we repaired some cupboards, did some gardening and generally just gave the place a good clean from the parking lot to the gutters on the roof.
NuLife in Southfield – we fitted some fixtures, installed glass shelving for their display and also gave some walls a new coat of paint. Beth Uriel in Salt River – the goal was to get new gutters fitted but we did a little more than this and we were treated to lunch with the young men that live there. (Was really awesome!)

These are just some of the things that I’ve done as part of this amazing team.

What are some of the challenges you face in volunteering with this team? One of the main challenges has been to try and get more dedicated people involved and also getting to some of the locations. What keeps me going is that I enjoy doing this and being a part of a dedicated team of individuals who also enjoy doing this.

What has been the most fulfilling part of your volunteer experience? It’s an amazing feeling knowing that my time can be used to help organisations with something I enjoy doing. Not only do I get to do what I enjoy but also help where it’s needed, in a practical sense and seeing the end result.

-If you’d like to find out more about helping out with the Maintenance Ministry, email us at info@commongood.org.za.

Portraits of South Africa

This photo by photographer Ryan Roake is part of a photo series which captures the diversity of the people living in Missionvale, Red Location, an area on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth. The aim of the series was to capture the brighter side of this area and its people. Do you think it succeeded?

Click here for more photos from this series.

What would your portrait of South Africa look like?

Volunteer Q&A – Bedtime Reading

Full name: Christy Wheeler

Congregation: Bosch PM

Occupation: Business Manager, Graphic Design Agency

How long have you been a volunteer at Christine Revell Children’s Home? A little over 1 year

When do you go and for how long? I go on a Thursday evening for 1 hour from 6-7pm

Can you explain what you do while you’re there? We get the opportunity to read stories to the kids before they go to bed. There are about 30 kids and usually about 4-5 volunteers. So we each take the kids in pairs, choose a book and find somewhere to read to them in. We read for about 20 mins with each pair. That allows us to read to about 3 pairs in the hour. At the end we help to put the kids to bed. They all love it when we pray with them once they are all tucked in.

Can you tell us a bit about Christine Revell? CRCH is an amazing facility that is dedicated to caring for children who have been removed from their families for various reasons or abandoned. They care for the kids, feed, clothe and school them while they live in the home. There are 3 groups of kids: babies, toodlers and preschoolers. Unfortunately they don’t have the facilities to look after the kids once they go to Grade 1, so either they get reunited with their families or they get sent to another facility until they turn 18. CRCH relies on funding and volunteer help. And the kids really enjoy interacting with other people.

What are some of the challenges of volunteering with vulnerable children? These kids are hurt and broken. The symptoms of the injustices inflicted upon them range from lack of discipline and social skills to lack of empathy and attachment. Some of them don’t have long attention spans and often act out to get attention. After a year of building relationships with the kids, I find it much easier to know their unique traits and how to deal with each of them where they are at.

What do you appreciate the most about volunteering at Christine Revell? There are often days when I wish I didn’t have to go – its a long drive for me from town in the rush-hour traffic, especially when it’s raining. Most times I push through my selfish desires and go anyway and I am ALWAYS happy that I make that decision. I have so much fun with the kids and love having the opportunity to pray with them and build into their lives in some small way. Tickling them and making them laugh is the best.

I would really recommend this volunteer  opportunity to those who work during the day. I know a lot of the opportunities are during the day and this is one that only requires 1 hour of your week, after work. But beware – Once you get to know these kids, they crawl into your heart and never leave.

-If you would like to find about more about volunteering at Christine Revell, email info@commongood.org.za.

5 Quick Links to Get Your Brain Ticking

Happy Monday! We hope you had a wonderful weekend. To get you back into the swing of things, here are some interesting stories and articles we’ve been reading…

1. Suffer the Little Children – An article on Child Gauge 2012 reveals what it’s like to be a child in South Africa

2. The Homeless World Cup – In case you missed it, here’s some of the action from earlier this month

3. Alf Kumalo’s History in Pictures – In honour of the acclaimed South African photographer who passed away today

4. What Does Justice Look Like? – How we can move from charity towards biblical justice

5. Would You Move into Hillbrow? – This family did! Follow their story

Have you read anything interesting lately? Please share it with us below…

(Photograph courtesy of Ashley Baxter, via Flickr.com)

Volunteer Q&A – Beth Uriel Tutoring

Full name: Murray Armstrong

Congregation: Rondebosch PM

Occupation: Common Ground Church Fuel Team/ UCT Chemical Engineering Student

How long have you been a volunteer at Beth Uriel? 1.5 years

When do you go and for how long? Tuesday nights, 7-9PM

Can you tell us a bit about Beth Uriel? Beth Uriel is a home for male students who are busy completing high school or tertiary education who don’t have a home or family support that is suitable for a learning environment. At Beth Uriel the students receive free lodging, food and transport to and from school. The aim of Beth Uriel is to provide them with a sufficient learning environment to see them finish their secondary or tertiary education and find a vocation. The house has an established history and has been an incredible blessing to many of the boys who have come through their doors.

Can you explain what you do while you’re there? I help with Maths tutoring. Usually if the two guys I help have homework questions we’ll go through them, otherwise I take along past papers and I’ll  assist them when they get stuck or make an error. I try to get them to think and see where their error lies as opposed to just giving them the answer.

You have a very different background to many of the young men at Beth Uriel. Did you feel intimidated by this at first? I was a little apprehensive at first, mostly because I did not know what to expect. But that soon disappeared as I got to know the guys and saw that I was able to help them out. Most of the students are driven to achieve and want to learn and so it was easy to help them with their positive attitudes. Although I come from a completely different background, we quickly found similar interests like soccer or music and so it was easy to establish a friendship.

What are  some of the challenges you face in volunteering? Some of the students don’t have the best foundations in Maths and struggle with English. They can take a long time to perform simple calculations. They often want to always use their calculator instead of doing simple sums in their heads. It can be frustrating for you and them to understand new concepts, especially after you’ve explained it numerous times. Sometimes progress is slow, but I always leave feeling I’ve been part of something good- that keeps me coming back.

What has been the most fulfilling part of your volunteer experience? It’s a great feeling seeing a student grasp a concept that you’ve explained to them. That lightbulb moment is incredible.

– To find out more about tutoring at Beth Uriel, email us at info@commongood.org.za.

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