Girls & Boys Town, South Africa ­ hope for children and their parents - news

By: Girls and Boys Town  11-11-2011
Keywords: Educators

Latest News


False and inaccurate allegations were reported in the Cape Argus and Cape Times between 25-26 January 2011 regarding Girls and Boys Town Macassar. Girls and Boys Town is of the view that these incorrectly published reports may have a negative impact on our efforts to assist children who come from a troubled background as well as on our ongoing work aimed at preventing and managing challenges that affect South African children, families and communities.

To a large extent we rely on public support and understanding to keep Girls and Boys Town going. Thus it is important that we stress that we take the allegations seriously and do not support the false reporting.

M4 KZN Tongaat bridge repaired in 2010. Now our youth have safe access to the beach for recreational activities

Pikit Up Clean Up Day

Hiking trip through the Magaliesberg

Youth Participating in the Argus Cycle Race

Mandela Day
67 Minutes
18 July 2010

Outward Bound experience

Rural are in North West

Girls & Boys Town launches Learning Support Centre

Support Centre

Support Centre

“The theme for 2010 and the next year or two is Consolidation: Strengthen what we have and increase the quality of relationships, Care and nurturing of both youth and staff.” Derrick Groep, Head Residential Services

  • Girls and Boys Town has changed significantly since the appointment of the new CEO, Lee Loynes in 2007, and in 2008 the services were restructured and four divisions – Residential, Training and Education, Family Services and Evaluation and Research were formed in order to increase the benefits to youth, Family and Community. The benefits of the more defined roles and functions are slowly beginning to show in the different divisions.
  • Change happened turbulently and rapidly in residential service over the past three years. The restructuring resulted in opportunity of upward mobility for residential services staff. New staff were eventually appointed in all the residential campuses. This was followed by training in the specialized Long Term Residential Programme and training of the consultants. Two YCW’s at Magaliesburg and one at Kagiso successfully completed the Better Best Youth Care Worker Learnership.
  • A major achievement over the past three years has been the 85% pass rate . Of significance was the high pass rate of Matriculants. 2009 we had 2, matriculants at Magaliesburg, One at Glenwood and one at Verulam.  In 2010, 99% matric pass rate was achieved throughout Girls and Boys Town. This is remarkable given the fact that most of the youth come to GBT with educational deficits/challenges.
  • Many youth have been successfully reunited with their parents and families over the  past three years. Research conducted by the research and evaluation department found a high percentage of satisfied parents in the way GBT responded to the needs of the youth and provided support for the families. They believed GBTSA was doing a good job in helping their children.
  • Whilst the core work GBT is teaching youth social skills, these have been supplemented with a number of other learning opportunities eg,. Wilderness Leadership Trails (six girls benefitted from two courses), Outward Bound Adventure Courses ( more than one hundred boys and girls benefitted from these courses.
  • Other achievements included a number of vocational and fun programmes:
    1. A number of youth completed vocational courses post GBT such as  Paramedics Training, Security Courses, Cullinary courses, Hair Dressing, Welding etc.
    2. More than 20 youth participated in the Nelson Mandela Presidents Awards and achieved, Bronze and Silver Awards.
    3. Youth from the Dingle family home twice participated in the Argus cycle , while youth from Magliesburg participated in the Briathe Mont Grace Cycle Race.
    4. A number of them also participated in hikes up Table mountain, Drakensburg and Magalieburg mountain ranges.
    5. Two youth from Macassar YDC were elected to go to London on a Youth Leadership Programme run by the Amandla Lu Kutsha Soccer league.
    6. The youth also engaged in a number of community projects:
      • Street Cleaning
      • Tree Planting
      • Caring for HIV infected children
      • Caring for the aged ( Adopt a granny/granddad)
      • Painting a facility etc

It is hard to believe that we are three years old. As I look back I remember the challenges and the uncertainty. Is this the right thing to do? Is this a service that children, youth and families in South Africa need? And the question that held a more personal challenge for me as the head of this new division – Can the Family Services Division uphold the sterling reputation that is synonymous with Girls and Boys Town South Africa?

The jury is still out on the last question but as a part of an organization that strives for excellence this is an on-going challenge. The anecdotal stories from families and family services workers in our three centres is evidence that the services of Girls and Boys Town South Africa is relevant and is able to make a difference in the lives of families and youth. It has also been rewarding for the dedicated staff rendering these services.

We have all learnt a lot. The Family Services teams have made services accessible to families in remote rural communities in the Western Cape; Gauteng and Kwazulu Natal. By establishing mobile Family Services teams Girls and Boys Town South Africa is able to deliver services beyond the “tarred road.”

As workers accessing families in their homes we have been taught the importance of respecting the family in their entirety – their culture and how they fit into the community where they live. We have been taught that unless you understand and respect the family in all its diversity and complexity you won’t be able to help. We learnt this vicariously through the experience of two family workers, Eshnett and Maureen. In a rural village they visited, they had to wait for the headman of the village to be present before they could speak to any member of the family. Because they respected the way
of the family and community, they were not only able to help the children of the family referred to them but other children in the village were also kept safe.

Family Services supports and complements the services of the other Girls and Boys Town Divisions, more especially, the Residential Services Division.

Training and Education services has achieved a milestone within the three years of Girls and Boys Town’s 50th birthday. The presentations which are done nationally gave an opportunity for schools to become more and more aware of our programmes, leading to the partnership with National Department of education to train 9 schools with high levels of violence and crime nationally. The project was completed successfully in 2010 with tremendous results and feedback from educators trained. Again, through the initiative of Anglo American Trust Fund, we worked with 14 schools around Gauteng and managed to get the Principals of those schools together at a forum to share their experiences and learn from each other. To date we have trained 740 schools and the total number of 8492 Educators, impacting on 261545 learners.

“Dramatic improvement, a sense of belonging and a spirit of togetherness.”

Post-training:  64% of educators believe that there is a good team relationship at their school. A phenomenal 42% increase in positivity.

“Now I sit down with learners and find out what could be the problem.

Post-training:71% of educators were positive that there is a good relationship between educators and learners. Only 2% still felt it was poor. An amazing 58% reduction in educators’ perception of poor learner –educator relationships.

“I have learnt numerous helpful ways of instilling discipline without being punitive.”

Post-training: 70% of educators felt confident about their ability to manage their classroom. Only 2% still felt uncertain about their ability. An exceptional increase of 41% was indicated by educators about their classroom management ability.

Girls & Boys Town Kagiso has launched its first of the four Learning Support Centres that will provide South African youth with access to the latest educational technology-thanks to Lotto.

These Learning Support centres comprise of four connected services: Computer assisted learning, Counselling room, face to face Classroom and a Library. Any Learners that are referred to the centre have to be assessed first to determine the level and the learning area most appropriate for them. Once they are placed at the appropriate level; learners are then introduced to the Computer-Assisted learning which is self-paced, flexible and non-threatening.

I Daniel Murphy a matriculant at GBT Magaliesburg would like to take this time to congratulate all those concerned on a wonderfully and well organized program of the launch of the new accelerator program at GBT Kagiso.  It is a beautiful and very thoughtful idea as youth with learning problems will be helped and their schooling marks will be uplifted.  I feel it is a start of a new horizon as it will eventually be extended and grow to the whole of the country.  I wish I had the opportunity to experience it because of all the buttons how much fun you can have while you learn.

The launch of the media accelerate on Friday 22 October 2010 was very educational.  The speakers were inspiring and motivational.  The accelerator program is really a fun program, it will benefit me tremendously in a lot of ways as I find math’s hard, but with this program I will improve and believe that all the youth will benefit and their marks will improve. We thank the sponsors for their generous support in making things happen at GBT.

Would you please be so kind to inform the CEO Lee Loynes and Noel, Bheki and Dikeledi that, thanx to their assistance and support, our school (Coronationville Secondary School) improved the matric results in 2010 from a 56% to a 71% pass rate. I can also say that all the schools in the area improved their results.
Without your prayers and support, this would not have been possible. What we can see is that what we, collectively, have put in is starting to bear the fruit now. I trust that we will continue our partnership this year and that our school (learners and educators) will once again benefit from your workshops. The people that we work with (Dikeledi, Noel and Bheki) are excellent people, they are humble and supportive. Keep it up. Well done. – CORONATIONVILLE SECONDARY

All of the above would have been impossible without our dedicated Learning Support Staff and Trainers, a big thank you to you!

“Girls and Boys Town aims to learn, assess and measure what they key success factors are in ‘Creating opportunities for youth to grow into responsible citizens’ (our mission). Achieving this will mean, amongst other things, the ability to answer, with some accuracy, the eternal question asked of us by the public, ‘How successful are you really?’” Peter Marx, Head Evaluation and Research

Achieving this goal has required significant growth in the capacity of the Research Dept. This saw the birth of the Evaluation and Reasearch division in 2008.

  • In 2009 and Ethics committee was established to ensure all research is held accountable for maintaining good ethics.
  • A Research Policy for the dept. is in the third draft form; we aim to finalise the policy this year.
  • In the beginning of 2010 the Training and Education division conducted the Well Managed Classroom (WMC) training in 9 Schools in 9 provincial areas of South Africa. The research dept. conducted research on the effect of this training for teachers, pupils and management staff. The final report was completed in October 2010 and presented to the Department of Education. This research indicated that the WMC training had had an exceptionally positive impact for all schools.
  • A Long term direction of research has been identified for the Research dept. and ratified by the board by the end of 2010. This is a significant commitment by the organization to developing this department and very exciting in terms of the value that it can bring to the marketing and exposure of the organization, impact to our work practice with youth and families, and impact on the field of Child and Youth Care. Briefly, this research intends to ultimately, be collecting information from every youth that is admitted to GBT residential facilities and tracking this information throughout their stay as well as after they leave GBT. In this way we aim to learn, assess and measure what they key success factors are in “Creating opportunities for youth to grow into responsible citizens”.
    1. Broadening of Evaluations. The evaluators are independent of any other division and therefore represent an unbiased opinion. Having ‘neutral’ evaluations conducted on the work being done, affords those being evaluated with an objective view of their work implementation. Because of this there is a growing need to have evaluations done in all divisions and with all staff. Since 2008, where we were doing evaluations in all 8 residential facilities at least annually we have developed the thoroughness of the YDC evaluation.
    2. Now interview every youth with respect to their Safety every year.
    3. Conduct Biannual Support Staff Surveys for all residential managers, Heads of Divisions, Fundraising managers and some Offices.
    4. Conduct annual Consumer Surveys of the Parents and Support staff that are serviced by the Family Services division

Reports for all these evaluations are submitted within strict timelines.

Keywords: Educators

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Girls & Boys Town, South Africa ­ hope for children and their parents - programmes

Youth elect their Mayor and Council and thengovern themselves under the guidance of adults, where they are taught to take responsibility for themselves and others.• Four Family “Group” Homes where the Family Home Model, is unique in its focus on family-style living with emphasis on social skills teaching and meaningful selfgovernance by youth.