Thabiso Thoka, a student leader in the Faculty of Theology and Religion, participated as volunteer in the Mamelodi Initiative during the recent holiday. This holiday programme, called the Winter Jam, is a three-week, all-day programme focused on academic excellence in mathematics and English. The programme serves Grade 7, 8, 9, 10,11 and matric learners, providing them with resources that empower them to make the changes they want to see.
Thabiso said that the Mamelodi Initiative is an extremely fulfilling programme. “Upon volunteering I had no expectations whatsoever. What really surprised me was the fact that these high school students were sacrificing their holiday to be part of another form of school. I believe these students were willing to sacrifice their holiday because of how the programme balanced academics and extramural activities. Most of all, the students came back for the relationships that they had built at with their fellow students and volunteers alike,” he explained.
The programme directors created a space that allowed volunteers and students to fully commit to the programme, and the special bond that was established between the volunteers made it very difficult to say goodbye at the end of the programme.
“The Mamelodi Initiative gave me an experience that cannot be replaced or matched. The biggest thing that I take away is the relationships that I found and the connection that I had with the students participating in the programme. I would encourage anyone who has a chance to come and volunteer, and students to join the programme. I really found a greater love for young people while volunteering and I am planning on volunteering every single year,” he concluded.