|IN OUR FEBRUARY EDITION:|
This time of year means bicycle fever in the Western Cape! With the Argus a week away and the Cape Epic less than 3 weeks, it makes sense that everywhere you look there are people trying to squeeze in that final preparation before the big day. The Anna Foundation is just as excited about cycling this year: as one of the official associate charities of the Absa Cape Epic we are right in the buzz of it all! We’ll have children in Ashton participating in the hype (look out for their bright yellow helmets!) as well as 20 lucky children from the Boland running in the final stage at Lourensford. What an honour for us to be involved in this cycling fever!
In the meantime, besides the bikes, the projects are back in full swing for 2014 with our facilitators jam packed with information and lessons to present to the children. For this month our focus is to ensure all our younger learners have mastered their sounds, our intermediate learners have mastered their time tables and our senior learners are practising their grammar!
Also read our life story for one of our successful scholarship matriculants, now studying at college!
3 R's: Reading, Running, Right-ing News
Reading (Literacy/Numeracy): The worksheet theme starts the month with ‘My Body’. The Grade R – 3’s practice naming different body parts using introductory games such as “Simon Says”, then moving on to writing and spelling the words. Exploring the inside of the human body is especially fascinating for the older learners and they discover where food travels upon entering the mouth, learn about broken bones and what truly amazing machines our bodies are. Hygiene is an important topic, often lacking in many a household and practical lessons make for fun learning as facilitators show children the correct way to wash their hands and care for their teeth. High school learners discover more about the impact that good and bad choices will have on their lives, for example: fitting in and being ‘cool’; to smoke or not to smoke and how it will affect my body, to mention a few. Later in the month the theme moves to focus on the people around us: first our immediate family, relatives and then friends. We discuss the positive qualities that our friends possess and how we can be a reliable and loyal friend to others. We learn about peer pressure and how friends can be a negative influence on us. The children do an exercise on emotions, learning to read each other’s body language and facial expressions (learning empathy). We find that the vocabularies and ability to recognise expressions are rather limited in this area and children often mistake a sad-looking person to be ‘angry’. Learning about our senses is always enjoyed and we experiment with tasting a variety of sensory foodstuffs. We also imagine how we would need to adapt our everyday lives should we lose one of our senses. Maths questions are included in the worksheets throughout the month with a reference to practice read once the worksheet is completed.
In addition to the worksheets, facilitators also include many of the teaching tools which were learned during January’s training session with Wordworks (focusing on learning the letters of the alphabet) and Renée Lighton (using newspapers and ads for maths practice).
Running (Sports): In true Fit4Fun spirit, we’re currently busy with the President’s Challenge – a fitness challenge which is designed to increase overall fitness. It incorporates sit-ups, curl-ups, a shuttle run and endurance run of 1km. Each lesson starts with the children recording their resting heart rate and this is followed by a warm-up. With the help of a partner to keep count (and close monitoring from the facilitator), children are timed for 1 minute and see how many curl-ups they can complete. This is followed by a minute of push-ups, all aimed at improving upper body and core strength. Speed and agility is tested by means of the shuttle run, while the timed 1 km endurance run helps to improve aerobic ability. The sprints, push-ups and curl-ups are incorporated into fun games such as arm hockey where the push-up position is practiced. Some children clearly struggle more than others but in the long run, having a strong core and upper body strength will benefit the children in the classroom, and having fit children will lead to healthier children.
Right-ing (life skills through drama): This month the Grade R - 3’s learn that it is important to include everyone when we play, regardless of size, ability or species (the lesson is taught through the use of animal puppets). They learn that we all have something valuable to offer and playing is so much more fun when everybody is included. We are amazed to see how much of the story, which centres around the monkey, mouse and elephant, our learners remember from last year confirming that our puppet animals are making the impact that we had hoped for. Reinforcement is key.
The Grade 4 - 12 learners are practicing their active listening skills this month by playing some loud and exciting games with self-made instruments. This is an important exercise to help them with the bigger theme of communication and collaboration.
The Anna Foundation invested many hours of extra support into Beva throughout her schooling career. We almost gave up in 2012 as she was just not coping academically and had also lost her drive and will to succeed at the school. After long talks and finding her an excellent mentor, Beva pushed through that year and in her final matric year (2013) at Bloemhof, she flourished. She went to her matric dance in style and was extremely proud of this occasion. She finally matriculated with a 50% average.
Bevan-Lee is the first person in her family’s history to have a matric certificate. Of course no one else in her family, or her whole community, has ever been to university. Bevan-Lee was enrolled in CPUT, Wellington campus at the start of 2014 as a 1st year student and is studying Sports Marketing and Management. She is now able to manage independently (although still with our help regarding administrative matters) and is living in the hostel with all the other students.
It is also heart-warming to note the change in her mother over the past 5 years. She has stopped drinking completely. She is so proud of Beva and the successes she has had and their relationship is completely healed. She took Beva to the hostel at the start of 2014 and signed her in, making sure Beva was comfortable. It has been a huge success story for the whole family and we are very proud of both Beva and her mother.
Absa Cape Epic 2014... Final Countdown
As many of you may know, the Anna Foundation has been selected as one of the Associate Charity Partners for the 2014 Absa Cape Epic. For those who don’t know what all the fuss is about, this annual mountain bike stage race has been likened to “the Tour de France of mountain biking", which is pretty tough going to say the least! This year’s route takes riders 718km through the mountainous areas of Robertson, Greyton, Elgin and through to Somerset West, and includes 14 850m of climbing! Top local and international mountain bikers participate each year and so now you can hopefully see what all our excitement of being associated with this prestigious event is all about! The Absa Cape Epic is the most televised MTB stage race in the world - what a wonderful platform to get our name ‘out there’ and what an honour to be part of this!
Fund Raising: As one of the Associate Charity Partners we were given two team entries which have been sold to two very keen mountain biking pairs. In between their hectic training schedules, these teams have been doing various things to help raise funds for us, including hosting a golf day and a Charity Night.
Race Villages: The event kicks off on 23 March at Meerendal Wine Estate, ending on the 30th at Lourensford in Somerset West and you will be able to find us the Anna Foundation stand in the various race villages along the way (Meerendal, Arabella, Elgin and Lourensford). We have a couple of fun and engaging activities planned which will attract visitors, as well as keep them entertained.
Media Site Visit: We are particularly excited to have invited the event media for a site visit to our after-school project in Robertson. This is being offered as one of the official event activities for the media attendees and will give journalists a first-hand experience of our “3 R’s: Reading, Running, Right-ing” programme in action. We look forward to welcoming them.
Liquifruit Vineyard Races and Absa Cape Epic Grand Finale: On 30 March a group of our children will be participating in the trail run which forms part of the Liquifruit Vineyard Races at Lourensford. (there also MTB events of varying distances into which you can enter) The Anna Foundation will finish the 6km trail run in good time to witness the final battle between some of the world’s best mountain bikers as they cross the finish line in the Grand Finale. There will also be live music, entertainment and food stalls. Why not come along and join us for the final fanfare and festivities?! We will be out in full force
Valuable Volunteers: Meet Diederik
Volunteers are valuable! Last month we introduced you to Bibi, who helps the Grade R - 3 learners at one of our after-school projects with their maths, reading and homework. This month the spotlight is on Diederik Hattingh. Diederik has been able to make an arrangement with his employer to run the sports hour once a week at our Dornier/Waterford Wines project during the last hour of the afternoon each Tuesday. He is so committed that he even joined the children for a warm-up session, early on a Saturday morning prior to our inter-farm soccer tournament last year!
AF: Tell us about yourself
DIEDERIK: I was born in Stellenbosch, attended Stellenbosch Primary School and went to Stellenbosch High. My after school training was in Computer Science with the University of Stellenbosch. I am currently employed as a programmer in a successful software company in Techno Park outside Stellenbosch. I enjoy the outdoors, specifically camping and hiking.
AF: What made you decide to volunteer your time with the Anna Foundation children?
DIEDERIK: I wanted to be more hands on with helping members of the community. I heard about Anna Foundation through a friend at work, and their strategy of helping young children with an after school program sounded appealing. I aim to be a positive role model for the kids, and through some small way, this will help them achieve their dreams one day.
AF: What exactly is your role at the after-school?
DIEDERIK: I am the sports teacher. This entails helping them understand the importance of physical fitness, balance, strength, and having fun outdoors. Fair play and sportsmanship also plays a large role in what I teach the children
AF: What do you enjoy most about working with the children?
DIEDERIK: Their ability to surprise me. At least once during a play session, we see a child help another one up off the ground or apologise for an accident on the field. They have a very clear sense of what is right and wrong.
AF: Anything else our readers would find interesting about your volunteering time?
DIEDERIK: Leana, the facilitator at the Dornier/Waterford after-school is a very special lady. She always has time for the kids, and you can see they enjoy her lessons. She is always full of life and it is a treat to be greeted by her smile when I arrive there for my weekly sports session.
Congratulations to Diederik and his wife Andrea, on the birth of their daughter on 24 February!
- Runner's World Magazine: Article on Anna
- Lilla Howe Trust: Financial donation and on-going monthly support
- Croft Trust: Financial donation and on-going monthly support
- Dr Brom: Financial donation and on-going monthly support
- de Villiers Family:
- van der Merwe Family: Financial support for school tuition
- 1%Club Members: Your monthly support helps a great deal
- WAMTechnology:Purchasing of printers and general support
- Maties Athletics (Mohamed Ally):Race entries
- Holmelea, Barrydale and Nola: Monthly contributions are so appreciated
- Zone Radio: Whole programme dedicated to us!
- MFM92.6:Air time
- MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet and all our 'card swipers'