In 2006 I was struck by the destruction caused in the lives of our youth due to alcohol and drug abuse. My heart cried out to do something and to make a difference. I started visiting schools in and around the Garden Route and shared my life story of drug abuse, alcohol addiction, gangsterism and violence and the response from schools were incredible. In 2008 my youngest brother Wayne also joined me after a ten year addiction to various drugs and alcohol.
In 2010 we invested in a multi media package called “BOUND” and received training to facilitate the life skills programme in schools. The package consists of a short film of about 16 minutes, manuals and various other DVD’s that we used to impact young people’s lives. This program is endorsed by the National Qualifications Authority and endorsed by the Provincial Drug Forum.
The manual is written out of the four main scenes of the movie and extensive research has been done on all aspects of teenage smoking, drinking, risky sexual activity and drug abuse. The result is a comprehensive, informative, exciting multimedia package written I such a way that a teenager could identify with the material and get involved in the program. Our children do not have the skills to deal with a changing society, family relationships are broken or non-existent and our young generation are spiritually malnourished or bankrupt. South African schools face serious challenges, including violent crime, drug addiction, and low educator morale, parental non – involvement and general drop in standards.
There is a desperate need for change in attitudes and I believe whole my whole heart that the “Living Lives of Purpose” Project has the potential to reach the youth and make a difference in their lives. The whole program is different in that it specifically communicates with the teenager and issues are dealt with through tasks and monitoring feedback. Our project invests in awareness and prevention. Research and my years of experience as a drug addict has found that grade 8 (13 years old) children to be the most vulnerable to peer pressure. This is a crucial age of physical, emotional and spiritual development. Alcohol and drugs are manufactured to turn our kids into addicts, to damage their vital organs, especially the brain and to steal them and their future out of the picture. We want grade 8’s to become focused and to impart vital life skills for them to be smart, to take a stand and to be prepared to deal peer pressure and negative forces within society and themselves.
This young group need to be equipped with the necessary skills to prevent repairing them in the latter years of high school. Rehabilitation is expensive, approximately R50 000 for a few weeks and the statistics in relapsing is disturbing.
We aim to impact the lives of young people that go through our life skills training program by helping change their way of thinking towards their future, to show them that with the right attitude they can have a productive life and impact the lives of their peers through leading by example. We don’t just want to change their way of thinking but we also want to help them develop their natural leadership skills through ongoing follow up meetings and relationship building.