Tuesday, 06 May 2014 00:00


Written by  Gary van Dyk

Media24's Rachel's Angels program has been making a difference in the lives of learners and students since 2007 and continues to inspire a new generation into further education.

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A total of 138 students from 20 Western Cape schools and 140 students from the University of Stellenbosch were involved in the 2012/2013 cycle.

We caught up with the inspirational winner who told us about her experiences that garnered her the award.

While she is now studying at the University of Stellenbosch she pointed out that she matriculated from Malibu High but was not involved at her school.

"The Trust appointed me as mentor at Ravensmead High," she points out.

"I was appointed to a mentee and elected as Super Mentor by my fellow Matie peers after joining the programme when I spotted a poster in the library.

"The rest as they say is history."

Her strong belief in the program has grown because she believes that the project aids in the holistic development of the individual, namely the child.

"It has a ripple effect on the community as well," she explains.

"The programme creates spaces for growth as well as critical engagement to enhance human capabilities. These workshops entail study methods, leadership development, mentoring and communication skills with the learner that you mentor."

During her time as a mentor there have been lots of highlights as part of the project.

"To my amazement there has been a shifting role of the mentee and mentor relationship," she points out excitedly.

"One day I found that my mentee, Ronelle Van Der Westerhuizen, was able to impart values in my life too. We were able to talk and engage with each other beyond the superficial and mundane tasks of academia.

"Secondly, I was honoured to return to my former high school, Malibu High, to be a speaker at the annual lecture alongside Joanne Strauss.

"It was my "pinch moment". In that moment, I was grateful for what I have achieved because of all the teachers that had served as mentors in my life from Grade 1 to Grade 12."

As part of this programme she also feels that she has made a major difference in the lives of children that she has mentored.

"I think that by being "real", I have changed the lives of my mentees and fellow mentors. I have chosen to be conscious and open-minded with my mentees and mentors.

"I wanted to inform them that I know what it is like to have family from Uitsig and Malmesbury. My aim was to make them aware that you can excel beyond your present day circumstances.

"My father, Gary Carolus, is formerly from Uitsig and never let his circumstances get him down. In addition, my Mom, Penelopé Carolus, taught for many years at Uitsig Primary and neighbouring schools.

"Therefore I truly understood where they came from and the various challenges they faced."

Her eyes light up when she recalls the achievements of one of her mentees.

"I was extremely proud of Evanney Kettledas when she matriculated with four A's and was accepted for BCom Accounting at UWC.

"I know what it is like to face hardships and to take each day as it comes. I am aware that it is tough when the only thing people say to you is "you can make it". Yet, they fail to mention that it takes so much willpower to rise up when you live "in-rock-bottom".

"Therefore, when I engage with my mentees and mentors I am conscious of my actions and words.

"I want to walk away from a conversation or simply a discussion and say that I have shared in the growth of the individual academically, socially, spiritually and simply to have fun.

"My hope is always that my fellow mentees and mentors can attest to my honest and transparent relationship. In return, I hope that it makes them realise that unemployment, retrenchment, poverty, strokes, cancer, major depression nor financial constraints can withhold them from attaining success. "It only takes one toe before the other each day, since a step can feel too much at a time."

Strong words from this positive young lady who is still striving to further her education.

"I am currently busy with my Masters (Sociology) and would like to pursue a career in academia with a focus on education and developmental studies.

"At present, I would like to engage with communities to ascertain what they find as "at risk" and how would they propose a means forward.

"With this in mind I am always open to the idea of working alongside communities to determine and find possible solutions as well as enhancing human capability to improve quality of life.

"As much as it sounds ambitious I think that if people are open-minded to community involvement and critical engagement or discussion, small steps of alleviating challenges can occur.

"That is why I am interested in working in the Education Sector and hopefully the small drops can have ripple effects elsewhere."

Watch out world this lady means business.

Rachel's Angels, which Professor Rachel Jafta of the University of Stellenbosch and current Chair of Media24 named, in 2007 was established for students of diverse backgrounds to encourage the stars to reach out and pursuing excellence in everything they do.

Original Article: http://tygerb.mobi/news/read/4784/gabriella-s-an-angel-that-wants-more-to-soar

Read 767 times Last modified on Wednesday, 04 February 2015 05:59