Cape Town - Non-profit organisation Community Keepers has established an office at Crystal High School, providing free counselling among other interventions to the school community.
The Community Keepers office and counselling room located on the school premises at Greenturf Road, Hanover Park, will formally open later today.
The organisation provides crisis counselling, therapy, referrals and support groups, in addition to well-being workshops to 50 000 learners and their guardians, at 79 partner schools in low income areas across the country. Professional development and support is also made available to teachers.
“Imagine trying to learn the seven times table or read a chapter of a book while riding on a high-speed roller-coaster.
“This is what life feels like for many of our children.
“Adverse childhood experiences (including poverty and/or loss, neglect, violence and abuse) have a direct impact on mental health.
“Many children are living on high alert, in a permanent state of fight, flight or freeze,” media, marketing and funding executive Meriel Bartlett said.
“The good news is that learners who are offered a safe space to share their story, the supportive presence of an engaged and caring adult and the opportunity to build resilience – are able to change the trajectory of their own lives, to escape the trauma cycle, to experience well-being and to thrive.”
Established in 2008, Community Keepers has partnered with 35 schools across Cape Town and the Cape Winelands.
Parents/guardians, teachers, school staff and learners can refer themselves or others by completing a referral form at the Community Keepers Office.
Principal Dino Abrahams said: “One of the main benefits of having community keepers at Crystal High School is the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of children and youth.
“Community Keepers can help students develop coping skills, resilience, self-esteem and academic motivation.
“They can also facilitate access to resources and services that can improve their health, safety, and family stability.
“Community Keepers can also collaborate with teachers, administrators, and other professionals to create a supportive and inclusive school climate that promotes learning and diversity,” Abrahams added.
Crystal High School governing body chairperson Yaseen Johaar said the school was grateful and highly welcomed the addition.
“What stood out for us is extra-intervention, like a psychologist, education specialist, the further intervention needed on a deeper level.
“This organisation offers that as well.”