In spite of spending his matric year in a residential Child and Youth Care Centres (CYCC) for sentenced or awaiting trial children and youth or those with severe behavioural challenges, a 20-year-old has completed his first year studying Information Technology at a Cape Town college with top marks, boasting several As.
The provincial Department of Social Development (DSD) noted he received two A’s for his year mark and four A’s for practical marks.
In 2022, Midway into his matric yea, the youngster was placed in Horizon CYCC, in Eerste River.
Although faced with many challenges, like the disruption to his schooling, he persevered and passed matric with a distinction.
Horizon CYCC manager, Mornay Johnson, said it hadn’t been an easy road for for the young man, but he continued to be an inspiration:
“He had so many pressures on him, especially from the other residents in this facility like peer pressure, but he is able to rise above it and focus on his studies, remaining motivated.
“His resilience is impeccable, and he sets a great example for other youth. It is important for us as the guardians of young people in these kinds of facilities to support them, because there is so much untapped potential and talent within our facilities, and it is our mission to get the best out of everyone,” said Johnson.
The 20-year-old said the DSD staff had been instrumental in helping him succeed academically: “They always motivate me. They even assisted me with registering for college and all the admin associated with that. Whenever I wanted to give up, they would encourage me. What keeps me going is my mother. My mother worked hard for me, even working two jobs, so I want to work hard for her so I can one day repay her for everything she’s done for me.”
The department manages seven residential CYCC which offer varying levels of care to sentenced or awaiting trial children and youth or those with severe behavioural challenges.
Provincial MEC Fernandez thanked the staff working at these facilities.
“When youth get into trouble with the law, it does not mean their lives are over. If they choose to make better choices, they can have a bright future, this young man is proof of that.
“He is choosing to focus on his academics, to focus on improving his and his family’s lives. Well done to him and all the other successful academic achievers in the DSD facilities. For those in the class of 2023 who were unsuccessful or who are unhappy with their results, this is not the end. If you require any kind of psychosocial support, like counselling, reach out to your nearest DSD office, or call the DSD toll-free number 0800 220 250.
“To the parents or caregivers: I urge you to be kind and understanding, and seek support where needed,” Fernandez said.