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Recognising the Need for Role Models

This post is part of the series, “From the Service Front Lines,” written by service leaders. 

Service leader at a chalkboard instructing several learners

You never really understand the importance of a positive role model in a child’s life till you become one.  Children do not need somebody who is perfect to be their role model, what they do need is somebody they can trust, somebody who will be there to give them a light push in the right direction when they need it and most importantly they need a role model who is willing to listen and is attentive.

Service leader on the playground with children, high-fiving one of them

Cwebile came into the City Year Children’s Club programme late.  I had asked her why she joined so late and what had motivated her to change her mind about the program, but she clearly had no idea why.  She was still in her cocoon.  Her friends had a huge influence on her and it was out of character for her to not follow her friends, if the whole clique was not going to be attending that particular day, she wouldn’t either.  She was one of those children who almost always never had an opinion of their own and when she did, her friends were the ones who share it with me and/or the group. Once I had noticed this, I made it a point to involve her in discussions with others as often as I could up until she eased into the idea of socialising with others and came out of her shell.  I also swapped the class seating on a regular basis to promote interaction within the grade six learners amongst each other. By the second week of her attendance, Cwebile had come out of her shell.  I was no longer asking her to share her views, she was the one volunteering to.  She is one of the learner’s whose attendance and participation is pleasing.  All she needed to unleash her potential was trust and patience. Seeing such a change in a child is one of the most rewarding parts of being a service leader.

Service leader on the playground with a group of children

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