City Year: Service leaders take the oath

Khensani Baloyi could not hold her tears when other service leaders sang on stage.

“The red jacket is a sign of good things to come and the work that is expected from us. It distinguishes us as service leaders from the rest.”

This is how Karabo Modiba describes the red jacket bestowed upon her as she graduated as a City Year service leader.

Modiba from Bramfisher joined many other young people from across the province in a graduation ceremony at Uncle toms Hall in Orlando West on Wednesday week.

For the next year, Modiba will be working with learners from Observatory Primary School where she will be helping them with their homework and extramural activities after school.

“As the youth, this is our contribution to the advancement of education in our country.  As we have been jacketed as service leaders, it is our duty now to make sure that we help children improve on literacy and numeracy,” said Modiba.

City Year South Africa is a non-profit organisation that engages young people in a year of full-time voluntary service as a way of helping them develop leadership and other important skills.

Every year new recruits join the organisation and go through and intense training programme before graduating to be service leaders.

They are then required to give out a year of their time and volunteer in programmes that support learners’ academic and socio-emotional needs.

Service leaders take their positions as they get ready to take the oath and be jacketed.

Speaking at the ceremony, Busisiwe Sithole from Mutual and Federal which sponsors the programme motivated young people to dream big.

Sharing her rags to riches story, Sithole highlighted the importance of education and determination to young people who want to make it in life.

“It does not matter whether you come from a privileged area or not but if you have a service leader helping you, you will make it.

“So I’m urging you as you graduate today to go out there and help those boys and girls realise their dreams and become leaders,” said Sithole to new service leaders.

This year’s service leaders have now been deployed to various schools which two of them are in Soweto.

“What it means for the guys who are part of this ceremony is that they themselves feel empowered and ready to go to schools and become champions of the work that we do which is mentoring and educating learners.

Most importantly it is a beginning of a new journey of growth and development for themselves as well,” said Errol Radebe who is the youth development and support manager.

As a symbol of spirit, discipline, purpose and pride, service leaders are given a red jacket to wear throughout the year or service.

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Mzwandile Khathi

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