The Leadership Development Program at PPI-SA has seen a huge boost in 2o14. The community of Umlazi launched a team in April with Lamontville, Wentworth, and Molweni all following suit, and now the LDP is thriving!
The LDP recruits students grades 8 through 12 (ages 14-18) to receive more in-depth basketball and life skills training, as they learn not only to live healthy lives themselves, but also to serve as leaders within their own families and communities.
Over the school holidays, PPI-SA staff laid out a plan to get practices up and running and scheduled games for our LDP teams to play against each other and other local high school teams. In Durban, boys and girls high school basketball seasons run at different times of the year, with girls’ taking place term 3 (August-September) and boys’ term 4 (October-November). So while our female LDP participants remain busy scrimmaging at local high schools this month, this past Saturday PPI brought together its male LDP participants for a “man’s day.” Five teams from the communities of Lamontville, Molweni, Umlazi and Wentworth came together at the University of Kwazulu Natal (UKZN) Westville Campus for a fun-filled day of basketball and life skills lessons.
Each team got the rare treat of playing at the beautiful indoor facility at UKZN Westville (one of four indoor facilities in all of Durban). However, the highlight of the day came after the games, as the teens received a campus tour from former PPI Coach Sbahle Mkhize. Each teen left with a glimpse of what it looks like to attend university, being exposed to different majors such as Sports Science, Health Science, Engineering and Education. They also had the opportunity to sit in one of UKZN’s many lecture halls and tour residences and the library. The visit made a positive impact on all of the participants; Justin from Lamontville expressed, “It actually made [going to college] seem possible to achieve.”
After the tour, participants were split up into smaller groups composed of members of all five teams and walked through a “Bridges of Hope” activity. The purpose of this exercise was to encourage setting goals for the future – such as attending university – and thinking through how our present actions contribute to achieving these goals. Another participant, Sigethembe from Molweni, dreams of becoming an engineer; he said the activity was “educating and gave us skills on how to plan ahead and reach our goals.”
As an added bonus, by splitting the teens up into smaller groups across communities, many made new friends along the way, like Sigethembe and Justin. This event was the first of many as PPI-SA continues to further develop and hone its Leadership Development Program in its mission to bridge divides, change perceptions and develop leaders. Check back next week for the results from two of our female LDP scrimmages!