My name is Maxine Van Der Vent. I would normally describe myself as a shy, introverted person, but I’ve changed. This year has helped me rebuild my life, I’ve navigated through life and have been grateful for what I have and who I am as a person.

Last year was quite a roller coaster. I lost my Father and uncle due to Covid all while I was in my matric year. I didn’t have time to mourn properly as I needed to lift myself emotionally and spiritually for me to finish my matric year. Thankfully, I passed matric thanks to my strong, supportive family that always encourages me. The only way I overcome obstacles is by challenging myself to be better. I was planning to study but I then decided to take a gap year. This is when my sister told me about RLabs. I applied to join the Yes program and was placed with I Am Passion which has been a great help financially and mentally. I am now a little more extroverted as I am not as shy to talk to people and I’m more open-minded.

Maxine Van Der Vent

Thus far, I have improved in communication through the communication program. I have also learned how to be creative when it comes to creating content for the different programmes we run at the Youth Café. I also got to learn about managing a business that is important to me and my dream of owning a hair salon. I had to learn how to communicate more with my colleagues when I was struggling so that they can help me do better. I am lucky enough that they are really helpful and supportive, they have so much passion and joy, which makes me comfortable enough to be around them and ask for help.

I have much more learning and growing to do, and I believe there is so much more that needs to come out of myself and the only way I can do that is by trying new things, learning new things through reading books and connecting more with different people. I joined the Yes program because I knew I would develop and learn new skills.

My highlight is meeting new people at work. A lowlight would be not being able to go into schools to introduce the program I’ve been working on for girls.

Overall, It has been a good experience, an experience that changed my personality and my mind. I am grateful that I’m able to learn new things in life through the opportunities given to me. I always say, every opportunity you get, take it with both hands and try it out because you will never know what will happen unless you try it out. The journey has been helpful to me as a young adult as it taught me things that I can carry for the rest of my life.

Being on the Yes program and doing online courses, I’ve learned so much. I grasped the things I’ve learnt on the Yes programme. Honestly, I am grateful for this year because it has changed my personality, my mindset and even improved my characteristics.

This is my first time earning an income and since my father passed away, my mother was the only one with an income. Earning an income has been a great help to my household.

My advice to youth out there is don’t give up, keep on learning and if you feel like a failure, get up and try again. Don’t lose focus on your vision. Every little opportunity you get, take it and try it out. You will never gain experience or grow unless you try out opportunities and learn from them.

One thing I learned so far throughout this year is that it’s fine if you are resting if you are taking a break as you should not force things in your life, but also, in your resting, you need to build yourself mentally and emotionally.

Thank you to RLabs for allowing and allowing me to join and take part in the Yes programme

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