Special thanks to RLabs Jozi champion Valencia Jacobs for sharing her personal account doing her first Social Media session with a group of young people in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“Well what can I say, it was overwhelming! When registration started I was nervous yet excited that finally something started happening at RLabs Jozi, there was a visible sign that we were going to begin doing what we have been planning for months. I saw the response and I was overwhelmed.

The 1st day was as all 1st day’s are, a mixture of what their reaction would be, how would I be and how would I be inspired to share the message of hope across that we were declaring as our mission. Sometimes one feels that this is what I was born to do, but that day I had lots of questions wanting to know what I was destined to do. So we started in true RLabs tradition with a check in, and most of the class of 20 students checked in tired and not sure what the day had in store for them. We then took a tour of the premises I started feeling more confident when the students saw what we were about. When they left that day, I prayed “Please let them come back” lol because nothing was done except a whole lot of talking from my side.

Well needless to say the 2nd, 3rd and the remainder of the course they were here, back and full of life, our check in’s became more enthusiastic except of course for the latest “Kaizer Chief” scores that were always related by some or other student not doing so well because Chiefs lost.

True joy came when we created “gmail” accounts, it was like they entered a whole new world, like one of the students so nicely put it “the light at the end of the tunnel” I asked the class to send RLabs Jozi an email stating what the course has done for them so far. Now by this time I realised that training 20 students on your own that have never touched a computer let alone been on the internet might have been a bit might much initially so I was not only physically tired from running up and down but mentally tired as you have different levels within the class itself. However somewhere and definitely through the emails received from our students I regained strength and I was energised to carry on and complete the full three week training programme prepared.

At the end training was successful, the programme was carried out and “mission completed” was the end result, they all had email accounts, facebook accounts and started their own blogs. I had the students check in on the last day, and to my surprise their check in was a vote of thanks to RLabs for opening up a whole new world to them, I was overwhelmed, emotional and an inner strength was given to me.

Lessons learnt from this was that we do this not for self benefit nor for self gratification like I initially thought, we do this because as we have been blessed with the ability to bring these forms of media to our youth. 2012 looks promising we have new champions dedicated to making RLabs a success! We have community issues we would like to address as a group and we know as RLabs Jozi we will fulfil these and be successful. This is RLabs Jozi checking out at a 200 because not only do we know we can, but we’ve experienced this Hope that showed us what is possible!”

Source: Valencia Jacobs (RLabs Jozi Champion)

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