Growing up in Hanover Park has its challenges: gangsterism, substance abuse and theft. A lot of these things overshadow the fact that there is so much potential in this community and I want to make known to everyone what this community has to offer.
My name is Clinton Van Harte, and my journey with RLabs started in 2013 when I completed the GROW Leadership Academy program. Prior to this, I had been involved in other organisations and youth programs, but my experience at RLabs is one to remember. It gave me a desire to do the work that RLabs is doing but in my own community. I only verbalized this dream amongst my friends, but I never really took any steps to make it a reality.
I never would have imagined that I would be presented with an opportunity to pursue this dream, but to my surprise, that’s exactly what happened. In 2016 a message was sent to all RLabs’ alumni looking for people who were eager to be Ambassadors for RLabs; by hosting an RLabsU hub they would be able to bring the work that RLabs is doing to their communities. I was wowed because in 2013 I had a dream to do this in my community, volunteering work and giving back was a desire of mine since day one.
There has been a question as ‘what to do?’ and ‘how to go about it?’ I’ve realised that working with people is often required to have a passion for people, to ensure effective learning which I had, but experience with many people, I didn’t have much. I then took the initiative to go on camps, which was on a voluntary basis to gain experience of different yet unique people and that has grown my confidence tremendously.
I’m also left in thought that the Leadership aspect of GROW Leadership Academy has also helped me, like Peer coaching and Goal setting. Thinking back actually, my goal then was to teach, so I guess, facilitation is in the line of helping others and in line with my passion to teach. It’s what I always wanted to do so I’m grateful for this opportunity.
RLabsU hub in Hanover Park has been in existence for two and a half years and my experience thus far was challenging and at times, joyous. Despite the odds, I enjoy the lessons learned, the time management, prioritising and the practising and building of good character. My Goal for RLabsU Hanover Park is to have 10 volunteers, an increase in partners and by the end of the year have 100 graduates. Right now, we meet half that statistic and I’m quite confident in where we heading.