Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy elevates its ‘on and off the bike’ support with new global mentorship hub.

Pick n Pay in partnership with Infinite Family last week launched a world-first in academic mentoring at Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy in Khayelitsha which will see the dawn of a new era for its students.

Established in 2003 to involve township youth in an after-school cycling-based programme, Velokhaya has grown from strength to strength. Encouraging young people to get off the streets and onto bicycles, the centre has also become a haven of safety and calm where many not only come to cycle but also to use the space to do homework and connect with adults who care about their future.

Through Infinite Family, an NGO providing online video mentoring to young people 12-22, the children attending the academy can now also join the skills development and school curriculum support programme. This will make Velokhaya a truly unique teen space that offers sports, education, career preparation, technology literacy, communication and life skills – all in one place and designed to support our students throughout their entire teen years.

Partner of the academy since inception Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, director of transformation for Pick n Pay, said at the event, “We’ve seen so many milestones being reached at Velokhaya with young cyclists coming through the programme to excel in cycling as a sport. But the reality is that not all students will become professional cyclists. We’re very excited this new mentorship opportunity will not only equip the children to graduate from high school, but it will also allow them to qualify for advanced studies and have access to further opportunities in life.”

Infinite Family Founder, President and CEO, Amy Stokes, explains that their programme activates a new resource for South African students by connecting them with the experience and expertise of adults from 17 different countries worldwide. This helps them succeed in school and gain the life skills they need to get a formal job in a 21st century tech-driven world, and it also helps them develop the skills needed to break the cycle of poverty, dependence on others and violence.

“Giving up and dropping out of school is sadly the norm for many teens in South Africa and can lead to lifelong failure and, more importantly, never accepting responsibility for their actions. With this programme we show the children that they can succeed despite their doubts, and that with hard work they can overcome obstacles and do something no one thinks they can. We teach them that their success is ultimately their responsibility. Our mission is to prepare all teens to become self-reliant adults, to choose their future, then equip them to work hard for it.”

She says that Infinite Family’s Video Mentors won’t let their ‘Net Buddies’ give up or drop out and the results of this type of mentorship speak for themselves. “Ninety percent of our students who are video-mentored through to grade 12 pass their year-end exams and are often among the first in their families to qualify for advanced studies. Just over half of students who are not similarly mentored experience the same outcome.

“We are thrilled to be working with Pick n Pay and Velokhaya to bring these new resources to Khayelitsha’s students to help them prepare for college and career success” says Stokes.

BT Communications Services South Africa has been a supporting partner for Infinite Family since 2012. Collen Sithole who is a Transformation Lead at BT said, “This is a worthy cause and we congratulate Infinite Family on their latest launch today, and on their endeavour to scale their impact to the lives of many more vulnerable youth.” He added, “The positive life changing role that Infinite Family has had in the lives of so many disadvantaged South Africans is humbling,”

Private learning rooms will be available to students at Velokhaya where they will spend 30 minutes a week with mentors online and face-to-face.

Ackerman-Berman also announced at the event that they are working with Velokhaya to implement a daily feeding scheme for around 200 children. “We understand that it is hard to study and exercise when you are hungry, and by further equipping vulnerable young people in the community to succeed, we hope to bring about meaningful change,” says Ackerman-Berman

ENDS

www.picknpay.co.za 

Issued by Corporate Image on behalf of Pick n Pay


NOTES TO EDITORS

About the Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy

The Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy (Velokhaya for short) is a not-for-profit organisation based in Khayelitsha, South Africa.

They use cycling-based programmes to involve township youth in a positive, after-school activity.  Their aim is to give children from disadvantaged communities the skills and opportunities they need to make a success of their lives.  They use the sport of cycling to teach them important life skills such as discipline, determination, dedication, teamwork and how to win and lose, and many other life skills.  Sport also teaches children about resilience and perseverance; it gives them the opportunity to become physically and emotionally stronger and it also teaches them to strive for excellence, to be gracious in victory and to persevere in defeat. In other words, the programme helps grow champions on and off the bike.

Pick n Pay has been a sponsor of the Academy since 2003, raising funds for the donation of bicycles, equipment and biking gear.

Students from Velokhaya have ridden in the Cape Town Cycle Tour since 2014.

For more information visit www.velokhaya.com

About Infinite Family

 Infinite Family is a worldwide video mentoring organization simultaneously bridging the technology, geographic and cultural divides between where the majority of South Africa’s teens are growing up, and the 21st century community where they want to live and work as adults.  Our global volunteer Video Mentors represent a previously untapped resource for South Africa’s teens and share their wealth of expertise, knowledge, and skills via weekly face-to-face mentoring via the Internet.  More than ninety percent (90%) of video-mentored 12th grade students pass their end of year exams with the qualifications to advance as part of the first generation in their families to go to college or university and access opportunities to build a better life, as compared to just over half of their non-mentored peers.

To date, more than 600 teens and pre-teens have benefitted from more than 15,000 hours of video mentoring by Video Mentors in 17 countries around the world. These mentors represent a previously untapped resource for South Africa’s teens by sharing their vast wealth of perspectives, knowledge, and skills during weekly face-to-face mentoring via the Internet.  Video mentorships last between one and ten years per student.  Mentoring areas of particular emphasis include: Education, Technology, Career Preparation, Communication and Life Skills

Infinite Family works in partnership with corporations, schools and community-based organisations.  Long-time corporate partners include:  Adobe, BT, Internet Solutions, Clarix and Holiday Inn Sandton.

Founder Amy Stokes was named a 2011 CNN Top Ten Hero.

For more information, please visit:  www.infinitefamily.org