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An overview of RUCE volunteerism in 2017

Date Released: Tue, 28 November 2017 14:45 +0200

Student Volunteer Programme

It has been an exciting year for both the Student Volunteer Programme and the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Residence Programme. We saw a big growth in numbers for the Student Volunteer Programme, which saw the introduction of 7 new partners. We welcomed the following partners:

-          The Creative City Project,

-          The Parent Engagement PC Training Programme,

-          The Parent Engagement Mentoring Programme,

-          Digital Storytelling,

-          Awarenet,

-          Sun City Reading and Mathematics Club, and

-          Umthathi Training Project

 

Our team of 25 student leaders kept our 400 student volunteers motivated, and ensured that the programme ran smoothly. Thank you to all of them. Some of the highlights include:

-          Six of our student leaders this year were part of the top 10 Gold Award Recipients for Excellence in Community Engagement.

-          One of our student leaders presented at our International Community Engagement conference in May this year.

-          At the end of the first semester, we celebrated with 6 students on exchange as they were due to leave at the end of the semester. All of these students had an impeccable volunteer attendance record of 100%.

-          4 of our students were listed in the Rhodes Investec Top 100 awards, where they received Community Engagement awards.

-          We worked with the School of Languages – African Languages Department, and partnered with them to have our student volunteers take an isiXhosa Conversational Skills short course, which worked very well. Our volunteers benefited hugely from this, and their relationships with their partners grew. 

Key themes that came out in reflections (both quarterly and yearly) was an evidence of growth from students. For example, students were asked to evaluate their relationships with their partners as well as fellow students, and there was evidence of growth, as many of them had moved from ‘crush stage’ to ‘dating’ or from ‘dating’ to ‘couple goals’, in terms of the Wedding Ring Model. They attributed this to an openness to learning, and a willingness to think outside the box when problems arise, and communication. Students have also reported learning skills such as patience, confidence, and being accepting of different cultures and understanding different contexts and backgrounds.

In 2018 we will be introducing another short course, which will be geared at student volunteers who work in reading clubs. This short course has received Rhodes University accreditation, and will run in partnership with the English and Literary Studies Department. We will also continue with our short courses in Tutoring and in Mentoring, which are run in partnership with the Education Faculty.

Early Childhood Development (ECD) Residence Programme

We welcomed 3 new partners who joined the ECD Residence Programme. They are:

-          Gladys Williams Creche,

-          The Centre for Social Development Toy Library at St Mary’s DCC, and

-          Ikhaya Losizo

 

All partner groups in the ECD Residence Programme managed to fulfil at least 2 of their 3 goals this year, which is remarkable. Reflecting on this past year, both partners and students highlighted good partnerships, personal growth, and relationship building as being the key highlights of this year. We are also delighted that of the top 10 students that were awarded Gold Awards for Excellence in Community Engagement, 4 of them are community engagement representative, and of the 3 finalists for the Community Partner of the Year award, 2 of them are from this programme.

In 2018 we will be formalising the Reading Programme, and we will be using the Word Works programme. Students will be able to sign up for 1 – 10 workshop sessions, followed by 2 weeks of implementation. These will run continuously throughout the year, and will be facilitated by Psychology Honours students who will be doing it as part of the Community Psychology module.

Source:Community Engagement Directorate