Youth Development

Chrysalis academy

Students describe a physical and emotional release, a new ability for self-reflection and greater understanding and confidence.

It is also said, if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change

Based in Tokai, Western Cape, the Chrysalis Academy's youth development programme teaches life skills to marginalised young men and women, who may have been exposed to substance abuse, family, gang and community violence, to unemployment, disappointment and rejection. The three-month holistic healing course that seeks to address physical, emotional, practical and spiritual needs, is essentially a resiliency skills initiative.

It also seeks to place graduates in jobs but those who haven't completed their schooling are encouraged to do so or to enrol at Further Education & Training colleges or universities.

Funded by the Western Cape provincial Department of Community Safety with various other Western Cape provincial departments also providing support, it also relies on private sector donations and the Distell Foundation is a major contributor.

Away from their families and living on campus in Tokai, Chrysalis students are given psychosocial support to equip them, when they return to their regular lives to make better, more informed decisions.

During their stay, there will be no home visits, although family may visit them at the halfway mark for just a few hours. Families will also participate in workshops to raise their own self-awareness and learn how to help students re-integrate into their routine lives when they return home.

Its trauma release exercise programme, funded entirely by Distell, addresses the most fundamental aspect of the vulnerability that drives so many impoverished and alienated youth to act out in a way that can effectively end their futures. Students can choose from yoga, art, drama, movement therapy, reflexology, poetry, story-telling and journal-keeping or they can receive counselling for substance addiction or for grief and loss. These weekly sessions help them to confront painful memories and manage deep-seated hurt and anger.

CEO Lucille Meyer says the results are significant. Students describe a physical and emotional release, a new ability for self-reflection and greater understanding and confidence.

Every year, 540 young people undergo the youth development programme.

Chrysalis Academy

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