Empowering our Youth

“The route through childhood is shaped by many forces, and it differs for each of us. Our biological inheritance, the temperament with which we are born, the care we receive, our family relationships, the place where we grow up, the schools we attend, the culture in which we participate, and the historical period in which we live–all these affect the paths we take through childhood and condition the remainder of our lives.” Robert Wozniak

I have just witnessed the graduation of 189 young men aged between 18 and 25 from Chrysalis Academy. Chrysalis Academy is an initiative of the Western Cape Provincial Cabinet, established in 2000 at Porter Estate, Tokai. Its founding was a response by the Provincial Government to the high crime rate in the Western Cape, which is one of the highest among the provinces in South Africa, especially due to substance abuse and an active gang culture in Cape Town’s mainly disadvantaged communities. Some of the young men come into the program having very little awareness and consciousness of their choices in life, but after the initial 3 month live-in empowerment training that focuses on the individual’s physical, emotional, mental, energetic and spiritual development they are able to understand and apply Dr Wayne Dyers quote:

“Everything you do is based on the choices you make. It’s not your parents, your past relationships, your job, the economy, the weather, an argument or your age that is to blame. You and only you are responsible for every decision and choice you make. Period.”

The message the CEO sent them home with when they left the safe environment of Chrysalis Academy was – ‘To all our graduates and their families – we must remember that individual transformation is a lifelong journey of rediscovery which requires perseverance, patience and compassion and we must be sufficiently brave to embark on this journey and navigate the stormy waters that we will all encounter in our lives.’

I salute Chrysalis Academy for the wonderful work they are doing! For more information on Chrysalis Academy go to http://chrysalisacademy.org.za/