On September 15th, 2023, Earl Albert Mentor, Director and Founder of Mentoring Peacebuilders South Africa NPC, shared an overview of their past youth peacebuilding and leadership workshop at Salesians. The Topic of the workshop was ‘Navigating Landmines in our Lives, with a focus on information literacy
The workshop explored the challenges around young adults’ negative responses to events in their lives. How frequent episodes of impulsive anger in teens are dominant because of the untold and untouched trauma in their lives. We explored how these outbursts can result in physical harm to the person by using LANDMINES as a metaphor to our mental health challenges while residing in high-conflict communities. Furthermore, we allowed our group of learners to look at their own situation and uncover their personal episodes in their lives that temper tantrums, verbal arguments, physical fights or aggression. The vast majority of the learners in the workshop confirmed that they have a problem with anger issues and that they often are unable to control that in turn cause significant distress in their lives. There is an obvious cry for help.
Director Earl made key recommendations to address these challenges:
1) Performing thorough interviews and having conversations about untold and untouched trauma i.e. conducted by an industry professional/ guidance counselor.
2) Helping unpack the relationship history with the so-called at-risk learners.
3) On impulse control.
The workshop concluded with the understanding that changing thoughts related to anger and aggression is necessary for the learners personal growth and development.
VALUES AND GOAL SETTING
On the second day of the Values and Goal Setting workshop, the learners participated in games, discussions, and teamwork activities. They were engaged, energised, and happy to be back in class.
They really applied themselves to understanding their vision of what they wanted to achieve in life, and it was clearly depicted on their vision boards. They used the vision board as a guide for selecting the one goal that they wanted to focus on for the remainder of the workshop.
They also realised that their goals need to be personal – it must be their own goal as this will give their life specific purpose, direction, and motivation. They also said that by first doing the vision board this helped them.
A positive mindset is a game-changer when it comes to setting and achieving goals. The groups worked on understanding the challenges that may come their way – they looked at the types of challenges and discussed ways around them. They also understood that even though there may be challenges they need to cultivate a positive mindset and surround themselves with positive people and a support structure (resources) who can help them overcome these hurdles. Positivity is their SUPERPOWER!
They also learned about the importance of Resilience (Bouncing Back). Many of the learners have had one or two or more knocks in life, and the purpose of the Resilience exercise was to remind them that there is something positive that can be taken out of every experience and not just to solely focus on the bad but look at the good that came out of the situation, it also reminded them to make each day count toward achieving their goal and to be proactive.
At the end of the day, each Year 4 learner was given a certificate and a gift of a key ring from Reality Learning SA, to carry with them every day. When things get tough learners are encouraged to read the message on the keyring to always remember that “YOUR POTENTIAL IS ENDLESS.”