Lennon and Letty Hoffman have been working with children collectively for the past 9 years. Our motto is that we go where the children are. We have given our lives to see the children of Africa flourish and be who they were created to be. We are self starters and look forward to new challenges. Over the years we have run programs and worked with children between the ages of 2 - 18 years and through teaching, mentoring, coaching, playing or laughing we have seen children reached with a message of hope and the belief that they can make a difference in this world. We wanted to share with you two special projects that we have been a part of in a project managerial role for the past 5 years. Transformation Vrededorp, a little area in Johannesburg as well as school outreach in three areas around the city.
Transformation Vrededorp (community project)
How it all began…
In April 2011 we launched His Kids Mobile in the park. Overnight, Tuesday afternoon saw kids walking from all directions to the park opposite the bottle store. They were kids from various ethnicities living in a multicultural suburb with a rich history and culture. Kids from run down homes where unemployment is high. Kids from single-parent families, kids from the working class - kids that all who are full of potential and simply needing someone to call it out of them.
How it grew…
As we tried to mentor these kids, we realized that the standard of education many of them were receiving was poor. Most struggled to read, and we began to dream of helping them. We opened a homework centre, which has operated in the park, and in the community centre. On Mondays, we help with Maths. On Wednesdays, we work on language, and on Thursdays, life-skills. Friday afternoons are for sports and fun, and we have a soccer team which has competed in several tournaments. Lennon and I have been a part of this team from the beginning and later took it over as the project managers.
Our Tuesday meeting has grown to about 60 kids each week, and split into 3 age-groups: pre school, primary school and high school. Many of our teens have been with us since the very beginning, and we have seen them grow so much. We are so grateful that they are still with us and haven’t been drawn away by the drug and alcohol culture that is rife in the area.
‘K’ showed such promise as a student, and had such character and faithfulness, but she was bored and unchallenged in her schooling. One day, as one of our volunteers was talking to her, he had a wish that something better would come up for this girl. The very next day, one of the families at Every Nation church came and asked if there were any young people who needed help with a better education. How amazing! K has been at Greenside High for a year and a half now, and is flourishing.
‘K’ was just 2 when we first met him. He lives in a tiny room, with 9 other family members. We know that this little guy with a big personality will do great things one day, because he has been overcome being in car accidents, and in a fire, and he just bounces back.
‘S’ looks like a tough guy on the outside, but his heart is so soft for Jesus. He has spoken to us about the difficult things he faces in his family, and his gratitude for this other family that he is part of with us. He is now part of our leadership team, and he is mentoring others to stay on the straight and narrow.
“It is easier to build strong children then to repair broken men.” Frederick Douglass
Our time working with children has given us a front row seat to see the greatest opportunity to reach children with a message of hope right where they are. Our life skills program which gets us an hour with children in grades 4-7 once every four weeks. We have touched on topics ranging from self-esteem which is just what a child who has no friends and gets bullied day in and day out needs to hear. We speak about having a purpose to your life which blows the mind of a child who has been told by family members that they will never amount to anything. We have dealt with abuse and walked the children through steps of dealing with the abuse if it happened and prevention for the future (many children have sadly been victim to this) We look at healthy life choices for your body, mind and environment which is good for any child at any age. Our method is to serve the school in whatever way that we can because children need people who understand that they don't have little emotions or little life experiences.
We have been working in 3 schools (Parkhurst Primary, Robin Hills Primary & Craighall Primary) for the past 6 years and in this time we have build trust with both students, teachers and principals.
• Through our life skills program we have been able to counsel kids through traumatic experiences that they have gone through, some sharing them for the first time ever.
• We have seen the children in our programs excel in different leadership roles in their schools