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Jun 6, 2018

Blaze of Glory

Carol and Net Blazers
Carol and Net Blazers

Net Blazer
Net Blaz•er | \ ‘net ‘bla-zr \

noun: an Infinite Family Net Buddy mentee who has passed their 12th grade exams and graduated from a mentoring relationship, but continues working with Infinite Family to develop the skills to be successful in their personal life and professional careers.

Building a better life doesn’t stop after 12th grade and neither do our Net Blazers. They call themselves “Net Blazers” because each is “blazing” their path to a new future. Infinite Family’s Professional Development Workshops help them find their way. As long as they keep investing in themselves, we are there to support and assist as well. And we know our Net Blazers are investing in themselves because they give up Saturday afternoons to keep learning!

Carol Durst-Wertheim, PhD, past Director and long-time educator, is working on a monthly basis with these young adults to further develop their life skills especially in the critical skill areas of career preparation and communication. Net Blazers, like Patricia and Johannes, learn the basics of cover letter and resume writing and move on to more advanced topics such as spoken and unspoken workplace communication between colleagues both in person and electronically.

Joining the 21st century global workplace can be like entering a familiar but foreign country – everyone speaks English but the “rules” aren’t the same as at home. Learning how their workplace colleagues interpret their actions is always an eye-popping surprise to our first generation company hires. Working with Dr. Durst-Wertheim is an invaluable asset as our Net Blazers develop the skills that the growing population of South Africa’s post-matric applicants need to succeed in the corporate environment.

Infinite Family’s Professional Development Workshops help our Net Blazers to become not only good corporate citizens, but strong South African citizens as well. In the most recent workshop, Carol helped the Net Blazers learn about how South Africa’s government operates and how they can take part and have their voices heard through voting.

Thank you to our global network of donors and Video Mentors for your support that makes it possible for our Net Buddies to qualify for advanced studies and be prepared to succeed in the formal workplace.

Mar 9, 2018

Blazing a Path: Siyabonga

Siyabonga giving hard earned advice
Siyabonga giving hard earned advice

After high school, Infinite Family's Net Buddies blaze their own paths to success. They call themselves Net Blazers.

Mentorship? Net Buddy from 2008 to 2010

Where are they now? Currently working as a millwright for West Rand Engineering

What's up? College Firsts


Infinite Family: You’re first in your family and one of our first Net Buddies to attend college. How was your experience?

Siyabonga: It’s a common misconception that college is easier than university, but that isn’t true. College can be as tough as university. At the end of the day, students are still getting the same full knowledge, just at different levels.

Infinite Family: What would you say was your biggest challenge while attending college?

Siyabonga: I didn’t want to waste my money on tuition and transportation if I wasn’t making progress in the degree. So, when the lectures that I needed to take at a particular level in mechanical engineering were not available, I took lectures in the subject of Strength of Materials and Substances, which was meant for an advanced level. This proved to be challenging for me, so I turned to my Video Mentor, Chuck, for guidance. He suggested I find a tutor to help in the subject. With the help of a tutor, I was able to do well in the lectures.

Infinite Family: That’s great to hear that you turned to your Video Mentor for help. Was this the only time you received guidance from them?

Siyabonga: We’ve kept in close contact with each other for almost 10 years. While in college, I volunteered in my community by joining a NPO tutoring kids (grades 1-10) in basic math and English. I excitedly told Chuck about how I was giving back to my community. Chuck wanted to temper my excitement and asked, “Are you able to help all of the kids in your community or is it only a few?” I responded that it was only a few kids. Chuck said, “If you want to be able to help more than just a few children out, you need to be in a position to help yourself first before you’re able to help others.” This put things in perspective for me and made me want to focus and do well on my studies even more.

Infinite Family: Do you have any advice for our other Net Buddies?

Siyabonga: At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how good of a doctor, engineer, or lawyer you are if your integrity doesn’t match. Your character needs to be at the same level of your position so that you can create a better world.

Dec 11, 2017

Girl (Electric) Power!

Elsina electrifies with her persistence!
Elsina electrifies with her persistence!

Elsina, born in Alexandra township, is a shining example of the persistence our Net Buddies possess.  In 2013, Elsina failed her first year of college which meant she lost her scholarship. No longer able to afford attend college, so she had to drop out. Feeling lost, she turned to her Video Mentor, Alicia, for guidance. Alicia pushed Elsina not to give up and to find a way to continue her studies.

“I realized that I could not let challenges defeat me. I realized I had to find ways around solving problems,” Elsina reflected. 

And she did! She found a job at a brewery and worked from morning until night, 12 hours a day, every day. Driven to become an electrical engineer, Elsina worked until she had saved enough to put herself through college. As the first in her family to go to college, she finished her level 6 qualification at the end of 2016.  In 2017, she was working multiple jobs in Alexandra and looking for an electrical engineering internship that would allow her to complete her degree. Even as month after month went by, Elsina committed herself to stick with her search and finish her degree.

In October, Elsina’s prayers were answered by Neil Webb who heard her story as part of Classic FM 1027’s interview of Founder Amy Stokes. Neil’s company, Isinyithi Cathotic Protection, just happened to be looking for an electrical engineer and he believed that someone with Elsina’s persistence and commitment might be just what they needed.  He picked up the phone and left Amy a voice mail.  Soon, Elsina was interviewing for the position and we are thrilled to share that she will be starting at Isinyithi on January 2!

South Africa will soon benefit from a talented young lady’s skills and Elsina is on her way to building a better life for herself, her mother and her siblings. 

Thank you to our global donors and mentors for your support! As Elsina has shown, success is not achieved overnight and requires the long, life-changing relationship video mentoring brings. Your support motivates our South African students to persist in their mission to build better futures for themselves. Because of your generosity, Infinite Family has been able to connect 28 more Net Buddies in life-changing video mentorships since September 1st, 2017. That makes 65 new matches for 2017. We look forward to sharing more of our Net Buddy success stories in 2018.

Thank you! 

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