It has been a busy time leading up to the World Cup but here is a brief update on the work in both Drakenstein and Leeuwkop Academies. We will send you a full report post World Cup on all the events. I am glad to announce and welcome Lindsey Petit to our Drakenstein team. Lindsey brings a wealth of experience and knowledge as she oversees the educational part of the academy. With her assistance we have placed many boys in the prison school and put boys on correspondence courses to further their education. Lindsey will monitor their progress - welcome Lindsey! It is crucial for prisoners to be encouraged in skills development and education and this is a step in the right direction. We are also meeting with the College of Cape Town to discuss scholarships for the young men who come out of prison for skills development in woodwork, metal work, welding and electrics. Recently a meeting was arranged with Leeuwkop management to discuss current logistical barriers to the academy running fully. The Commissioner of the prison gave his support and we are now working on getting everything in place to run the academy fully post World Cup. Drakenstein Academy continues to be our model of excellence to other prisons. The young men are working through the 17 Qualities of a Team Player by John Maxwell. Their behaviour remains positive and the they won their first league match 7:2. Adam Bull continues to do a great job developing the team in Drakenstein. The academy was also invited to play a match to open a new sports facility in Goodwood prison on the 20th of May. The Academy showcased their talents to top management and Fifa reps and won 8:1. We recieved many positive comments about th behaviour e of the young men and also their footballing talent. We have developed a partnership with a team in one of the townships (Phillipi). This team will continue to develop boys from the academy in their football development. We currently have 4 boys connected to the team. One of our boys Precious Wonga Mhaga is very ill with XDR-TB we need much prayer and support for him at this time. TB has become a big problem within prisons around South Africa. On the 22nd of May we held a follow up meeting with boys released. Most of them were doing well but one boy was struggling for support and doing drugs. This is a common challenge for prisoners when released. It was encouraging to hear that they were all either studying or working. We have also had boys come out of prison and join our soccer events in the communities. Recently 4 boys joined us to help coach a soccer clinic in a poor community outside Cape Town. Thanks for all your support and prayers for the Hope Academy and making a positive difference to young lives in South Africa. Mark Slessenger
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