Mentoring - and More - During Covid-19

by Infinite Family
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Mentoring - and More - During Covid-19
Mentoring - and More - During Covid-19
Mentoring - and More - During Covid-19
Mentoring - and More - During Covid-19
Mentoring - and More - During Covid-19
Mentoring - and More - During Covid-19
Mentoring - and More - During Covid-19
Mentoring - and More - During Covid-19
Mentoring - and More - During Covid-19
Mentoring - and More - During Covid-19
Mentoring - and More - During Covid-19
Mentoring - and More - During Covid-19
Mentoring - and More - During Covid-19
Mentoring - and More - During Covid-19
Mentoring - and More - During Covid-19
Mentoring - and More - During Covid-19
Mentoring - and More - During Covid-19

South Africa’s annual matric results are in. We bet you are wondering, “What’s a matric?” In short, it’s a terrifying few weeks of exams at the end of 12th grade that determines whether a South African student may continue their studies in college and learn the specialized knowledge and skills that lead to a good job -- or they are destined to toil in back-breaking labor for the rest of their lives with low pay and even less control. 2020 included the added stress of missing at least half of the year’s classroom teaching due to the pandemic. 

Waiting for results in a normal year, it’s not just our Net Buddies who are holding their breath and crossing their fingers. Hundreds of their Video Mentors and our Infinite Family around the world are doing the same, deeply invested in their futures too. 

Our Net Buddies’ hard work paid off with stunning success:  100% of our 12th grade Net Buddies achieved marks that will allow them to advance to college/university and opportunities that excluded their parents. We could not be more proud of our Net Buddies’ achievement in the face of extra adversity!

And we could not be more thankful to you, our GlobalGiving donors. Your commitment and support strengthened our Net Buddies to remain resilient and resourceful throughout 2020’s difficulties, as well as, rise up and take responsibility for their performance despite the hurdles. We knew they could do it. Thanks to you, now they know it too!

Your support is also making another life-changing difference in our teens’ lives. As a result of the services you helped us provide, GlobalGiving awarded Infinite Family with a surprise $20,000 grant to “to support your organization’s relief efforts in response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Your and GlobalGiving’s generosity is allowing Infinite Family to move quickly and expand the services we provide to post-high school young adults in township communities who are struggling to make the transition to college/university and good jobs. Stay tuned to hear about the exciting new programs that we are working to launch and how you can help. Thanks to you, 2021 will be the year new programs for South Africa's unemployed young adults move from plan to action! 

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Realogile Net Buddies
Realogile Net Buddies

Dear [donor name],

We apologize for not keeping you informed of the impact of your generous support during 2020. We prepared this report to be shared with you in mid-December. However, it has just come to our attention that due to our error using GlobalGiving's platform, it was filed incorrectly and thus not shared with you. We hope it brings you a long overdue smile and the knowledge that your decisions and actions continue to prepare South Africa's teens for school and life success. 

We are very happy to report that throughout a very difficult 2020, none of our Net Buddies or staff contracted Covid-19. Your ongoing support kept them informed and alert to be able to protect themselves and those around them in South Africa's densely packed townships.

In addition, all of our LaunchPads were open and active by October. You made it possible for our Net Buddies to get back to the important work of preparing for exams on the way to building better futures! Your encouragement and gifts kept our Net Buddies strong, smart and healthy by making sure they were nourished in body, mind and spirit. 

In addition to getting back to work, your gifts allowed us to make several important changes to the LaunchPads that will keep them safer and allow us to serve more students. Of course, all of the LaunchPads are now equipped with cleaning supplies that are refilled regularly. But we also began installing WIFI central points to allow our Net Buddies to work socially distanced in the fresh air outside.

Our first group of new Net Buddies has a jumpstart because so many are younger siblings of our Net Blazers. They were encouraged to become Net Buddies by their parents or guardians because they saw the positive impact these relationships had on their older siblings before and during the pandemic lockdown. 

Even though they have suffered the loss of critical school class time last year, our Net Buddies learned valuable skills they will use forever. Through your example and generosity, you have shown our teens that dark days are no reason to give up on their dreams and that, even in the worst of times, resilience, resourcefulness and responsibility make us stronger, as individuals and as a community.

Thank you for your continued support for our work building the skills and responsibility of South Africa’s teens to become self-reliant and successful adults.

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As we are all too well aware, 2020 is not following the normal script. Your support in March, made it possible for us to adapt our systems of support to extend Information, Inspiration and Activities to our individual Net Buddies’ homes where they were in strict lockdown for many months. In recognition of our efforts, GlobalGiving honored us by including Infinite Family in their 2020 Project of the Month Club.

The economic devastation of the coronavirus pandemic is profoundly different than anything our communities have faced before and continues to require “all hands on deck” creating new systems to support them. In May it became clear that mental, physical and emotional support would not be enough: Our Net Buddies and their families were literally starving. We needed to take on another new role and get involved in food distribution. We are so proud that our incredible donors and local partners took just 12 days to achieve life-saving results: YOU made it possible to deliver one-month food parcels that provided more than 2,000 meals! You can read 50+ messages of thanks from our Net Buddies and their families at the link below. Here’s just one:

I felt really touched when I heard that we were going to receive the food parcels. I felt as if a very heavy burden has been lifted off our shoulders because we’re family of 8 and only 2 of us have income. But my hours were cut … when I told my aunt she couldn’t even believe it when I said IF is bringing us food parcels. We feel loved and really cared for. Thank you so much. –Tsireletso, Net Buddy Alum

We are now focused on our Net Buddies’ education. Schools are not yet functioning for the majority of students and most of our Net Buddies do not have access to computers or Internet connectivity to participate in online school. Our South African team is exploring several ways to connect our Net Buddies to educational resources and activities to keep them moving forward while their schools struggle to implement a plan that minimizes Covid-19 spread. We will share the details soon, as well as how you can continue to play a critical role strengthening our Net Buddies.

We thank you for your commitment to and continued support for South Africa’s teens. Knowing you care about them, even though thousands of miles away, gives them courage and strength to stay focused and safe.

With deep gratitude,

Amy Conrad Stokes

Founder, President and CEO

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New Net Buddy Coronavirus Support Portal
New Net Buddy Coronavirus Support Portal

One month ago, you made sure that Infinite Family’s South African teen mentees were not abruptly isolated and uninformed when their schools were closed for the National Lockdown. Your gift keeps our Net Buddy mentees in contact twice a day, 7 days a week, so we can answer their questions, reduce their fears and keep them focused on building skills that advance their education when school starts again.  In addition, the new outreach portal you sponsored has given constant access to their families and friends for:

  • Factual information about Coronavirus and Covid 19 and how to stay safe;
  • Uplifting messages of inspiration from their Video Mentors, celebrities and many others; and
  • Daily stimulating activities to keep their bodies and minds strong during this period of confinement.

Here are just a few of the comments we received as a result of your support:

  • I really appreciate the info. Most of us are scared at this moment getting such a support it show that we are not alone. Thank you. – Awkhiwe
  • This information is so helpful because I got to be informed about Covid-19. This was not only helpful to me but it was also helpful because I shared the information I received with others around me. -Zuzu
  • I would like to thank the person/people who were so thoughtful to warn us about the symptoms. I AM REALLY THANKFUL. - Hope

And these are a few of the important questions and fears you allowed us to hear and respond to:

  • How does quarantine assist in killing Covid 19?
  • How do I differentiate between flu symptoms and Covid 19 symptoms?
  • What will happen later in the future, will the virus be gone or will it wipe out half of the population on Earth?

As you can see, our Net Buddies live in communities without access to the role models and information they need to survive this pandemic and keep preparing for school and life success. You recognized that we are all in this together and filled this enormous gap!

We have a long way to go and life may never be the same again. Thanks to you, our Net Buddy mentees continue to build resilience, resourcefulness and responsibility, strengths they will always need to be successful in an uncertain future.

Please follow us @InfiniteFamily on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter if you wish to see the important content you make possible each day.

With deep appreciation,

Amy Conrad Stokes

Founder, President and CEO  

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Thokozani outside IF's LaunchPad computer lab
Thokozani outside IF's LaunchPad computer lab

 

"If any of you educators would like an English lesson, I would be happy to give it to you!" That's how Thokozani ended his short presentation on the difference his Video Mentor, Sharon, had made in his life in the year and a half they had been connected. 

He started his presentation by saying that in 8th grade, before starting video conversations (VCs) with Sharon through Infinite Family, he had been a shy and uncertain English speaker. He added that English had been one of his worst subjects and that he also struggled with all subjects that were taught in English, including math and science. Since meeting Sharon, he was proud to report that he was doing better in school overall, especially in English.

To Thokozani's surprise, his self-confidence had also increased dramatically, so much so, that he had begun to want to lead by example and be a role model for the younger students who were also struggling. Despite recently losing his father, he is always at the LaunchPad computer lab helping the Net Fundi lab managers and coaching the new Net Buddies as they learn the system.

Thokozani’s newfound skills will help him excel for the rest of his life.For starters, the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) has been studying the performance of 15 year olds worldwide in reading, math and science since 2000, including over 10 million students in 2018 alone! What have they found to be the most important indicators of student success? Confidence and self-motivation - both traits that Thokozani enthusiastically demonstrates now. 

In addition, in a country with 11 official languages, the ability to communicate well in English is absolutely critical in getting that important first job in South Africa and in earning promotions for the rest of our Net Buddies’ lives. The skills that you have helped Thokazani develop while working with his Video Mentor have put him on the path to earning more than five times what his non-mentored peers will earn – for the rest of his life. We thank all of you who have supported Infinite Family through GlobalGiving for investing in Thokozani and inspiring him to begin a life of leadership as a role model for success.

Now back to that English lesson – who wants to be first?

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Organization Information

Infinite Family

Location: Dunkeld West, Johannesburg - South Africa
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @infinitefamily
Project Leader:
Amy Stokes
Dunkeld West, Johannesburg, Gauteng South Africa
$21,881 raised of $35,000 goal
 
160 donations
$13,119 to go
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