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Hello, let’s introduce ourselves...

February 21, 2018

 

The Character Company is a Values-based organization that offers an activity-based, long-term mentorship programme for young boys with absent fathers and/or positive male role models.

 

So, let’s take a moment to answer your questions…

 

Why long-term mentorship?

For us at The Character Company, long-term mentorship is about building relationships, based on trust. As many of you know it takes time to build a trust, especially with children who have been hurt and let down by an adults. When mentoring relationships are long lasting, both the youth and mentor experience greater benefit.

 

Do you only run the programme for boys?

We are currently running a boys-only programme. We felt that there was a great need in our society for a mentoring programme that would provide young boys with positive male role models.

 

Why is the preferred intake age between 5 and 10 years?

The younger we start, the better! Younger boys are open to working with their mentors, to redefine how they understand their role in society and how they understand masculinity. It’s much harder working with teens who have been exposed to negative male role models for far longer.

 

In order to bring a positive impact into the lives of these boys, we need to build a relationship based on trust – that takes time!

 

What does NPO and PBO stand for?

NPO: Non-Profit Organisation – which means we are registered with the Department of Social Development and in accordance with the Nonprofit Organisations Act 71 of 1997, we are required to submit annual reports.

 

PBO: Public-Benefit Organisation - an organisation that meets the requirements prescribed in section 30 of the Income Tax Act (the IT Act) and which may apply for approval to the Commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (the Commissioner), to enjoy the benefit of certain tax concessions.  For more information on how you can donate and enjoy a tax reduction… CLICK HERE

 

Is anyone welcome?

Yes, we welcome men and women from all walks of life. We are a God-centric organization and we ask that any volunteers irrespective of their personal beliefs, to ensure that they are comfortable adopting our 5 core values.

 

We welcome single mothers and their sons, however we cannot offer programme space to married mothers. We would welcome single dads and married dads as ambassadors and possible mentors! We have a number of organizational needs and would welcome the gift of your time and talents.

 

What is meant by activities-based?

Our programme is oriented around a number of activities. Firstly we believe that being outdoors in the sun, engaging in play is the best way to get our message through to boys.

 

What type of activities?

Currently our programme offers a weekly activity, which includes Mountain Biking, Rock Climbing and Park Play.

 

We often host monthly activities, where a number of our groups can interact, and we have typically visited iBounce, Kloofendal Nature Reserve, Emmarentia Dam.

Monthly weekend camps offer loads of adventure and excitement for our boys – sleeping under the stars, late night stories around the camp-fire, etc.

 

What is the aim of these activities:

Our activities are the vehicles we use to connect and spend quality time with the boys – having something to do together in a group, is a wonderful bonding experience. It helps boys build friendships with other boys in the TCC programme who share common values and experiences.

 

Activities are also a useful tool to help demonstrate how our boys can apply the values into everyday life. For example, many boys have a fear of heights or are afraid of swimming, so on camp we use rock climbing and swimming to demonstrate how applying a little bit of courage and self discipline can reap some really great rewards. The fun is seeing the sense of achievement they feel as they conquer their fear and being to enjoy the activity.

 

Do you only do physical activities, what about boys who are not physically inclined?

We rely on activity partners and are always on the look out for new activities we can do with our groups. On occasion we have been invited to bring our boys to an animation studio for a virtual reality experience. On camp we have also created opportunities for boys to learn about working ham radios, building solar powered toys and crafting boats out of recycled material.

 

Our programme does pay specific attention to getting our boys outside into the sunshine, away from their screens! We have seen it time and time again, boys respond to being out in the bush, from discovering the magnificence of the night sky to turning over a leaf and finding a world of insects and bugs scattering under the sun.

 

How do you handle discipline on camp?

Discipline forms a very important part of what we do, especially when imparting the value of self-discipline. Specifically at camp we have a “discipline tool” called DAAR GAAN JY! (translated, it means there you go). It involves running to a pre-determined area and back. This specifically extracts the boy from the social environment, gives him time to think about his actions and possibly calm down or cool off.

 

On the weekly groups, MENtors are expected to manage their groups so that all boys get the most out of the experience. Should the situation require it, our MENtors would use tools like, a time out or a one-on-one quick talk. TCC does not encourage or condone any form of physical discipline like hitting or verbal abuse, like shouting for demeaning a boy.


What is discussed with boys on mentorships and camps, etc?

Our 5 Values are the foundation of our mentorship programme. We talk about them every afternoon and at every camp. The values are courage, kindness, honesty, respect and self-discipline.

 

Afternoon Programme: We have a 10-month curriculum (10 themes) in which we have included a number of talk topics that expand our values to suit each development stage and age. Our Mentors are provided with tools and activity ideas to support our curriculum. Some of the themes are: Communication, Relationships, Know who you are, etc.

 

Camps: We have a few different camp programmes, each with its own theme. Discussions at camp focus on the camp theme, examples include: 5 Values, Relationships, Courage, Values-Based Leadership, etc.

 

How do I get involved?

We have a number of ways in which men and women can get involved and help raise boys to be good men.

 

In what capacity can men get involved?

  • Afternoon programme MENtor

  • Camp Volunteer

  • Events Volunteer

  • Fundraising Volunteer

If you have any specific skill or activity that you feel will benefit the boys, please get in touch.

 

In what capacity can women get involved?

  • Mom’s Supporter – help our social worker check in with moms regularly

  • Events Volunteer

  • Fundraising Volunteer

If you have any specific skill or activity that you feel will benefit the boys, please get in touch.

 

What commitment is required from a MENtor?

Taking on an afternoon group is a big commitment – it has to become part of your schedule. The boys are always looking forward to their group meetings with their MENtors, so seeing them only once a month will not be enough. You should make sure you can commit to one afternoon a week or at least 3 hours over a weekend.

 

Is training provided?

For our MENtors, TCC offers an initial orientation after which you will need to spend time with one of the current MENtors at one of the existing groups before you can start your own group. We also host a number of mens’ workshops throughout the year where we work through the curriculum and other relevant information.

 

We also host a number of skills and parenting workshops for our single mothers group. TCC offers a support network for our mothers group, which includes education around how they can reinforce the TCC values at home.

 

How do you raise funds?

There are various ways in which we raise funds:

  • Our own hand-crafted Coffee - Mnandi Roast (find us on Takealot.com)

  • Fundraising events: 702 Walk the Talk, Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge

  • Once-off donations & gifts

  • Ad-hoc donations from corporates and small business

  • Monthly donations via our debit order system

 

Where is TCC Based?

Our head office is in Kloofendal, Roodepoort. Our MENtorship programme currently operates in Johannesburg and Pretoria.  We are currently working on expanding our program outside of Gauteng and any interested parties wanting to partner with us to start a MENtorship programme in their community can contact Jaco at jaco.ch@racter.co.za

 

Most of The Character Company team, are also parents, so we know you that there are some tough and uncomfortable questions you simply have to ask.

 

What if a boy gets hurt on camp?

We currently have two highly-trained first aid team members, we make sure that at least one of them attends every camp and is on hand with a fully-equipped first aid kit. It’s really important that our moms keep us updated with their contact information in the case of an emergency.

 

Are the TCC team and Mentors vetted?

You have entrusted your boys into our care and that is something we at The Character Company take very seriously.

 

Our Mentors are vetted through the South African Police and against the National Sexual Offenders Registry. Our mentoring teams are supervised by a regional MENtor, who provides oversight and support. Our MENtors are trained to specifically avoid situations where the safety of their boys or themselves would be compromised.

 

Our head office and support team are vetted by the South African Police, for criminal checks and charges. Because they do not work directly with any of our boys, we do not do any further vetting.

 

If you have any other questions, please email: ch@racter.co.za

 

We’d love to hear from you!

 

 

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