Mark Kleinschmidt, ward councillor for Ward 60, Kenwyn
The Amy Foundation (formerly Amy Biehl Foundation), located in Sybrand Park in Ward 60, held a spring gala ball fund-raiser at the prestigious Century City Conference Centre and Hotel, Century City.
Kevin Chaplin, managing director of the Amy Foundation, in his speech, remarked that “changing lives” with its mission of educating, developing and empowering disadvantaged youngsters into emotionally well-rounded contributing citizens was their primary focus.
In 2016 the foundation was able to take 780 youngsters on camps into nature, introduced chess, cycling and maths, placed 215 students in full-time employment and much more.
One of the youngsters, Akhona, who started when he was just 11 years old, was placed at Twelve Apostles Hotel and became employee of the year in 2016.
Another student, Sibusiso, started at 9 years old and is a trainee manager at Pick * Pay.
Over 2000 children and youth attend the six after school centres every day, receiving a daily meal, materials, equipment, transport and outings.
Aiming to raise R1m at the spring ball, the foundation continues to increase its outreach programmes in 2017.
Due to efficiencies and stringent control, it costs the foundation only R400 a month a child to attend the enrichment programmes, provide a daily sandwich and drink, materials, equipment, transport, outings and school holiday camps throughout the year.
The situation in the townships is still dire – more than half of children who start Grade 1 do not write Grade 12.
The high rate of teenage pregnancy, gangs, violence, drug abuse and children arrested and charged by police remains a challenge.
The children participating in the programmes, however, are developing well and standing out as doing better in school. Also, more importantly, they are not dropping out of school or getting into gangs, drugs, violence or contracting HIV.
There is much-needed work with the youth in the townships.
The Amy Foundation motto is, “Together we can change lives!”
Special thanks to joint chief executive officers of the Century City Conference Centre and Hotel, Gary Koetser and Glyn Taylor, for their generous sponsorship of the venue.
Well done to managing director Kevin Chaplin and the Amy Foundation team for their excellent efforts and Cape Town sponsors for their support.