YMCA uses job shadowing to raise funds for summer camp


As part of a fundraising effort, the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) invited guests to Spur’s shadow shift evening, where 10 percent of the value of the meals purchased would be donated towards their summer camp.

On Thursday May 26, about 100 people showed their support as families came out to dine at Spur in Vangate Mall. YMCA youth shadowed waiters and served guests their meals. In this way, youth were able to experience what it takes to be a waiter.

The shadow shift ran from 5pm to 9pm.

The YMCA, which is 100 years old and based in Kewtown, runs an after-school programme from Monday to Friday, where young people can complete their homework, learn leadership and life skills and arts and crafts, and patricipate in sports programmes, keeping them off the streets.

The idea behind this programme is that children have a safe place in which to do their homework after school with the assistance of the YMCA staff. Aneesa Jacobs, youth co-ordinator at the YMCA said they have a summer camp at the end of every year to “release the stress built up throughout the year”.

“Our main aim is to assist the youth with their homework, and encourage them to study hard. To me this is definitely a benefit to them, they get to experience something different. The response has been great, our parents are very supportive,” said Ms Jacobs.

Danie Bothma, manager of Spur at Vangate Mall added:“The idea of them being waiters this evening is good because Spur is a stepping stone for a lot of people. They get a feel of working in the restaurant. The feedback from the community has been very positive.”

One of the guests Rushda Davids, from Surrey Estate, has been a sponsor of YMCA for about five years. She became involved after seeing an appeal in the Athlone News seeking volunteers for the organisation.

“I think it’s an amazing initiative. Tonight is one of those things which benefits the greater community. It also gives YMCA the necessary exposure, because a lot of what they do goes unnoticed. We should definitely have more of these evenings because the youth get to experience life in the real world, and exposes them to social interaction and etiquette,” said Ms Davids.

One of the youth from YMCA who shadowed a waiter for the evening, 14-year-old Luke Swile, has been part of the after-school programme for two years. He said that the programme helped him do better at school.

“It’s fun to be part of the programme. We do all sorts of things there.

“They teach us life skills, and it helps me to do better in my school work, but I think being a waiter is not so easy,” said Luke.