It’s hard to believe that already four days of the Mamelodi Initiative Summer Jam are over! I have a class of 10thgraders, who are all wonderful in different ways.

The first day of class I introduced my students to the concept of Asset-Based Community Development, which is essentially seeing what a community does have rather than focusing on what is lacking. This means utilizing the strengths of a community and determining the skillsets, resources, and passions of community members. So, on the third day of class I had my students do just that.

I divided the students into groups that each of my co-teachers could lead and tasked the groups with drawing the outline of one person at a time. On then inside the body outline, the students were asked to write the qualities and interests of that person. And on the outside of the body outline, the students were asked to write the resources and supports around them.

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Prince in front of his asset map

Some students, like Lucky and Prince, were able to write outside their outline things like leadership roles in organizations and their support teams. Others, like Kagiso and Mahlatse, just listed their favorite rappers all over the page. Honestly, as a teacher, I was just so happy that all the kids were engaged in some way and pleasantly surprised that the logistics got smoothed out.

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Mahlatse and Kagiso in front of their asset map, rapper edition

One group actually ended up doing this activity communally. What I thought would be a very individualistic activity with some group encouragement, they turned into something much cooler. Community transformation sparked by engagement is only possible with a communal mentality and that’s exactly what these kids showcased. So with three posters, fours kids, crossed out names rewritten, and a mix of different marker colors, Bontle, Scelo, Hlogi, and Modiegi get an A+ from me.

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Team Mamelodi: (left to right) Hlogi, Bontle, Modiegi, and Scelo

I’m so glad that my students could be reminded through this project that they are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God (Psalm 139:14;Genesis 1:27). Indeed, assets to the community of Mamelodi!

 

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