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2023 Term 1 & 2 News

Our goal is to empower High School learners to work towards a future which excites them! We do this by providing academic support through tutoring, mentoring and MORE!

We had a busy start to the year and registered 35 grade 8 learners to the High School Tutoring Programme. Relationships with many of the tutors were already established as they had been involved with the Future Sparks Grade 7 Programme at Westlake Primary


Our Grade 9 and 10 groups resumed, and some new learners joined the groups, sadly some could not return as they had moved out of Westlake or had family circumstances, for example being responsible for younger siblings or domestic chores after school which make it difficult to attend tutoring after school.


Outings:

Outings form an important part of our programme, and we were fortunate to be able to take our learners on these excursions which are always a highlight for the learners (and us!)

Cape Point was a hit with the Grade 8's

Gr 8’s went to Cape Point, they hiked to the lighthouses, and visited BuffelsBay for some baboon(!) and rockpool studies. In term 2 they visited the Cape Town Science Centre and spent time learning through the interactive displays, followed by a fun Chemistry demonstration with some explosive experiments!

Cape Town Science Centre explorations

Grade 9’s spent a morning at the South African Naval Museum in Simon’s Town, our guide did a great job of inspiring this next generation to think about following a career in the SA Navy and the museum had much to explore too. This was followed by lunch at the pier and fun on the beach with some Penguins close by. In term 2 the Grade 9’s enjoyed a trip up the Cable Car and a walk around on top of Table Mountain, with our knowledgeable guide who gave us lots of facts about the geology, history, and vegetation of this landmark.


Naval Museum Outing
Table Mountain Adventures

The Grade 10’s had a visit to the Iziko Natural History Museum and a walk through the Company Gardens in town, it was also International Bee Day, and the learners enjoyed a display where they could taste 10 different honey flavours and understand and appreciate more about these amazing six-legged animals.

The Iziko Natural History Museum experience

Sport Programme:

The summer term provided lovely long sunny afternoons, allowing extra time for longer soccer practices and a few matches. The Netball girls worked at fitness and ball skills, with one match during the season. With winter chill and early sunset, we had to pause the sport as it was dark, and with safety concerns, the learners needed to head home before dark. Huge thanks to Kevin & Amen for coaching the soccer teams and to Eden & Letitsia for inspiring the Netball girls. Sarah Fernandez a tutor at Future Sparks, is involved in the relatively new sport of Ultimate Frisbee, and has started coaching a team of keen learners.


Challenging times:

At the start of Term 2 Ronald Abels (co-founder of Future Sparks) moved to the United States with his wife Sydney. We were sad to say goodbye to this amazing, inspirational friend, and his leaving left a large gap. Nomaphelo broke her leg and after surgery she had many weeks on crutches. Paul Miles had devastating news that his wife had a brain tumour, but with surgery and 6 weeks of treatment, she is doing well, and the prognosis is good. With all these challenges it was a stretching term. The Future Sparks Tutors took up the slack, making sure that the programme continued without break for the whole term. We are SO grateful for their commitment and loyalty to the programme. Tutors also received advanced tutor training in June, which empowered them to help learners to identify gaps in their learning and catch up in these areas.


New beginnings:

We are excited to have appointed two of our tutors (Melissa and Nikita) to the role of Junior Programme Manager. They are entirely

Nikita Cornelius
Melissa Gope

responsible for running the Grade 7 programme at Westlake Primary and they have done a great job of taking this leadership role over from Ronald. Melissa was once a Grade 7 learner who benefited from Ronald’s Future talk life-skills sessions many years ago! Special thanks to Anne Kristin Mbala, who stepped into the leadership gap during this challenging season, with her positive attitude, wisdom, faith and insight and support during the challenges of Term 2.


Psychosocial support at Future Sparks:

We are so fortunate to have met Iris Williams who is a retired social worker and has offered to assist us with situations where learners have experienced loss or crises in their personal lives. She has decades of experience and has already been a wonderful addition to the team.


The Weekly Programme:

Tutoring in progress

Running 5 sessions a week, with our high school grades each having two session per week, we are kept busy! There is much work to be done, as the learners strive to improve in Afrikaans and Mathematics especially. We have adjusted our programme to meet this need, as tutors work in small groups to try to encourage and inspire the learners. As mentioned, this amazing group of young adult tutors plus experienced retired schoolteachers are the reason why Future Sparks Works! Building relationships and providing encouragement to the learners helps to build a sense of belonging and commitment, with is key to the success of the programme.


Parent meeting:

These are an important opportunity to link with the parents. On the 1st of March we held a meeting at the Westlake community hall and met several parents there, we had an opportunity to communicate our vision and mission to these parents and to strengthen relationships at a family level.


Support:

The Future Sparks programme is entirely funded by donations, and we are so grateful to those individuals and companies who have supported us in this project. We are also enormously thankful to Reddam Constantia for providing classrooms for afternoon tutoring, assistance assisting with bus transport for outings and allowing us of their fields and courts for our Frisbee, Soccer and Netball practices.


Ubomi Charitable Trust / Future Sparks:

Our AGM was held in May, and a report of the 2022 year was presented along with our Audited Financial Statement. We’re so thankful for all the people and organisations who have supported and encouraged us!


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