Restoring the circle of courage in the lives of youth at risk through mentoring

Oosthuizen, Johannes Jacobus (2017-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: All youth are at risk. Some youth are just more at risk than others. The concept of youth-at-risk has received substantial attention in literature within various different disciplines and sciences. Sociology, Biology, Psycology and Theology all seek an understanding of what is causing youth to be at-risk, what to do to lower risk and how to intervene in the lives of those that are already at-risk. Each field makes its own contribution to address the problem, which unfortunately, leads to no unified concept of what the term youth-at-risk means or unified approach to intervention. The concept of mentoring, as an intervention approach for youth-at-risk however, has drawn attention from many social sciences. Mentoring as an intervention, understood as being primarily a relational approach, between an older, unrelated adult and a younger person, seems to be a promising vehicle to intervene in the lives of youth that are at-risk. It is especially the rise of Resilience Theory that has led to a greater understanding of the power of mentoring as an intervention tool. Resilience theory generally holds healthy adult relationships are necessary for young people to develop in various areas of their lives in order to live with strength and integrity even when faced with life’s most difficult challenges. One model that has developed from this theory, is that of the Circle of Courage that focuses on developing the belonging, mastery, independence and generosity of young people through relationships. Whether a mentoring approach, which integrated the Circle of Courage model to build resilience in the lives of youth, can be properly implemented within a high risk community, where violence, gangsterism and broken relationships are rife, was the aim of this study. The research is a programme implementation evaluation study and was concerned with the proper implementation of the programme as well as the experience of participants. The studies of other reseachers, such as Keller (2005) and the Elements of Effective Practice in Mentoring (2015), were used to develop a framework for programme implementation, as well as a detailed description of every element that should be implemented in such a programme. It was in light of this framework and these elements that the programme was evaluated. The youth-at-risk intervention organisation, LifeXchange NPC, was responsible for the design and implementation of the programme. 18 Mentors were recruited, screened, trained and matched with 18 young people classified in the imminent or active risk categories, by the programme staff. Even though a school referred the young people to the organisation, the project was a community-based project, thus mentors met with mentees, off-site and in the community. For twelve months the study collected various programme reports, surveys, questionnaires and interviews to learn from the implementation process and mentor/mentee experiences, using data triangulation methods. The need for a South African mentoring best practice model, the reluctance of the church to get involved in mentoring youth at risk and the overall mentor and mentee experiences of the implementation, are a few themes that emerged in the study. Since the study was improvement orientated, several recommendations as to how to improve the implementation of mentoring intervention programmes within a high risk community were made.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Alle jongmense is risiko-jeug. Sommige jongmense se risiko’s is egter hoër as dié van ander. Die konsep “risiko-jeug” het aansienlik baie aandag in literatuur binne verskillende disciplines en wetenskappe ontvang. Sosiologie, Biologie, Psigologie en Teologie probeer almal begryp wat dit is wat van jongmense risiko-gevalle maak, hoe om risiko te verminder en hoe om in te gryp in die lewens van diegene wat alreeds risiko-gevalle is. Elke veld het egter sy eie benadering tot die aanspreek van die probleem. Dit veroorsaak ongelukkig dat daar nie ‘n eenvormige definisie van risiko-jeug bestaan nie en ook nie ‘n eenvormige benadering tot intervensie nie. Die konsep mentorskap as ‘n intervensie-benadering tot risiko-jeug, het egter die aandag van baie sosiale wetenskappe getrek. Mentorskap as intervensie, gesien as primêr ‘n verhoudingsbenadering tussen ‘n ouer, nie-verwante volwassene en ‘n jonger persoon, blyk ‘n belowende instrument van ingryping in die lewens van risiko-jeug te wees. Dit is veral die totstandkoming van die veerkragtigheidsteorie wat tot groter begrip vir die waarde van mentorskap as ‘n intervensie-instrument gelei het. Die Veerkragtigheidsteorie sê oor die algemeen dat gesonde verhoudings met volwassenes nodig is vir jongmense om in verskillende areas van hulle lewens te ontwikkel om sodoende met krag en integriteit te kan lewe selfs wanneer hulle voor die moeilikse uitdagings van die lewe te staan kom. Een model wat uit hierdie teorie ontwikkel het, is die Sirkel van Moed. Dit fokus daarop om deur verhoudings ‘n sin van iewers te behoort, bemeestering, onafhanklikheid en edelmoedigheid by jongmense te kweek. Die doel van hierdie tesis is om die moontlikheid te ondersoek of ‘n mentorskapsbenadering, wat die Circle of Courage gebruik om veerkragtigheid in die lewens van jongmense in te bou, behoorlik geïmplementeer kan word binne ‘n hoë risiko-gemeenskap waar geweld, bendelewe en gebroke verhoudings hoogty vier in die lewens van die jeug. Die navorsing is ‘n programimplementeringsevaluasiestudie en was gemoeid met die behoorlike implementering van die program sowel as met die ervarings van die deelnemers. Die ondersoeke van ander navorsers, soos Keller (2005) en die Elemente van Effektiewe Praktyk in Mentorskap (2015) is gebruik om ‘n raamwerk vir program-implementering te ontwikkel en om ‘n gedetailleerde beskrywing van elke element wat in so ‘n program geïmplementeer behoort te word, te gee. Dit was in die lig van hierdie raamwerk en hierdie elemente wat die program geëvalueer is. Die risiko-jeug intervensie-organisasie, LifeXchange NPC, was verantwoordelik vir die ontwerp en die implementering van die program. Agtien mentees is deur program-personeel in die dreigende of aktiewe risiko-kategorieë, gewerf. Alhoewel ‘n skool die jongmense na die organisasie verwys het, was die projek ‘n gemeenskapsgebaseerde projek. Dus het mentors en mentees buite die skool en in die gemeenskap ontmoet. Twaalf maande lank het die studie verskillende program-verslae, opnames, vraelyste en onderhoude versamel om van die implementasieproses en mentor/mentee- ervarings te leer deur die gebruik van datatrianguleringmetodes. Die behoefte aan ‘n Suid-Afrikaanse mentorskap- beste-praktykmodel, die onwilligheid van die kerk om betrokke te raak by die mentorskap van risiko-jeug en die algehele mentor/mentee-ervarings van die implementasie, is van die temas wat in die studie na vore kom. Aangesien die studie verbetering-georiënteerd is, word verskeie aanbevelings gemaak oor hoe om die implementering van mentorskap binne hoë-risiko gemeenskappe te verbeter.

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