What Paying It Forward Means To Me

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Written by Soren Cloete, TSiBA Volunteer

I heard about TSiBA, when Dorothea Hendricks, who was the Student Counselor at the time (also related to me), told me about TSiBA and invited me to come join and do some volunteer work because I was just sitting at home. I actually don’t really see myself as a volunteer because TSiBA reimburses me for my transport. I’m a volunteer because I don’t have matric and I can’t sit at home every day, and I guess that’s how I pay it forward by giving my time daily to do what I can for TSiBA, like arranging Wellness Days, Women’s Clinic and loading contacts onto our system. But mainly it is that I enjoy it - which I do. 2014 is my 7th year at TSiBA.
I think TSiBA is an very good organisation because of the opportunities and the “Pay it Forward” learning. Not only do our students get a chance to do their bachelors degree for a very small cost, they get various tasks that teaches them to be responsible and giving back to their community which is called “Paying it Forward”. TSiBA is also an organisation that’s makes you feel at home, even working at TSiBA as a disabled person myself makes me feel as an able bodied individual. I feel part of this great TSiBA community.

I’ve got a few fond memories such as going on camps with students. Not only did they make me feel really independent for a few days from my parents but I also got to know our students on a more personal level. I’ve always wanted to work with students on a one on one basis, almost like counseling or mentoring. Even though I’m not actually working with them, we chat sometimes and I see them grow. I was a mentor to four students which I really enjoyed, it was very challenging because I had to talk about different topics once a week beside checking in on their daily lives on and outside of campus. Overall I’ve made a few friends whom I was close with, and still are and see them now and then. Then there was this one student whom wasn’t one of my mentees but I was like a mentor, a close friend, a brother to her. She used to come fetch me by my desk almost every day to chat, I felt very good to be part of her journey at TSiBA. Right from the start watching her grow in maturity and emotionally. Dealing with all kinds of situations that she went through, which was a big part of her growth I think. So I appreciate her a lot for allowing me to have been part of her Journey here at TSiBA. That was my most memorable moments. Up until today, two years later, we are still very close friends and I see her once a month.

Economically I do worry about my future as a disabled person when it comes to my ability to work, to do things for myself and my level of education. But knowing that I play a part in helping students accomplish their dreams their goals and improving our country, gives me great pleasure in “Paying it Forward” and that’s what I would say to encourage others to do the same.

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