Girls and Boys Town South Africa

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Girls and Boys Town (GBT) South Africa’s vision is: youth, family and community, South Africa’s strength and future. The organisation creates opportunities nationally for youth to grow and develop into responsible citizens, able to contribute to family and community life in the spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, equality and solidarity with others.

The story of the then ‘Boys Town’ (GBT since 2004), is one of the most heart-warming tales of human endeavour of the 20th century. The GBT journey has been a tale of everyday life in most societies of the world - the tragedy of fear, loss, despair, abuse and neglect and the triumph of faith, courage and hope that changes the way children are cared for. Its legacy is about fulfilling dreams and improving lives. In 1958, Magaliesburg saw the first then ’Boys Town’ residential home established out of the compassion, altruism and social consciousness of its founders, initially providing a home for nine youngsters from a local children’s home who had been destined for a so-called ‘Trade School’. These boys were soon joined by 17 others from children’s homes throughout the country, and the organisation has continued to expand exponentially over the next 55 years - including focusing on work with girls.
The organisation consists of four major national service divisions:
Residential Service
Provides residential care to over 350 youths - girls and boys - on any given day, from all communities in eight nationally located residential centres. GBT is the only child and youth care organisation in South Africa offering two alternative residential programme options:
  • Four Youth Development Centres: each setting with up to 70 youths in a more structured environment where the unique peer-group system of self-government operates. This model significantly involves youngsters in decision-making concerning their own affairs. The youths elect their mayor and council and then govern themselves under the guidance of adults, where they are taught to take responsibility for themselves and others;
  • Four Family ‘Group’ Homes: caring for up to ten boys and girls in regular houses in the community with a husband / wife team as family teachers where the Family Home Model is unique in its focus on family-style living, with emphasis on social skills teaching and meaningful self-governance by the youth.
Training and Education Service
  • Structured training workshops through two National Training and Resource Centres that provide training services in their regions and surrounding provinces to parents (common sense parenting), educators (Education Model - Trained 10 221 educators in 1 032 schools / crèches / institutions, impacting directly and indirectly on 336 972 learners across all nine provinces in South Africa. GBT is hoping to expand training bases from Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape into other provinces in the near future;
  • Direct youth education services through four national GBT operated Learning Support Centres for learners who are struggling in mainstream educational classes, either due to educational / remedial difficulties or challenging classroom behaviours (at risk of losing their school placements). The accelerator programmes are implemented with the intention of mainstreaming these learners back to the school, from which they were initially referred, as soon as possible following intervention. These specialist units will also admit learners from community-based schools that have completed the GBT well managed classroom workshop.
Family Services
  • GBT national mobile family services units were developed inorder to achieve the goal of greater accessibility to families. These units consist of family workers who work directly with families in all communities, including the most deprived, in ensuring stronger family relationships and bonds, and avoiding family disintegration and separations. The uniqueness being that family workers are no longer office bound, they meet families where they are, provide them with the necessary motivation and skills they need to rediscover their strengths and empower them in reclaiming responsibility for their futures;
  • This team also facilitates regional multi-disciplinary assessment panels -assessing the needs of youth and families (referred through the stateagencies, GBT hotline or self-referrals), who are then ‘matched’ to anappropriate GBT service option, or where necessary to an external service;
  • The National Hotline Service also operates from within this team andoffers adult and young people short-term counselling and assessment andreferral services.
Evaluation and research Division
This nationally functioning team is charged with the responsibility of being guardians of the integrityand effectiveness of all GBT models, services and programmes. This happens on two levels:
  • A monitoring and evaluation role and responsibility, where the teamsassess whether the models and programmes are implemented as expected and as trained. These activities include comprehensive annualassessments of implementation (process) and outcomes (multiple datasources);
  • A responsibility to conduct professional research nationally. One of thefundamental research questions to continuously answer is: ‘How effective isGBT in achieving its mission?’ As GBT’s ongoing research answers thisquestion, it will directly influence, inform and impact on GBT programmes andservices, and also contribute to the development of the child and youth carefield as a whole. The work of this division is considered critical, since it isGBT’s intention to offer higher levels of service excellence, in as professionaland accountable a manner as possible.
More than 63 242 (children, youths, adults, elderly, disabled) have directly benefitted from GBT’s programmes. Therefore, the work of all those within GBT South Africa continues to contribute to the 55-year-old organisation, which is viewed as the leader in helping youth and families, and all those who impact on the healthy growth and development of young people, where others have failed or given up.
GBT South Africa was also awarded ‘The Chairman's Choice Award: Social Champion Charities’ by The National Lotteries Board (NLB) in 2013, in recognition of the organisation’s outstanding transformation and corporate governance policies.
Areas of Operation
  • Gauteng:
o   Kagiso Randfontein - Youth Development Centre, Family Home (New);
o   Magaliesburg - Youth Development Centre
  • KwaZulu-Natal:
o   Glenwood - Youth Development Centre;
o   Tongaat - Family Home;
o   Verulam - Youth Development Centre
  • Western Cape:
o   Claremont - Family Home;
o   Kenilworth - Family Home;
o   Macassar - Youth Development Centre                                          
To view Girls and Boys Town South Africa in the Prodder NGO Directory, click here.

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