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New youth centre opens

The grand opening of the Lucky Point Youth Centre and Recycling Station was proof positive of what can really transpire when women collaborate on a worthy project.

Margrit Schwendimann, Elizabeth Jacobs and Claudia Delport, the founding members of Lucky Point, warmly welcomed all guests to the opening of the non-profit organisation’s brand new premises aimed at the young people of Bot River, situated opposite the OK.

The organisation was founded in 2008 for intervening in the lives and situations of poor children of all ages. Construction on its new premises commenced on 1 August last year, and by January was complete.

In January 2012, the community started the Lucky Point creche, which currently looks after 35 children. Registered as a non-profit two years later, it has two after-care facilities and feeds between 120 and 160 children from Monday to Friday.

Collecting items for recycling, kids, teens and adults can earn reward points at Lucky Point. The points are then converted into clothes, food, toiletries, bicycles, sporting goods, and other items.

The aim of the Lucky Point Youth Centre is to create a safe, open environment for the young people of Bot River, enabling them to develop their mental and physical faculties, so they will have an awareness of the benefits of making healthy life choices. The facility also aims to reduce high school drop-out figures and promote and encourage academic performance. The youth will have a safe, secure environment to retreat to after school, where they can do their homework.

In her speech at the opening Schwendimann thanked the youth centre’s many donors and contributors. “I must start with my two friends, Elizabeth and Claudia,” she said. “If it weren’t for them we would never be here now. Before I came along they already had a desire to help those in need from their community.

“With their tireless commitment they were the driving force behind this successful story. In spending the last 10 years working together we have grown together.”

Schwendimann also thanked benefactors from Switzerland, who flew in specially. “Thank you for your financial, moral and physical support and for filling our containers,” she said. She also thanked ward councillor Pearl Stanfliet, who helped the group of women overcome obstacles. “Over five years we had to remain patient and focused,” Schwendimann said.

She also paid tribute to the sole male in the collaboration, Urs Zimmerman, for his help during the latter part of the building process. “A very important man thought he may be coming to South Africa to play golf, and enjoy the sun and have fun,” she said, “but instead he ended up working like hell.”

The centre’s colourful exterior is painted white with splashes of green, yellow, red and blue to add a fun element. A piano takes pride of place in the brand-new music room, as the youth centre also wants to facilitate a music school to provide children with the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument or two.

Visit the Lucky Point website at www.lucky-point.ch, or www.facebook.com/MyLuckyPoint for more information.

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