When we were doing our project in Brazil, we were able to reach a large portion of the kids in the community because the project had already been running for five years. Then we moved to South Africa to a completely new community and had to start everything from scratch. So how do we approach this challenge??
To start with we prayed. Then we went into Windsor and started finding out about any projects that were going on. We discovered that there are in fact some once off projects that occur sporadically during the year. One of which is a community day wherein some local professionals offer their services for free for one day to the community. These include dentistry, hairdressers, arts and crafts and the like.
We were also exposed to some soup kitchens running on various days during the week predominantly catering for the guys that stand at robots. We visited them and had some eye opening experiences. One of the most heart-wrenching moments for me was when I asked one man how he thought that I could pray for him, and he replied, "I want to get off of drugs. Pray that I stop the drugs. They are ruining my life." While I stood in a stunned daze at his response, he stole away into the bustling traffic back to where he came from.
These experiences convinced me that reaching the next generation was key for long term change.
So our next approach was to contact the schools in the area. Lucky for us, our church runs the one school, and I was a pupil at the other. We got in touch and were invited to share at their assemblies. Suddenly we were exposed to over 700 kids, many of whom lived in Windsor.
Finally we started volunteering at the local aftercare to strengthen our relationship with the recreation centre and to start building relationships directly with the kids. All these factors laid down the ground work for our outreach project in a dynamic and practical way.