SLEAK 2.0 is a case study in which three different faculties (theology, occupational therapy, sports) join forces to train life-skills in underprivileged adolescents and their support structures as part of student learning and community outreach. Through sharing interdisciplinary knowledge, collaboration, adaptiveness, and an innovative mind-set, we envision a catalytic, all-encompassing, impact for both staff, student and adolescent.
SLEAK (Skills, Learning, Education, Activities for Kids) 2.0 is an after-hour life-skills program in which students, together with staff and local volunteers, provide a four times six-week program involving a myriad of activities (sports, creative ). Each 6-week block revolves around a specific life-skill (ie respect, resilience, big dreams, leadership) deemed vital in equipping adolescents to face the day to day challenges and adversity of growing up in an underprivileged urban setting (eg poverty, drugs / alcohol, lack of social stability etc).
The main target group for our initiative is twofold. First, the life-skills program targets underprivileged adolescents and their support structure (ie family). These adolescents generally face complex challenges in home circumstances, inadequate primary education, and limited social capital. By soliciting life-skills (eg resilience) during adolescence we aim to equip this learners with the skill set to tackle and cope with adversity more effectively. Second, the students and staff from different curricula involved in the program. Through the interdisciplinary collaboration, generally outside of their own scope of practice (eg health), we aim to equip those involved with a more open and holistic mindset to tackle complex challenges in real-world situations. Funding was obtained from our division of Social Impact & Transformation to set-up and pilot SLEAK 2.0 at one of our service learning sites (Bishop Lavis, Cape Town). The project builds onto the uni-disciplinary SLEAK 1.0 (Occupational Therapy) program that has been running effectively since a couple of years. Unfortunately, The COVID-19 pandemic has hampered some of the proposed activities. For example, home visits have been challenging due to the inability to control safety, social distancing and hygiene practices. In addition, providing opportunities for participants outside of their own community (eg visits to main campus / sports facilities) have had to be postponed. As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, a concerted effort is being made to slowly re-integrate these essential aspects of the program moving forward. Qualitative research activities are planned to ensure rigorous evaluation of the program at a participant and stakeholder level to inform the case moving forward, as well as the concept of interfaculty collaboration across university sites.