Growing up in situations where the future is often unsure or where there is a daily struggle to meet even the most basic needs can be toxic. During a child’s development, a stable environment is incredibly important; however this isn’t the reality within many of South Africa’s poorer communities. In some parts of the world many families are one crisis away from abject poverty, however in South African many families are already living within those conditions.
The situation isn’t all that grim though; as amidst all the daily difficulties there are those who are able to go on to build a stable future, whether it is with the help of social organisations, government initiatives or as a result of pure resilience.
What we do at Dreams to Reality is more than a social service addressing basic needs. Our programs are about showing children that there is more to life than just simply surviving and that they have within themselves the skills to rise above their circumstances. It’s not always an easy job and we most certainly wouldn’t be able to do what we do if it weren’t for volunteers.
The intent of our programs is to create an environment where children are able to just be children. We believe kids learn best when they are fed and feel comfortable and are simply allowed to have fun. With our programs kids learn structure. Structure is important to developing the ability to make informed life decisions that reduce the risk of situations where one simply lives reactively, thus reducing toxic stress.
Research has shown that growing up in stressful situations can lead to physical and psychological problems in later life. In an ideal world children should not have to be placed harmful stress situations, but in reality, the best we can do is reduce the effect of stressful situations and break the stress cycle.
We break this cycle by allowing children to be creative, learn helpful social skills and to be excited about their future. If you think that you can be a positive influence and you would like to empower a child, then you are just what we are looking for!