Peer pressure education programme gives learners the upper hand

Our youth, especially teens, are faced with serious challenges on a daily basis. From browsing the Internet, to bullying, joining gangs and drug abuse have grave consequences; unfortunately our youngsters are not necessarily equipped emotionally to stand up for themselves and realise their dreams when faced with these pressures from their peers.

Peninsula Beverage Company (PenBev – local bottler and distributor of The Coca-Cola Company products in the Western and Northern Cape) takes this very seriously and have partnered with Life Talk to sponsor life skills and educational talks to previously disadvantaged Western Cape schools about the dangers of modern day temptation, and how to deal with these situations.

Almost 90 Grade 7’s from Wavecrest Primary School in Mitchells Plain were recently treated to a talk by industry experts about the dangers of peer pressure at school. The learners, aged between 11 and 13, talked actively about the challenges they face in their everyday lives, and learnt a few techniques to help them deal with adverse situations in the future. The talk was hosted at PenBev’s Coke Zone, in Parow which is an auditorium dedicated to educational programmes.

Priscilla Hendricks, PenBev’s School Co-ordinator of the Life Talk sessions comments, “We are concerned about the difficulties facing the youth of today - our future leaders, so we place great importance on conducting these educational programmes, to help the learners cope with peer pressure and to know how to deal with challenges that they may, or may already have faced. We have offered these talks to disadvantaged schools in the Western Cape for the past 2 years and look forward to touching the lives of many youths in the future. This initiative forms part of PenBev’s ‘me (people), we (community), world (environment)’ initiative, which aims to uplift the people and environment in which we operate in and who have supported us for many years.”

During the talk, learners had to envisage who they wanted to be when they grew up (their goal person) and base all decisions on whether their actions will help bring them closer or further away from achieving this. Life Talk focusses on challenges such as peer pressure, alcohol, drugs, precarious information found on the Internet, chat room risks, hubbly bubbly, sexual activities and gangs. The dangers of each of these are elaborated on and methods to overcome these issues are provided during the talk.

“We predominantly target pre-teen learners for the talk, before they reach the age where the real dangers in life are introduced to them. It’s important for us to make them comfortable to talk about these matters in an environment where no judgement is made,” says Natasha Swift, Life Talk’s Cape Town representative who conducts the talks.

After the talk, learners are given refreshments while listening to an overview of how the production process works at the bottling plant, and how their favourite drink is made.

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