I have the most awesome job. I am one of those people who get to do what they love and live their passion. Part of what makes this job so awesome is that I get to be a part of the journey for so many young people on their way to personal success in discovering their own strengths, their own passions, their confidence and those moments of realisation when they know they have the potential to be more than they thought possible.
These moments make me so proud. Now I many proud moment stories – so I will have to share them in bite-sized chunks. One of these is the story of Prince, a 16 year old youngster from the Tsogo Sun Soccer Academy programme.
Prince started in the programme when he was 11 years old playing for his U12 school team. Very early on his talent and discipline on the field and his willingness and commitment off the field soon got him noticed by our team coaches as well as the scouts from PSL development teams. Last year he was snatched up by Kaizer Chiefs and now plays for their U17 side. He continues to make us proud with his behaviour on and off the field, but also has not forgotten to keep his head up with his education and we continue to receive good reports from school regarding his academics. Prince is also wonderfully supported by those around him and particularly his dad. He is a wonderful young man who always takes the time to come and say hello and give me a hug when he says me. I am so proud of who he has become and the young man he is becoming – on and off the field.
What I am learning along the way is that you never get tired of these proud moments. Each one of them is special and each one of them gives you the motivation to keep going. So the days when the job is not always so awesome, these proud moments remind you of the awesomeness and why you need to keep believing in the potential of our young people. They will make us all proud!
Shanda Paine is the group CSI manager for Tsogo Sun, a JSE listed organisation comprising over 90 hotels, 250 conference facilities and 14 entertainment destinations throughout South Africa. She manages the company’s social investment portfolio and is responsible for the strategic direction and implementation of the group’s flagship community development programmes. With a background in public relations and marketing, over the last eighteen years, she has specialised in corporate communications, media relations and corporate affairs, which eventually steered her into her current career and passion of being actively engaged in the upliftment of South African communities – with a particular focus on the development of young people.