An enthusiastic group of pastors and youth workers, principals and school district officials joined us in Soshanguve for an introduction to the It Takes Courage! Youth Curriculum, our character-based life skills education program focusing on the prevention of HIV/AIDS. Using the end of their January vacation time, everyone gathered to be inspired and motivated to reach youth and make a difference in their schools and communities. Drs. Jennie Cerullo and Marcia Ball and local pastor, Thando Sikonkwane, facilitated for this very lively group.

As always, we introduced the subject of forgiveness, a hard but necessary focus in a country so torn by social strife. After a lengthy heart-felt discussion about the need to forgive, we encouraged people to stand and out loud say “I choose to forgive!” One by one, they began standing all over the audience until almost everyone in the room was on their feet, committing themselves to a new life not defined by bitterness and resentment. It was overwhelming!

One of the participants was the director of Life Skills for one of the large school districts in our area. As such, Mike is responsible for more than 180 primary, middle and secondary schools, each with 1000+ students. Impressed by what they learned, he and 23 teachers from his district attending the training met to create an action plan to bring the ITC! Youth Curriculum to the entire district – life-changing principles to more than 180,000 students!

We are launching a pilot program that will use five schools in the district as pilot schools. Each school will have teachers and administration trained in the ITC! Youth Curriculum. They will undertake the daunting yet exciting task of infusing the ITC! principles into each subject area. Using the fifteen foundational character traits, and healthy decision-making principles. We are thrilled to have the educators in our own backyard embracing this project so passionately!

While It Takes Courage! Youth Curriculum will roll out in this school district but these same schools will be our pilot group for our Courage to Care! Anti-Sex Trafficking and Self Defense Curriculum to be released in 2021.

This is an incredible open door! However, as always, one of the first challenges is finances. The school district has no money for such a venture and cannot depend on government aid. Kerus has committed to helping raise the necessary funds to make this a life-changing reality for so many precious children.