As the holiday season approaches, South Africans are gearing up for the traditional end-of-year and festive gift-giving, but this year, there’s a unique opportunity to make a lasting impact through The Character Company’s (TCC) ‘Gifts with Character’ giving campaign. More and more people are preferring gifts in their name that impact on a worthy cause rather than accumulating ‘more stuff’.
Non-profit organization, TCC encourages a shift towards meaningful gift-giving that address pressing issues in communities. With an estimated 70% of South African children growing up in single-parent homes and 4 out of 5 boys lacking a consistent, positive male role model, the need for positive change is urgent. Broken masculinity is associated with the country’s high rates of gender-based violence, crime, gangsterism, substance abuse and other mental disorders. Too often, the life of a fatherless boy is marked by school absenteeism, poor educational outcomes and lack of opportunities to excel in other areas such as sports, arts and social interactions.
TCC runs a countrywide mentorship programme connecting fatherless boys with volunteer male mentors who help to instil in them values such as kindness, honesty, respect, courage and self-discipline over a long-term relationship. The program includes boys frequently meeting up with their mentor and participating in healthy, outdoors-based events such as weekend camps and adventure trips.
Research underscores the effectiveness of mentorship in altering the life trajectory of disadvantaged youth. A healthy mentor relationship has been shown to improve behaviour, enhance relationship-building skills, and positively impact school attendance and academic results. These are effects that last a lifetime as mentor relationships play a significant role in the development of interpersonal skills, a growth mind-set and self-mastery.
Founder and CEO of TCC, Jaco van Schalkwyk says, “Our goal is to turn the tide against the culture of violence in South Africa by helping to raise boys to be good men. The scale of the problem of boys growing up in tough economic conditions and without positive father figures is shocking, and we have so many single mothers desperate for the chance for their boys to take part. Through ‘Gifts with Character’ we’re inviting South Africans to make a difference to our country during the holiday season by enabling the enrolment of more boys in 2024.”
There are six ‘Gifts with Character’ vouchers, each representing a core value based on the TCC mentorship program. The R300 Kindness Voucher represents developing empathy, compassion, and generosity, and provides mentorship for one boy for a month. Emphasizing the importance of truthfulness and integrity, the R500 Honesty Voucher enables a boy to attend an Awesome Weekend Camp.
With a focus on long-term impact, the R1000 Respect Voucher reflects developing self-worth and treating others with tolerance and understanding and supports three months of mentorship. The R1500 Courage Voucher allows a boy to join the yearly Once-in-a-lifetime Adventure trip to build resilience and confidence. Highlighting the importance of nurturing a sense of responsibility and control, the R1800 Self-Discipline Voucher provides six months of mentorship.
The most comprehensive option, the R6500 Five Values Voucher sets a boy on a life-affirming journey in 2024 and makes possible a year of mentorship, attendance at three Awesome Weekend camps, and participation in the Once-in-a-lifetime Adventure trip. This gift that keeps on giving reflects TCC’s holistic, values-based approach to character development.
Van Schalkwyk concludes, ” TCC’s gift vouchers serve as an ideal alternative for those who want to give the gift of positive transformation. They also present a thoughtful option for end-of-year corporate giving, enabling businesses to express gratitude to clients and suppliers with a meaningful contribution towards the betterment of society. By choosing a TCC ‘Gift with Character’, you contribute to a brighter future for our boys and make a lasting impact that benefits our country.”
Give a TCC ‘Gift with Character’
Learn more about The Character Company