Dear Shelley McClean
Thank you so much for the value you added to our Life Skills & Career Day, your ‘Sex Education & Alcohol Abuse’ Session was thought provoking, informative and left a lasting impression on not only the children – but everyone who was there. Abraham Kriel Bambanani continually expressed their gratitude and referred your talk as ‘way overdue’, thanks for making our programme successful in this regard.
I wish you the best going forward as you continue with your impactful work at Heart Reach, your talks have left a lasting mark in all the audience.
Allen Glen High School
We are very pleased to report that the Heart Reach team under the leadership of Shelley McLean, has been addressing our grade 8 learners on an annual basis for more than fifteen years.The topic of their address is a sensitive one. Sex education plays a vital role in the lives of teenagers and for various reasons this information is not always forthcoming from their homes.
Our teenagers like the fact that they are addressed by strangers who are impartial and nonjudgemental. Confidentiality is maintained at all times. If the learners need to discuss anything privately, the Heart Reach team are able to offer one on one counselling if the school is not equipped to meet the children’s needs.
Topics covered have grown to include STDs, HIV/Aids, drug and alcohol abuse, pornography, trafficking and specifically related subjects that are requested by schools.The Heart Reach team is punctual: they can fit in with any timetable. Their approach is always professional, friendly and they have a unique way of making teenagers feel at ease with sensitive discussions.
We have no hesitation in recommending Heart Reach to address learners’ (primary and high schools) issues that may be uncomfortable for a Life Orientation teacher who knows the learners well, to approach.Their services are so necessary and important in our ever-changing world.
Lucille O’Brien (Mrs) Acting Principal Guidance
Linda came for counselling for post abortion stress, and when I asked where she had heard about us she said we had spoken to her brother’s class at Weston Agricultural College a year ago, and he told her we could help her.
After discussing Human Trafficking with a grade 9 group at a school in Northern Johannesburg, 3 girls came to us after the talk and said they recognised some of the stuff we were saying was happening to them, and they thought they were getting targeted. Investigation showed they were indeed being targeted by traffickers.
I wonder if you have any idea of the impact that your talks have on our learners? Not only did you cover our syllabus which is always a fight against time, but our learners have given us such a grand feedback. They really enjoyed your talks and feel like they have been educated.Thank you for all the trouble that you all go to to make this venture such a success.
I wish I could add three zeroes onto our cheque! Nonetheless, we look forward to seeing you again in the third term for our grade 10 darlings.
Regards to all and thanks again.
Northcliff Primary School
Heartreach present a programme that is relevant and appreciated by our Grade 7 Learners. One Facilitator per 35 learners makes one on one contact and the answering of questions easy. The Facilitators are professional and well informed and supplement the Grade 7 LO, NS and SS content. The Facilitators are prepared to answer questions that the learners will not ask Parents or Educators. They cover puberty, sexual intercourse, unwanted pregnancy, slavery, human trafficking etc. I would recommend them as it provides a different face and take on important topics and Learners often listen to outsiders and take their advice.
Mrs Debbie Smith Deputy Principal
Brandcliff House Pvte School
Brandcliff House Private School has been inviting Heart Reach to come through to speak to our students since 2004. Shelley, who always presents the talks, has been dynamic in her approach to the students with regards to the various topics that have been discussed over the years. The students have always come away with a healthier and more aware mind set as to the pitfalls that promiscuity can bring into their lives.
Shelley also covers such topics as sexting which is at the students’ fingertips and how this can adversely affect young lives. The feedback from the students has always been one of awareness and confidence as to how to deal with these topics and peer pressure. We fully recommend Heart Reach for their honesty in their approach to the students.
Regards, Andrea Davies Administration
Hello! I was chatting to my students about guest speakers and one of them said” that lady who spoke to us about sex was good! She made it different and interesting”. They actually remember what u said! Thought u should know xx
Krugersdorp High School
Heart Reach first began working with Krugersdorp High School in 2005. Since then, we have had the privilege and pleasure of having annual visits from Heart Reach.Individual speakers address a class during Life Orientation lessons, according to the CAPS syllabus. In grades 8 and 10 specifically, each class has had two visits from Heart Reach. We have found that addressing smaller groups has many advantages and is very beneficial. Along with covering the topics according to the syllabus, Heart Reach is always willing to address additional topics that we may request.
The talks given by Heart Reach to our learners have been informative, up to date and well received.The speakers adopt a direct approach, which has suited the teenagers well. Learners report enjoying the talks immensely, even mentioning them years later. Learners feel free to ask questions and discuss current sexual issues that are relevant to them. This has varied from class to class and grade to grade. The speakers use medical knowledge in their talks and are not afraid to answer what is asked.
Not only are the speakers focussed during the class lessons but they are also availble for learners after hours – their Watsapp and multi media counselling has assisted many learners, especially shy ones, to have their concerns addressed. Nothing is too much trouble for Heart Reach– they have always made a plan to accommodate us according to our time-table. Teachers’ questions have been encouraged and always answered clearly. The continued relationship that we have enjoyed with Heart Reach over many years speaks of the stability of the group. Learners themselves have said that the low teen pregnancy rate and high sexuality education that we enjoy as a school, are largely due to our association with Heart Reach. It is my pleasure to recommend them to all high schools, without reservation.
MRS. J.R. HART (H.O.D. LIFE ORIENTATION)
I had really connected with a group of Matric girls at Allen Glen High, they all “befriended” me on facebook, and throughout their matric year I was able to help them through various issues they faced. At the end of the year each girl thanked me for getting her through matric and their many trials. At the time I was so blown away, because all I had been was a friend to them. This hammered home how important it is to just be there to listen to our young people. This is how you change lives.
I bumped into Neville last year (2014) and he remembered me from the talk we did to his class in 2011. He said that it had changed his life. He had been heavily involved in pornography and masturbation. Our talk had encouraged him to change his ways.
A group of grade 9 girls at **** High came to me after a talk and said they had planned to lose their virginity at a party that Friday night. After our talk they realised that they would be making a huge mistake, and had rather chosen to wait.
In July 2006 I spoke to the matric group at Waverley Girls High School. One September evening at 20h00 I received a call from one of the girls who said. “I have been having sex since grade 7. Tonight I was out at a club and was about to go home with a guy for the usual, and then I remember what you said about the packet of chips, and I suddenly thought, I am NOT a sample, I Am special and I am not going to go with this guy or any other guy. I want to change my life. So I want you to know that from tonight I am different. Thank you for making me realise I am special.”
After a grade 7 talk Samantha told her story to Madelein, our presenter. When she was in grade 6 she went to movies with a guy, her parents were in the movie next door. Suddenly the guy got forceful and started to touch her and hurt her. She didn’t know what to do so she just sat there until the movie ended. She didn’t tell anyone that the guy had ‘fingered’ her. She thought her parents would blame her and be cross with her. Madelein was the first person she was able to talk to. Madelein was able to comfort her and assure her it wasn’t her fault. Our question. Why on earth did her parents let her go to movies with a boy when she was only 11 years old? Why were the parents in the movie next door? They should have been with her. Parents should be protecting their children.
If you have a testimony about how Heartreach has helped you or your school, and would like to share it, please send your testimonial to us on the contacts page or via email.