In both Wesley and Queens’ College Clubs, whenever we take in new members, there is a tendency for the girls in different classes to keep to themselves and not want to mingle with a junior class. We decided to tackle this by introducing several activities in which the girls work in a team. In a few weeks, we see a great change. Since the different classes work together in the same teams, it helps them to loosen up: the senior ones drop all airs, becoming more approachable to the juniors.
One major activity organized in Wesley Club was an outing to Wavecrest College of Hospitality where they attended an Open Day. They learnt a lot more about Hospitality which the College presented in an attractive way. They were able to change their poor appreciation for the Service Industry, no longer seeing it as a last option for someone who has failed to gain admission into university. Rose, one of the Wesley girls, made up her mind to do the Diploma in Hospitality at Wavecrest after the outing.
In Queens’ College Club, many of the members are selected to be school prefects each year. Last year, the head girl, Akunna, and 2 of her deputies, Edith and Tolu, were members of the club. Uzoma, who was Dining Hall Prefect, once raised the difficulties they were having with other prefects who weren’t members of the club. They were very responsible as acting prefects but started shelving their duties on being confirmed as prefects. This meant that our Club members who were prefects were left with more responsibilities.
On getting more reports of this kind from Akunna and a few others, we decided to organize a Leadership Summit at Afara for them. We invited all the prefects and some of those aspiring to be prefects. It held on a Saturday, so there was a lot of time to expound on many issues and treat case studies. Kemi, who now teaches in The Lagoon School, a reputable school in Lagos, anchored most of the sessions. She spoke about the meaning of leadership and taught them how to cultivate qualities such as spirit of service and diligence in order to carry out their leadership responsibilities in their current environment.
Many of the girls in Wesley College come from very humble homes. As a result, they often spend their evenings, trading with their mothers in order to boost their family’s income. In so doing, some of them very easily neglect their studies. Some years ago, we came up with the Reading Room at Afara, where these school girls can have a conducive atmosphere to study after school. They come and spend some hours and take advantage of the tutorials offered by the university students who come to assist them.
Contact with the club girls is maintained even after they graduate from secondary school. Some of them end up in University of Lagos, which is close to Afara and they participate in activities in the centre. Uzoma is now studying Dentistry in this University. I asked her recently what impact being in the Club had on her and she said that the talks went a long way to help her practice different virtues. She now weighs her choices more, really thinking about the decisions she makes before making them. She also found that the cookery and crafts sessions brought out the creative style in her. And she couldn’t have survived without the mentoring sessions, since having someone to talk to and tell all your problems is something to treasure. Amaka, who was in the club several years back continues attending other activities at Afara. For Amarachi, being in the Club was wonderful. She liked the movies, the outings and especially the crafts like bead making, cards and aprons. She saw in those sessions opportunities to express herself. She particularly liked the style of the meetings and the feeling of freedom to express her own opinions.
We see them come, we witness their transformation and we send them off to make an impact on others, at home and in school.