How to Help: LifeMatters – Be a Role Model

Every few weeks I like to use my little platform for good and today is one of those days! My How to Help series is one I love, the idea is that it would introduce my readers to a variety of charitable organizations around SA that are in need of extra hands, funds or both and give you more info of how, and where, you can get involved and give back! I think it’s super exciting and I hope you do too!

Today I am so pleased to introduce you to The LifeMatters Foundation. There aim is to get involved in schools in the greater Cape Town area and to serve the community in relevant and creative ways so that more children have the opportunity to grow in wholeness – spiritual, physical, emotional, social and intellectual.

The LifeMatters Foundation reaches 1000 foundation phase learners, with the help of 100 volunteers, who dedicate their time to reading, counting, counseling and mentoring young learners in 10 schools in the Retreat/ Steenberg/ Westlake area.

South Africa is currently the most under performing country in the world in education, specifically in the areas of literacy and numeracy. In the schools where LifeMatters work, the most at risk children are identified by the teachers, removed from classrooms of up to 60 learners, and sent to the LMF literacy and numeracy centers, situated and set up in allocated classrooms. Here volunteers are trained to sit one on one, or one to two with learners, and spend 1-2 hours a week, following a programme that facilities the process of matching childrens chronological age with their developmental age. In 6 months of working with an underperforming learner, the LifeMatters Foundation have seen up to a 60-70% improvement in both the literacy and numeracy levels of individual learner results.

One of the current challenges facing LifeMatters is the lack of good role models, males especially, available to go into the schools in less advantaged areas. LifeMatters are always looking for people who are able to give of their time and build relationships with the learners. This has become their goal.



Recently LifeMatters came across an interesting study in the book “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell, which has inspired their movement going forward….

Jonathan Crane, a sociologist at the University of Illinois published a study in 1991 in the American Journal of Sociology where he looked at the effect the number of role models in a community (“High Status” professionals such as managers and teachers) has on the lives of teens in the same neighborhood. His answer was surprising. He found little difference in teen pregnancy rates or school-dropout rates in neighborhoods with between five and forty percent of high-status workers. But when the number of professionals dropped below five percent, the problems exploded. As the percentage of high-status workers falls just 2.2 percentage points — from 5.6 percent to 3.4 percent — dropout and teen pregnancy rates more than double. Crane’s study essentially means that at the five-percent tipping point neighborhoods go from relatively functional to wildly dysfunctional almost overnight. This is no steady decline: a little change has a HUGE effect. Teenage sex and dropping out of school are as contagious as an infectious diseases and when neighborhoods decline, good kids become infected.

This year LifeMatters is looking to the people of Cape Town to create a “Tipping Point” in the vulnerable communities of Retreat/ Steenberg/ Westlake, where gangs and a lack of role-models have caused an epidemic of crime, violence and disorder. Their aim to is to inspire influential people across the city to become role-models in these areas – aiming for just over 5% of people in the city of Cape Town to get involved in giving back to an underprivileged community in some way.

LifeMatters offers 2 ways to get involved…

1. Buy a table for the LifeMatters Foundation Fundraiser taking place on Tuesday 22 October and bring your friends, family or business colleagues. It promises to be an entertaining evening and will be the perfect opportunity to hear more about you can help “tip” the Retreat neighborhood in the right direction. For more details see the invitation below…

The LifeMatters Foundation Fundraiser 2013

2. Another way you can give back is to contact LifeMatters to sign up as a Role Model to the teens and children in one of the vulnerable areas identified above and be part of the change! There are many wonderful opportunities to get involved such as the successful numeracy and literacy programs they run.

Contact LifeMatters

Tel: (021) 712 0383

Email: Lisa McGowan, the LMF Operations Manager:



Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for over 9 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

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