One of the most exciting things about my trip to Bulembu was the continuous sense that I had work to do there. As I have already mentioned, I first felt it when I met the student musicians, even more so when I met with them to talk about song writing. But I was quite surprised when a lunch conversation turned to social emotional learning (SEL) in education. My non-profit, Touchstone Youth Resource Services, Inc., provides SEL to high school students in Nashville through an initiative called CiViL. To put it in simpler terms, we inspire change by helping youth envision a hopeful future, embrace positive options, and engage in real steps toward a better life (find more information about Touchstone), and it turns out that one of my team members serves a similar organization.
We brainstormed about how we could provide services to students in Bulembu. After several conversations with the director of Bulembu and the headmaster of the school, we made a plan to pilot CiViL in Bulembu next summer. During the coming year we will be raising the funds necessary to bring a team back to Swaziland. The cost of that trip will be in the thousands, so please consider supporting our efforts on behalf of Bulembu between now and then.