GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - So you're finished with school.
You passed matric and you are ready for your future... or not.
For many school leavers this is a very daunting time. A lot of their peers are going to extend their tertiary education, others might go travelling or working abroad while some might be lucky enough to be joining the family business.
You, on the other hand, don't have a clue what you want to do next - and chilling at home watching TV, playing games and going to the beach and mall can only last that long. Eventually you or your parents - whichever comes first - would have had enough of your slouching around at home. So why not take a gap year?
Gap years don't have to cost a fortune. As a matter of fact, they can actually be quite inexpensive - especially if you take one locally and plough back into your community.
Your options are almost limitless - but in order for you to enjoy what you are doing and to gain maximum experience you have to try to do something you are passionate about. Whether it is helping out at a child welfare organisation, an orphanage or a place of safety, assisting at a local soup kitchen, homeless shelter or an old age home, it is important that you understand why you are doing it and that you are passionate about it.
If you like animals more than people - like a lot of people do - why not join one of the local animal welfare societies or rescue centers? They will never say no to any form of help and you can play with puppies and heap love on them each and every day for the next year. Dogs, cats, horses, pigs, sheep - you name it - they all need your help.
Many emergency rescue services like ambulance services, paramedics, firefighters or sea rescue organisations are also available to assist and train volunteers.
More of a greenie or a botanist? There are scores of organisations who do regular outdoor clean-ups and educational outreaches. Have you ever thought of volunteering at your local botanical garden?-
If none of the above tickle your fancy, why not try out the arts and cultural side of life and volunteer at your local museum, library or arts theatre? A plethora of arts and cultural organisations await you. Some focus on language, others on fine arts and some on song, dance and drama.
If the limelight is not for you and you prefer a more 'behind the scenes' vibe, why not look at organisations who take care of the frail and ill? There are many adults and children who spend day and night in hospitals or medical care centres fighting some form of terminal disease - you can be the one who brings a smile to their face and makes their situation a little more bearable.
There's a myriad of non-profit organisations across the country and each one needs help. Do some research and find the one that ignites your passion.
'We bring you the latest Garden Route news'