Meet Liz Oosthuyzen, mom of 2 and this month’s SPM Mom of the Month. Find out more about the fantastic work Liz and her team are doing at the Shine Literacy Program in Ocean View – you may even want to get involved.

Liz-Oosthuyzen

What is your business all about?

I help run a Shine Literacy Program in Kleinberg Primary started by the Common Good Foundation. It runs Monday – Thursday mornings from 9h00 – 11h30 during the school term. Learners are assessed at the end of Grade 1 and any learners who are battling to read are then taken onto the program and paired up with volunteers. This allows them to get 2 hours a week of individual attention. What I love about the program is that it’s purely volunteers based, I love watching volunteers and children building relationships that may never have occurred apart from this program. I also have a job that I do from home and 2 kids so my days are pretty hectic (Gulp!)

How did it start?

In the middle of last year a lady named Emma Nash and myself from the Common Good Foundation started the Program in Ocean View. I’m a qualified junior school teacher, but have never actually  taken up a post since getting my qualification. Then one day my friend asked if i would help set up a literacy program in a school in Retreat, this grew so much that we set one up in Westlake too and I realised I found what I loved doing. When i moved to the valley at the end of 2013 I was itching to start another centre. Common Ground Church was keen to get involved so we started with the help of volunteers from the church, but soon after that many wonderful  people from all over South Peninsula pulled together to change these kids lives.

Why do you live in the deep South?

I grew up in Bergvliet but my husband and myself always talked about moving nearer the sea. One day we were asked to help startup a new church in the valley.  When we met loads of fantastic people that lived in the valley we just fell in love how authentic the people are here and how close knit the community was. We moved over a year ago and have never looked back.

How many children do you have and how would they describe you?

I have 2 children, I have a girl who is 7 years old and a boy who is 6 years old. When my kids were asked to describe me they said I was special, the coolest mom in the world. They said I was kind not every time but mostly times (haha!) and that I am sometimes forgetful.

What is your favourite thing to do with your kids in the deep South?

We love the beach, my husband surfs and thanks to the ‘Moms on Board’ program I am learning to surf too 🙂 We love the huge variety of restaurants with play areas. We also love to cycle /walk /skate to the park and boat or SUP on the lake.

What is the best advice you ever received from your mother?

Beauty is not about how you look on the outside but true beauty comes from the inside.

Our character and who we were as people was much more important in her eyes than what we looked like or what we wore.

She also used to say our house had elastic walls, which meant it was open to anyone who wanted to stay. She loved it if she woke up in the morning we had to step over a whole bunch of friends in the lounge who had stayed over for the night 🙂

How does the community benefit from your involvement in it?

I hope the whole South Peninsula benefits from the literacy program. I am convinced that for many individual children that join our program, their lives are completely changed. Reading empowers them to learn and sets them up for their future education, breaking the poverty cycle that starts with dropping out of school. Both the children on the program and the volunteers, volunteers lives are changed through the relationships that are built with these kids.