Our Core Values

Although SMYLe appears to be a “Youth Music Group”, it’s actually a project that uses music as a mechanism for encouraging youth to focus on academic success, specifically in Math/Math Literacy. The kids want the music. We want the math!

As many researchers have found, there is a direct correlation between kids who play a musical instrument, and those who do well academically. This is because success in music is derived from the same thing that success in math: practice. The more a kid practices either subject – music or math – the better they perform (figuratively and, in the case of music, literally).

Also, one must remember that the kids in SMYLe are what we typically refer to as “at-risk youth”. Their lives are surrounded by various struggles and dangers, while their ultimate goal ought to be to break the cycle of poverty they have been born into. As such, SMYLe vigorously enforces the following Core Values among the entire team, including our leaders:
 

Education First! Participation in the band, particularly with respect to public performances and tours, is strictly limited to learners who continue to meet our “AHA Check” requirements (Attendance-Homework-Attitude). While we can’t expect our kids to have exceptionally high marks (due to an education system that continues to under-support them), we DO expect the kids to demonstrate excellent behaviour and academic effort.
Shared Commitment Participation in the band requires a commitment to teamwork, shared effort before, during and after practices, and support for one another (particularly within our ‘Homework Club’).
Respect Others We believe that respect for gender, racial and ability-related diversity is paramount to our collective ability to respect ourselves. As such, SMYLe members are reminded that discrimination of any form and/or disrespect for others cannot be tolerate.
Avoid Drugs & Alcohol Because drug and alcohol abuse is a persistent problem in our communities, including within our schools, SMYLe members are expect to be positive role models, and must avoid the risks and temptations associated with drugs and alcohol.
Avoid Crime Although we believe in the principles of fairness and ‘innocence until proven guilty’, accusations of criminal behaviour are taken seriously, and proven involvement in any crime results in an immediate expulsion from SMYLe.
Avoid Pregnancy Teenage pregnancy in communities such as Dobsonville (Soweto) is a significant barrier to academic and future career success. As such, SMYLe learners are frequently reminded of their need to act responsibly in avoiding teen pregnancy. Boys who get girls who pregnant are treated in precisely the same way as girls who become pregnant: an immediate expulsion so they can focus on learning their responsibilities as a parent.
Environmental Protection The “management” of waste in communities such as Dobsonville is all but non-existent. Even at our schools, rubbish piles up due to a lack of willingness to properly dispose of waste, causing numerous health and safety risks. The kids of SMYLe are strictly controlled when it comes to issues of littering and the wasting of water, and are taught about the necessity of protecting the sustainability of the natural world in which we live.

Although SMYLe appears to be a “Youth Music Group”, it’s actually a project that uses music as a mechanism for encouraging youth to focus on academic success, specifically in Math/Math Literacy. The kids want the music. We want the math!

As many researchers have found, there is a direct correlation between kids who play a musical instrument, and those who do well academically. This is because success in music is derived from the same thing that success in math: practice. The more a kid practices either subject – music or math – the better they perform (figuratively and, in the case of music, literally).

Also, one must remember that the kids in SMYLe are what we typically refer to as “at-risk youth”. Their lives are surrounded by various struggles and dangers, while their ultimate goal ought to be to break the cycle of poverty they have been born into. As such, SMYLe vigorously enforces the following Core Values among the entire team, including our leaders:

Education First!
Participation in the band, particularly with respect to public performances and tours, is strictly limited to learners who continue to meet our “AHA Check” requirements (Attendance-Homework-Attitude). While we can’t expect our kids to have exceptionally high marks (due to an education system that continues to under-support them), we DO expect the kids to demonstrate excellent behaviour and academic effort.

Shared Commitment
Participation in the band requires a commitment to teamwork, shared effort before, during and after practices, and support for one another (particularly within our ‘Homework Club’).

Respect Others
We believe that respect for gender, racial and ability-related diversity is paramount to our collective ability to respect ourselves. As such, SMYLe members are reminded that discrimination of any form and/or disrespect for others cannot be tolerate.

Avoid Drugs & Alcohol
Because drug and alcohol abuse is a persistent problem in our communities, including within our schools, SMYLe members are expect to be positive role models, and must avoid the risks and temptations associated with drugs and alcohol.

Avoid Crime
Although we believe in the principles of fairness and ‘innocence until proven guilty’, accusations of criminal behaviour are taken seriously, and proven involvement in any crime results in an immediate expulsion from SMYLe.

Avoid Pregnancy
Teenage pregnancy in communities such as Dobsonville (Soweto) is a significant barrier to academic and future career success. As such, SMYLe learners are frequently reminded of their need to act responsibly in avoiding teen pregnancy. Boys who get girls who pregnant are treated in precisely the same way as girls who become pregnant: an immediate expulsion so they can focus on learning their responsibilities as a parent.

Environmental Protection
The “management” of waste in communities such as Dobsonville is all but non-existent. Even at our schools, rubbish piles up due to a lack of willingness to properly dispose of waste, causing numerous health and safety risks. The kids of SMYLe are strictly controlled when it comes to issues of littering and the wasting of water, and are taught about the necessity of protecting the sustainability of the natural world in which we live.