Ruth Nyabwa of TeenTouch ESM shares her passion for nurturing kids and teens talents and esteem, through fun and games. Read her story.
“I am 37 years old, married and have one child. Before I went into business I worked as an Administrator for diverse organizations: Advertising, Valuation, UN, Tours, Petroleum, and Australian based organizations just to name a few over 10 years. I come from a God fearing family of eight children originally being the 5th born, although over the years I’ve lost two brothers and a sister and my loving mother too. Together with my partner, we run a children’s program, TeenTouch Esm that involves nurturing their talents through mainly games and play.
Starting off TeenTouch was not easy; the two major hurdles we faced were capital and lack of clients. We started our children’s programs at a very sensitive period when kidnappings were the order of the day. It was very hard to get our initial clients as a result of this. The other hurdle was that children were occupied in school almost all the time, including weekends and holidays, going for extra tuition. It was very difficult making ends meet.
To overcome these challenges, we started with a few children, six in number, who were known to us mainly from Nairobi West where I grew up. Schools like Winka Academy and Happy House also allowed us to market our services during their fun-days and that opened the way for us. Through the birthday parties we plan we also manage to get clients. The ban by the government on extra tuition in schools over the holidays also enabled us get more clients.
We were just three when we started (permanent staff that is) a number we still maintain today. However, right now we partner with professionals from different fields when the program is running, 15 on weekends and up to 30 when schools close for the holidays.
I am passionate about the kids holiday programs because children remind me of our innocence of yesteryears. Of what could have been or what should be. As we grow, we tend to become cold; we lose that sense of adventure and humanity. You should see how kids get excited as they learn a new game! Or when they discover that they are actually talented in an activity they have feared! Those smiles are so genuine – straight from the heart! Words just can’t describe it!
Also, mingling with children seems to run in the family as my late mother loved children so much referring to them as babies and always inviting them home. Not forgetting that we were eight of us when growing up! And as I grew up I always got involved in planning various activities at church, in family circles and for my friends.
We work with children from age three all the way to their teens. We are in touch with kids of all ages all the way to their teens, hence our name Teen-Touch Ltd.
The program that our company provide also involve Education & Sports Mentorship (ESM) program. Teen-Touch actually runs several programs as talents are diverse, but the main theme is always FUN! A child can learn so much when having fun which is normally quite rare in a regimented school environment.
We have a range of activities designed for both enjoyment and to educate the child. We have the normal sports like soccer, athletics, swimming, Tae-Kwondo, basketball, roller skating, etc.
We also have music, art, cooking & etiquette lessons. We have our Teen-Touch fun & learning games; games that reveal talents in children previously unknown. We have a session that engages the children in life-skills training, starting with the normal chores one would expect at home, to sessions concerned with empathy, self-esteem & motivation; children are counseled about coping with loss of whatever nature. We have cultural sessions that teach the children about our diverse cultures and how to accept our diversity. Our holiday camps cover all of the above comprehensively, however our day camps normally run with a theme for each holiday as it is not possible to cover all the above in one holiday program.
Self-esteem & Creativity is also one of our main programs as it is very important for a child to have high self-esteem, and especially when young. A child with low self-esteem is prone to abuse either by adults or other children and is also likely to succumb to peer pressure later on especially during their teens. They will neither have the courage to exploit their talents. A child’s self-esteem is guided generally by four different competencies; Academic Competence, Social Competence, Physical/ Athletic Competence and Physical Appearance. A child with high self-esteem feels comfortable in all these areas.
Business has been both fun and stressful, our greatest challenge has been transport: we hire transport and because the costs are prohibitive, we are unable to pick children from all areas where parents have shown interest. The nature of our business, being more or less seasonal, means we have on board contracted consultants and facilitators, whose rates are always increasing. Half the cost of our holiday program is just lunch and transport. Because of this, many who would have loved to join our program are left out.
Children are very adventurous, always seeking attention in a way. I get really touched when we get feedback from parents that the children are gaining positively from the program. My satisfaction and joy lies more in creating a positive impact to each and every child who joins the program and assisting the parent achieve what they target to see the child gain upon registering for our program. It’s my driving force to see more children gain from it thus always strive to expand my horizons.
My advice to parents in relation to nurturing their children’s talents is that every child has unique talents. Parents, by having direct influence over their children’s activities, are the best suited in discovering their talents as well as encouraging and motivating them to develop those talents. Third parties like Teen-Touch then assist parents in nurturing these talents through special training or coaching programs. Although parents have very busy schedules, they should make time to spend and positively influence their children.
For Women planning to get into business my word of advice to them is a great historian was once asked the same question and responded, “When it gets darkest . . . the stars come out.” As I look at my life, I just think, “How true.” You should never give up.
Want to find out more about TeenTouch Esm Ltd? Email Ruth Nyabwa email@example.com Call: +254 720 475592