At-risk youth, special needs students recognised for social skills

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung presenting Bryan Gerard Yeo with an award at charity group Equal-Ark's gala dinner at the Shangri-La Hotel yesterday. Beside him is Dr Melanie Chew, the founder of Equal-Ark.
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung presenting Bryan Gerard Yeo with an award at charity group Equal-Ark's gala dinner at the Shangri-La Hotel yesterday. Beside him is Dr Melanie Chew, the founder of Equal-Ark.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Thirty-five at-risk youth and youth with special needs were recognised last night for the social skills they displayed during local charity group Equal-Ark's youth development programme.

These social skills include having the ability to control their fears and stepping out of their comfort zone; displaying a sense of ownership; and being attuned to the emotions of their peers.

The students were recognised during Equal-Ark's gala dinner at Shangri-La Hotel which was attended by Education Minister Ong Ye Kung.

They displayed these social skills during experiential learning and activities with horses at the charity's stables located in the National Equestrian Park off Thomson Road.

Outside the stables, teachers and case workers continue to work with the students to develop action plans for positive behavioural changes.

More than 4,000 students have undergone the youth programme since it began in 2011. It is part of the curriculum for Secondary 2 students at Spectra Secondary School and is offered to Year 1 students at Northlight School.

This year, Equal-Ark introduced two new programmes targeted at families and the elderly struggling with dementia and/or depression.

 
 

Fourteen of these seniors from the Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home and the Ling Kwang Home for Senior Citizens were also acknowledged at last night's dinner for their life-long learning efforts.

Equal-Ark aims to launch a programme for caregivers next year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2018, with the headline 'At-risk youth, special needs students recognised for social skills'. Print Edition | Subscribe