Red Cross Youth played key role in keeping S'pore safe during Covid-19: Edwin Tong

A child learning first aid at the launch of Red Cross Junior@Community on Sept 3, 2022. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - Despite the challenges, the Red Cross Youth (RCY) in Singapore stepped up at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and played an important role in keeping Singaporeans safe, said Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong on Saturday.

They helped to distribute meals to front-line workers and cheered on the elderly by writing messages on care packs for them.

Speaking at the group's 70th anniversary celebrations at the Red Cross Campsite in Opera Estate, Mr Tong said: "Our seniors were the ones who suffered a lot because they could not come out during the pandemic as freely as you and I. So those little gestures were very meaningful."

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the RCY members also helped to spread the word on the importance of vaccinations.

"Those efforts are a very, very strong contribution behind our numbers today - one of the highest in the world in terms of vaccination rates," said Mr Tong.

He added that the youth members in primary and secondary schools participate in community service, provide first-aid at school events, and help to raise funds for social causes and social services.

Those in tertiary institutions spearhead ground-up projects, such as the annual Project R.I.C.E+, a collection and distribution drive to provide food and daily essentials to vulnerable families.

Being exposed to this wide array of experiences and causes will keep these youth rooted to the ground and invested in the community, which will help them to develop lifelong values and shape their character and growth, said Mr Tong.

"There's a lot more awareness and the young people today are a lot more invested in their outcomes and their future - they want to play a part in building society for tomorrow.

"I think that is very welcomed, and I think Red Cross' infrastructure, leadership and programmes are very suitable for them," he added.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong said RCY members' gestures were "very meaningful" during the pandemic. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

On Saturday, the RCY also launched the RCY Youth Hub at the campsite and Red Cross Junior @ Community - a junior club for children between five and nine years old.

The club, which is open to the public, will allow the children and their families to experience service learning through monthly activities such as community service, arts and crafts, games and festive celebrations.

Apart from providing a safe space for the youth, the youth hub will also allow them to learn more about the Red Cross' humanitarian initiatives.

Secretary general and chief executive of the Singapore Red Cross, Mr Benjamin William, said the RCY, which has 5,000 members, will continue to be adaptable and has been adjusting its activities to keep up with the times.

He said the RCY will shift the focus of its curriculum activities and programmes to include topics such as climate change, sustainability and mental wellness.

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