Four years ago, Audric Ping's mother died of cancer. A year later, his father who was a hawker, lost his job and has been unemployed since.
Despite these odds, the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) student - a member of the national karate team - reaches out to his schoolmates and gets them to volunteer with the elderly and intellectually disabled.
He also coaches karate for free at schools and teaches women self-defence skills at the Singapore Karate-Do Federation.
Yesterday, the 18-year-old, who studies semiconductor technology at ITE College Central, was lauded for his resilience and drive and awarded the inaugural National Young Leader Award.
The award, given out by youth leadership organisation Halogen Foundation Singapore, recognises those aged 15 to 19 who show outstanding character and leadership, and are committed to making a difference in their communities. It was presented at Halogen's 10th anniversary fund-raising gala dinner at Conrad Centennial Singapore hotel.
Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong, the guest of honour, said: "One important thing that we hope our young people will spend time thinking about is what they can do to build a better and stronger Singapore."
Audric was top among 49 applicants, who nominated themselves. He was picked by judges, including MP Baey Yam Keng, who chairs the Government Parliamentary Committee for Culture, Community and Youth, and Straits Times senior education correspondent Sandra Davie.
As the winner, he will attend the National Young Leaders' Day in Australia next March and receive an internship at Halogen.
For this, he has his ITE lecturer Kenny Tan to thank.
Said Audric: "On my first day of school, I was very down. But when my lecturer told us he was also from ITE and that we should not limit ourselves, I felt that I should set goals and not give up."
LIM YI HAN