New 10-week immersion for youth leaders

President Halimah Yacob and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu at the 4th Youth Corps Singapore Leaders Commencement Ceremony on Sept 1, 2018.
President Halimah Yacob and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu at the 4th Youth Corps Singapore Leaders Commencement Ceremony on Sept 1, 2018.ST PHOTO: ZAIHAN MOHAMED YUSOF

Volunteer leader Chua Han Yun could not have gained her knowledge from merely reading a book.

What she learnt while aligning the needs of seniors at Ren Ci Nursing Home and troubled youths from community partner Trybe through a music befriending session was invaluable.

The 24-year-old, who is in her final year at the National Institute of Education, said: "I learnt it was easier to plan than to execute. But when I witnessed both groups communicating and making music together, I felt I had achieved my goals."

Ms Chua is one of 22 participants in a pilot programme run by Youth Corps Singapore (YCS) that was announced yesterday at the 4th YCS Leaders Commencement Ceremony at Gardens by the Bay.

The new 10-week immersion programme took the participants beyond skills training and learning by putting them on the ground in real situations.

From April to June, they learnt about programme planning, design and implementation through full-time stints at social service organisations.

Answering President Halimah Yacob's call for more volunteers to support this year's President's Challenge Volunteer Drive, YCS leaders initiated projects with 12 community partners, helping more than 1,900 beneficiaries and tackling social issues like care for the environment, the elderly and people with special needs.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu said at the event: "The objective is for our Youth Corps aspirants to develop a better understanding of the social sector and to acquire skills in serving the community."

President Halimah, who was the guest of honour, noted in her speech that more young people are volunteering.

A survey by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre found that Singapore's volunteerism rate rose from 18 per cent in 2014 to 35 per cent in 2016.

Madam Halimah said: "We should facilitate a good tripartite volunteering movement between our youths, their employers and the VWOs they serve."

The Sunday Times understands that the National Youth Council and YCS are working to pilot initiatives to create opportunities for young working adults to volunteer through their workplaces.

YCS leader Galen Yeo, 26, a supply chain executive, said: "When you reflect on what you have done and its effect on beneficiaries, that's the spark to keep you coming back for more."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 02, 2018, with the headline 'New 10-week immersion for youth leaders'. Print Edition | Subscribe