Trio want to help youth at risk through mentorship, short films

Three young people hope their ideas can help improve the amount of support available for youth at risk and prevent re-offending.

Ms Celeste Tang, 22, Ms Amanda Ong, 24, and Mr Frederick Lim, 28, met through the Youth Action Challenge, a programme organised by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and the National Youth Council under the SG Youth Action Plan. They will join more than 40 groups of young people to pitch ideas about creating change in Singapore.

The 12 best teams will then attend the Youth Action Challenge Summit in April to pitch their ideas to 4G leaders, industry experts and key youth leaders in the hope of receiving up to $50,000 each in grants to put their plans into action.

Ms Tang is a sports science and management student minoring in youth work and guidance at Nanyang Technological University while Ms Ong is a sociology graduate from the National University of Singapore and Mr Lim is an infocomms student at the Institute of Technical Education College Central.

They hope to create a movie and short films to help Singaporeans understand youth at risk. The trio also want to start a mentorship and befriender programme for these young people.

"We realised that Singaporeans really lack a general understanding of and empathy towards this group of people," said Ms Ong.

The team members pitched their ideas to judges at Temasek Shophouse in Dhoby Ghaut yesterday.

Topics other groups addressed included empowering people with disabilities, providing a safe space to discuss race and religious issues, and introducing art therapy to maintain mental wellness.

Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu also announced the Youth Action Challenge at the National Youth Council's youth engagement session at Raffles City Convention Centre yesterday.

She said she had encountered many Singaporeans who have made choices that made her optimistic about the country.

Ms Fu cited several examples, such as participants of the Young Leaders' Programme at the International Conference on Cohesive Societies last year.


People of different races, religions and organisational backgrounds exchanged notes on building social cohesion in their respective fields, and many continued to do so after the conference, while some have started collaborative projects, she noted.

"When I reflect on their achievement, I am convinced that the Government's role is not just about law and order. It must do more to empower more people to be the positive social change they want to see."

Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and for Culture, Community and Youth, spoke after the engagement session about being a judge for a Youth Action Challenge pitch session, where she heard ideas from 13 teams, including that of Ms Tang, Ms Ong and Mr Lim.

"The youth are very observant, they are able to point out policy gaps or somewhere where a public service may not meet all the intended beneficiaries," said Ms Sim.

"There are also some who point out that there are perhaps some shortcomings in communications, where sometimes good ideas, good schemes... are just quite not able to connect with the people they're designed to help."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 19, 2020, with the headline 'Trio want to help youth at risk through mentorship, short films'. Subscribe