Youth recognised for contributions to community

Mr Tan (far left) and Mr Lim were among those who received the NYAA Gold Award yesterday.
Mr Tan (left) and Mr Lim were among those who received the NYAA Gold Award yesterday.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Student Joel Lim, 19, had just returned from a two-week voluntary stint at a free clinic in Bandipur, Nepal, last March when the Nepal earthquake struck in April.

"When we came back (to Singapore), the doctor told us that the place we had been working at was quite badly affected and two schools were destroyed so they needed money to help to rebuild," he said.

Together with classmates from Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), he raised $10,000 and approached the Lee Foundation, which donated $50,000.

The money was used to rebuild the two schools.

Yesterday, Mr Lim, now studying at the National University of Singapore Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, received the National Youth Achievement Award (NYAA) Gold Award for his efforts.

The award recognises youth community leaders who have satisfied the following requirements - they must have done volunteer work, participated in local and overseas expeditions, learnt a new skill, participated in sports, as well as initiated community-based projects.

Participants are given at least 11/2 years to complete these tasks and have to complete the requirements by age 25.

Yesterday, 153 awardees, including Mr Lim, received their NYAA Gold Awards from President Tony Tan Keng Yam at the Tay Eng Soon Convention Centre at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) headquarters. All in, a total of 258 NYAA Gold Awards were given out this year.

"The NYAA programme gives our young people valuable exposure beyond the classroom walls, allowing them to develop crucial life skills that help them excel as individuals and as community leaders," said Minister of State for Education and Communications and Information Janil Puthucheary at the event.

Another awardee Bryan Tan, 19, who helped initiate cleaning projects, said: "I always believe in paying it forward - doing community service can help to change someone's life and the person may be inspired to help someone else in the future."

The former ITE College East student had to juggle his studies, duties as student council president and part-time work at Universal Studios.

He is now studying chemical engineering at Singapore Polytechnic.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2016, with the headline 'Youth recognised for contributions to community'. Print Edition | Subscribe