In May 2015, Natasha, Noel, John and Sophia formed Team Youth in Action and took part in the Citi-YMCA Youth for Causes (YFC) project, raising funds for Christian Outreach to the Handicapped (coh.sg). Their mission is to be outstanding in providing acceptance and hope for people with special needs in Singapore. The Youth for Causes project is a community initiative started by Citi and the YMCA of Singapore in 2003 that aims to promote social entrepreneurship and community leadership development among Singapore youths.
Over the course of 5 months, we succeeded in carrying out 3 speech workshops, 2 futsal tournaments and extensive street sales. We raised over $7000, more than double our initial target, of which about $2000 is from our street sales. We are extremely grateful that Zenxin Agri-Organic Food Pte Ltd sponsored food items for our street sales. They generously provided us with food items including their organic mulberry leaf tea, and their best-selling brown rice crackers. We would like to thank Mr Tai for being so kind and big-hearted. Our customers were very supportive and bought a lot of the sponsored food items. Many of them enjoyed the food and asked where they could buy more, and of course, we let them have Zenxin’s address at Blk14 Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre #01-25 Singapore 110014.
We started out unsure, apprehensive and reluctant. However, after 5 months together, we have become better friends and have learnt more about teamwork, planning and the management of events and finances. If we had not participated in this event, we would not have learnt these precious lessons. Here are some thoughts from the team members:
Natasha: “Initially, I did not know what to expect and felt very much out of my comfort zone. After the first few weeks of the project implementation, everything was still fuzzy and some things were not working out as planned. I felt very discouraged and wanted to give up. However, after encouragement from my parents and mentors, I resolved to stay on. I’m glad I did because, throughout the course of the project, I have learnt so much. I have felt empowerment, fulfilment, and satisfaction of successfully planning and running events and contributing to the community.”
Noel: “Participating in this year’s YFC Project has taught me two key lessons—to plan and carry out events and to be aware about social needs. Ever since I can remember, I was always the participant of an event or workshop. Now, through the YFC Project, I have switched roles and learnt how to plan and carry out events. This required much more work that I can imagine but reaped amazing results and gave me an insightful yet challenging experience.”
John: “This project has planted the seed of social responsibility in me as I now realize that I can help make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate. As a result, I will seek to explore more ways in which I can use my talents and abilities to help others. It has also restored my faith in humanity as I realize that there are many other young people in Singapore who wish to make a difference in the lives of others.”
Sophia: “There were miscommunications and at times, I did not know what to do. But the constant support and guidance from our teachers encouraged me to recommit myself to the project. Though I disagreed with my team members’ opinions a number of times, I learnt to compromise and in the end, things were not as bad as I had imagined. Furthermore, I discovered how important it was to record faithfully every expenditure and income, otherwise the funds would not tally and problems would arise. YFC 2015 has trained my perseverance, ability to compromise, and planted a larger sense of responsibility in me.”