Reflection on NextGen Youth Seminar
On 22 November 2015, I attended the NextGen Youth Seminar at Chung Cheng High School (Main). The seminar aims to create public awareness of the importance of community service and stimulate interest among youths to serve as volunteers.
After arriving at CCHS, we were separated into small groups to visit Dakota Crescent and Geylang. My group went to Dakota Crescent to raise awareness about the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flats, which will be demolished this year for future developments. As such, many memories of the elderly and part of our heritage will be lost. Furthermore, future social problems the elderly might face – like the lack of sense of belonging and bonding – when they move into the newly built HDB flats, may surface.
We also visited Tung Ling Community Services which helps to provide care, assistance and entertainment to the elderly living there. Many other activities ensued – a trip to the Kallang estate wet market and NTUC to contrast their prices, atmosphere, and reflect on the possibility of declining wet markets in the future; and a visit to the Kallang River where we reflected on how we can conserve our limited supply of water and the importance of keeping the river clean. At the same time, we took pictures of the Dakota Crescent to be posted on Instagram to raise awareness for that area.
During the fishbowl conversation we had after our return, we shared with each other a cause we were interested to help out in, based on what we learnt from the learning journey, and discussed the reasons and solutions to our cause.
Mr Seah Kian Peng, our guest speaker, stressed the importance of youth volunteers to improve their community as they are the future leaders of Singapore and shared on how youths can contribute to their community – through VIAs in school, helping in GRCs as youth volunteers and more – and addressed issues on how the government can support the elderly in Dakota Crescent and the future of Singapore.
That was followed by World Cafe activity, where we brainstormed on actual solutions in detail, including timeline, respective roles, logistical needs and more.
Eventually, my group decided to organize a picnic and party session at Tung Ling Community Services to allow the youth volunteers to interact with the elderly to bring back the Kampong spirit and let youths understand that interactions with the elderly can be fun and enriching. We organised Kampong games, such as chapteh, congkak and 5 stones for the elderly to play with the youth volunteers. We also prepared light snacks like sandwiches and nuggets for the elderly and had a bingo and lucky draw session where we gave out prizes sponsored by Tung Ling. Finally, we headed over to Kallang Estate Food Centre for dinner catered by Tung Ling, where we served the elderly their dinner.
Overall, this seminar has taught me how youths can contribute to society by organising activities to benefit the community and it only takes a small effort by everybody to make a significant difference to the community. Through the fun and games with the elderly, I learnt that simple activities can brighten up our seniors’ days and I felt it was very meaningful to spend time with them.
Sec 4E3 2016