1) Why did you choose to work with at-risk youths?
I believe that all young people have a huge potential to achieve great things in their lives if given the right guidance and enough access and exposure to opportunities. I would like to help at-risk youths bridge the achievement gap by linking them to the appropriate resources/opportunities. They may not have had the chances to experience either due to a lack of income or challenging family circumstances. Hence, I feel that my work enables me to bridge the gap and in turn achieve their full potential and even become contributors to society.
2) From your experience in working in the social service sector, what has been your most memorable experience?
There have been many highlights in my course of work either through working directly with clients of various age groups or in management. It is difficult to pinpoint what is most memorable for me given that all these areas give rise to great memories and learnings.
If there is one memorable experience that I really need to highlight, it would be when I was a young social worker (about 3 years into the job). I was assigned a case to work with a client who is blind, mute and deaf with a strained relationship with his family members. It was a true test of creativity in terms of engagement and also persistence in working with the client to see hope in his situation. The client experienced financial difficulties and eventually we managed to relocate him to rental housing and applied regular meal support for him. I am heartened because his basic needs are all taken care of.
3) What would you say has been your greatest struggle and how did you overcome it?
It would be seeing various needs and social issues on the ground and yet being unable to intervene due to a lack of resources (funds, manpower, etc) and simply because the time is just not ripe. The way to overcome this is to point the client/issue to similar resources provided by other agencies and recognise the fact that I might not be able to intervene in all issues and have the faith that there are others who are able to provide the service.
I comfort myself knowing that if I have spoken up about the issue and provided feedback to appropriate channels, it would be addressed eventually, even though it might not be now.
Instead, I will do my best for the situation with whatever resources that I have at my disposal and influence the necessary stakeholders within my sphere.
4) Why do you think it is important to go beyond to help people?
Human beings live and die on emotions. If we go the extra mile and treat people with sincerity, people can feel it and will want to change knowing that there are people who care for them and do not give up on them. Ultimately, it is about the human to human touch.
5) What is something you would say to someone who is struggling right now?
Never give up and persevere till the end. You will never know the outcome unless you go to the end.
(even though things might not look bright for the person right now; but if they persevere and continue to pursue their dreams/move in the right direction, they will see success)
6) What do you think has been the driving force behind your passion in helping youths?
It is the belief that the adolescent period (10-21 years old) is in a very important stage of their lives. Their brains are highly moldable and they absorb things like a sponge. Whatever that they do now will have an impact on their lives when they are in their 20s, which will have a domino effect on their 30s and 40s, etc. Thus, it is with this sense of purpose and a hope that I can make a difference in changing the life trajectories of the young people that drives me and keeps me going whatever the circumstances.
7) What does thriving mean to you?
It means that we derive purpose and meaning in whatever that we do. In doing so, we can feel joy and a sense of achievement even though there may be ups and downs in any season of life that we are in. This applies to work or personal life.