Youth volunteers channel their energy into a home makeover for an underprivileged family.
Contributed By Jamie Koh
Thanks to a joint project between the People Of Destiny youth centre and Glenn Lim Consultancy, an agency which specializes in youth programs, Mrs. Ithnin and her family celebrated their Hari Raya in style this year. Through the Extreme Makeover Home Edition event, nine student volunteers came together in their overalls to give her house a new paint job on Sep. 2.
Turning up at the family’s home in Tampines around noon time, 15-year-old student in-charge Lee Jiacai briefed them on the work that would be carried out. The youths then proceeded to move the furniture around in preparation for the painting works, and divided themselves into three teams to paint the living room, kitchen and the toilet.
Although it was the first time the young volunteers had worked on a project such as this, they set about their task for the day like seasoned workers, under the guidance of a professional painter from social enterprise The New Charis Mission, who had volunteered to coach them. The atmosphere was lively as the volunteers cheerfully went about their work, excited to put their newly acquired skills to use.
After completing the paint job, the youths also helped to clean up the house. The whole task was completed in five and a half hours. It was time well-spent as Ithnin commented with a big smile, “The work done is very good, and the students are very friendly.” Going a step further, the volunteers bought a meal of nasi padang for the family to break fast with that day.
|PHOTOS COURTESY OF POD
The change at the end of the day was not only seen within the walls of the house. The students acquired a greater sense of social awareness by stepping into the world of those less privileged, and were grateful for the chance to serve and be empowered to make a change in the lives of others.
POD program executive Alvin Low commented that through meaningful projects such as this, the youth volunteers are able to make a difference in the community one family at a time, and in doing so, catch a vision and a sense of purpose larger than themselves.
Ithnin and her family were selected for this project through Ms. Irene Ng, Member of Parliament for the Tampines GRC and writer-in-residence for the Institute of South-East Asian Studies, who met them during one of her walk-about sessions. Upon seeing the results of the project, Ng commented that she was very proud of the youth volunteers and gave a thumbs-up, as it was an example of the National Pledge put into action—a community reaching out to each other regardless of race, language or religion.
POD is a youth center formed by the City Harvest Community Services Association in 2007 in collaboration with Tampines Changkat Citizen’s Consultative Committee and the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports. With a mission to tackle youth-related issues while inspiring in youth-at-risk a passion for purposeful living, POD provides holistic youth services for residents of the Tampines GRC through its various workshops, programs and activities.