About 50 teens enjoyed free haircuts at Bedok’s T-Net Club before school reopened today.
Just before school reopened today after a month-long vacation, about 50 teenagers thronged the Teens Network Club at Bedok to get a free haircut last Friday afternoon.
Some waited in the queue as five hairstylists snipped and shaved away with deft, expert moves. Others killed time chatting with their friends or playing at the ping pong and pool tables outside as they awaited their turns, oblivious to the mid-day heat.
The free-for-all cut was the brainchild of Elijah Ted Ng, a 17-year-old volunteer with T-Net Club.
“I wanted to help the kids look their best when they go back to school,” Ng explained. “I don’t like having a bad haircut myself, so I feel that maybe all kids are the same. Some of them may not have gotten a haircut, and some maybe just had a trim at home. But everyone deserves to look good and feel good about themselves.”
The hairstylists, who work on a freelance basis, came on board after Ng pitched the idea to them. Herein lies a oft-overlooked fact: when you have a vision to do good, there are usually more people willing to help than you might expect.
Of course, it was not an overnight achievement. Ng got involved in social volunteerism at age 12 packing shoppers’ purchases for a social enterprise market at VivoCity. He then dabbled in busking and selling art to raise funds for charity causes he identified with, along the way learning to pitch ideas and organize events.
The T-Net Club is one of eight branches located at various neighborhoods islandwide. Formed in 2002 as part of the People’s Association network, the Club aims to build up teens aged 11 to 16 in non-academic areas such as community service, performing arts, sports and adventure.
Within a nurturing environment, youth leaders and professionals from other organizations mentor and guide their young charges in developing confidence and relevant life skills.
“One of our visions is to groom youth volunteers to pursue their passion by providing a platform for them, be it in social volunteerism, sports or the arts. We don’t just want to organize events, but we want to see the youth themselves contribute and give back, like what Elijah has done—so it’s from the youth, for the youth,” said T-Net Club chairman Lee Hong Chuang.
“I stay nearby, so I come down with my brother to mix around; any event, I’ll just come and join,” said Primary 6 student Muhd. Hilmi bin Muhd, who enjoys playing ping pong and computer games at the club. “When my mentors told me there was a free haircut, I said okay and came.”
Asked if he liked his new haircut, he grinned and replied, “Yes.”