General News

Hwa Chong Students Awarded 2015 YFC Most Outstanding Team Award

06 Nov 2015

Hwa Chong’s Project Hiraeth has been named as the Most Outstanding Team (Category A: Secondary) in the Citi-YMCA Youth for Causes 2015.

The Citi-YMCA Youth For Causes (YFC) is a community initiative started by Citi and the YMCA of Singapore in 2003 to promote social entrepreneurship and community leadership development among Singapore youths. Teams are provided with seed funding by Citi Foundation, given appropriate training, and also mentored by volunteers before executing self-initiated projects to raise public awareness, funds, and mobilize volunteers for Voluntary Welfare Organizations (VWOs) of their choice. Other than developing values such as harmony, respect, and responsibility, the YFC programme empowers participants to be the masters of their own project, working closely with VWOs in Singapore, and gaining first-hand experience in organizing events to champion a social cause. They also get to learn lessons outside of the classrooms to spark their entrepreneurial spirit, and be developed into socially responsible community leaders.

Project Hiraeth’s aim is to raise funds and awareness for the Yellow Ribbon Fund and the problems that ex-offenders face in their day-to-day lives. Given that the notion of helping ex-offenders is often regarded as controversial, one unique aspect of the project, as well as its most important, is to encourage the general public to exercise greater acceptance and understanding of ex-offenders by diminishing the social stigma imposed on them. Ultimately, the project aims to create a more inclusive and forgiving society in Singapore.

Through initiatives such as street sales, a fundraising concert, street-based, school-based, and social media publicity, the project raised more than $55 000 for the Yellow Ribbon Fund, and reached out to an estimated 84 000 people. The street sales involved students from more than 10 schools, while the concert featured student performers as well as a band comprising ex-offenders.

Through these fundraising and publicity efforts, the project aims to convey the message that ex-offenders deserve a second chance because they have already received their due punishment in prison, and can continue to contribute to society.

“I think this project has really exposed us to issues within our community which we may have overlooked if not for this experience. It is really heartening to see that the younger generation is generally receptive of the notion of giving ex-offenders a second chance to contribute to our shared society. We would like to thank the school for its support, our mentors for their advice, and of course our team of very dedicated volunteers for their help. Without their support, this project would never have come so far.”

- Lui Kai Siang, Core Team member of Project Hiraeth

The winning team consisting of Kai Siang, Heer Ee, Sarah, and Cathy.

The project is proposed and led by Lui Kai Siang from 4S1 and Koh Heer Ee from 4S2, along with Sarah Tang and Cathy Chen from Nanyang Girls' High School. The Organising Team which assisted us in organising our events comprises students from various schools and the students from HCI include Louis Chew Yue Pin (4S3), Song Tianyi (4S1), Barry Lee Wen Hao (4H1), Tan Wei Heng (3S3), Auyok Ryan (4I1), So Wei Zheng (4O2), Tan Jian Yan (4O1), Choo Ying Jie (4I1), Nicholas Lim Jing Wei (4S1), Lee Yat Bun (4P2) and Rio Tang (4I1).

Congratulations to the team and their mentors, Mr Tan Chin Leong Vincent (Senior Consultant/ Community Projects) and Mr Low Swee Xiang (Education Consultant/Student Development), for this commendable achievement. We hope that this will inspire more teams from Hwa Chong to participate in the YFC in future.

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