Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth whether the Ministry will consider matching Singaporeans senior in age with young Singaporeans in their teens such as to mentor them so that both the elder person and the young person can benefit through a mentor-mentee relationships.
Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth:
- MCCY recognises the importance of mentoring. Youths who receive mentorship are more likely to be active in the community, more resilient when facing setbacks, and have higher levels of self-esteem and self-confidence1. We also recognise that many seniors have the life experience and wisdom that could make them good mentors to youths. Hence, increasing mentoring opportunities, including mentoring of youths by older persons, is one of the key actions we are developing under the SG Youth Action Plan.
- For example, MCCY and the National Youth Council are supporting the Mentoring Alliance, a ground-up initiative comprising 11 youth sector organisations that aims to promote a local mentoring movement and foster positive youth development. Mentoring Alliance has recruited about 200 mentors, including seniors, who mentor youths in areas such as resilience building, pro-social skills and marketplace exposure. We support these efforts through the National Youth Fund.
- As part of the SG Youth Action Plan, we are also partnering with Young NTUC’s Youth Career Network (YCN). Young NTUC’s YCN aims to provide young polytechnic and university graduates with career support and guidance in Singapore, and has recently expanded its focus to include ASEAN. This is an area where the experience of our seniors in ASEAN would benefit a new generation of Singaporeans seeking out opportunities in our region.
- Inter-generational mentoring can also go both ways, where youths aid our seniors in areas where our youth have expertise. For example, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has launched digital experiential learning journeys since 2018, where youths guide seniors to become more digitally ready. During these tours, youth volunteers from Youth Corps Singapore (YCS) personally teach seniors on using e-Payments, banking apps and cyber security tips.
- Beyond these current initiatives, MCCY has funding for good ideas that bring Singaporeans together, such as Our Singapore Fund. We welcome Singaporeans who are interested to promote inter-generational bonding to come forward with their ideas and energy.
1 Insights from a 2014 report titled “The Mentoring Effect: Young People’s Perspectives on the Outcomes and Availability of Mentoring”. The report was commissioned by MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership with support from AT&T, and written by Civic Enterprises in partnership with Hart Research.