Encouraging youths to make an impact on the community
Speech by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, at the People’s Association Youth Movement Awards and Central Youth Council Installation Ceremonies
12 May 2018
Wow, the energy here is amazing! Good evening everyone! It gives me great pleasure to join you this evening. Through PAYM’s programmes, you have led projects that benefitted residents and made their lives better. Through these experiences, you have become responsible and compassionate citizens, and role models for other Singaporeans. A very big thank you to each and every one of you!
Youths play an important role in serving the community
Through our surveys and engagement, we know many of you are deeply concerned about issues like social divides, environmental sustainability, and caring for vulnerable communities. These are issues of national importance, and I am glad that many of you are taking action, and making a difference to the causes you care about. Today, we recognise those among you who are making a lasting change in the community. The award winners exemplify the values of PAYM youth: Compassion, Active Citizenry, Respect and Resilience.
Take for example, Cecilia, one of the five recipients of the Best Newcomer Award. In her university days, Cecilia was assisted by financial assistance and bursaries. She wanted to give back, and started her volunteering career with Nanyang CC Youth Executive Committee (YEC).
Last year, her team collaborated with a group of students from River Valley High School to organise a workshop for youths with intellectual disabilities to experience different work options. Participants role-played as employees in various occupations, and earned credits to be later spent at a mock gift shop. Through this process, the participants picked up social and financial literacy skills to prepare them for the working world.
Yi Long and Kenneth are among the 15 youths who received the Meritorious Youth Award earlier. Both Yi Long and Kenneth have been volunteering for more than a decade. Through the “Day of Giving” series, Yi Long, in Kolam Ayer CC YEC, organised food ration distributions and movie screenings for the disadvantaged. Last year, Day of Giving mobilised 200 student-volunteers to make 8,000 cupcakes for old folks’ homes island-wide.
Kenneth, in Kampong Chai Chee YEC, championed Project K.ANto collect donated canned food for distribution to residents of lower-income households. Since 2014, Project K.AN has benefitted more than 1,000 households with over 61,000 cans of food. Over the years, Kenneth has also contributed generously to many other youth initiatives in the YEC, and groomed numerous batches of youth leaders.
I would like to commend the 13 Outstanding Project Award winners as well. All of you are growing SG Cares – a national movement to inspire Singaporeans in ensuring that no one is left behind. My congratulations to Cecilia, Yi Long and Kenneth for being exemplary youth volunteers! Can we have them stand? I would also like to invite their teams to stand along with them. And I would also like to invite all the award winners, all the YECs who have won awards – please stand, be acknowledged and congratulated! Thank you all. You are indeed the stars for today.
Encouraging youths to voice their opinions and shape Singapore’s future together
At the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), we want to help you make an impact on society. We will provide you with more opportunities and platforms to voice your opinions, and work with you to find solutions. We have two key initiatives on this front: the newly-launched Youth Conversations, and the PAYM Policy Forum Series and dialogues.
We initiated Youth Conversations after our past engagement informed us that our youths feel an increasing sense of ownership over Singapore’s future, and want their views to be heard. Through Youth Conversations, you will also be able to listen to people from diverse backgrounds, negotiate differences, and co-create solutions.
Youth Conversations was launched at the recent Singapore Youth Conference, co-organised by the PAYM and the National Youth Council. Over 150 youths came together to share their perspectives on topics ranging from climate change, continuous learning, as well as racial and religious issues. We are working to continue conversations on these topics, building on the perspectives and ideas shared at the Singapore Youth Conference.
In addition to Youth Conversations, you can also participate in the PAYM Policy Forum Series, which are hosted by Grassroots Advisers. Since 2006, over 15,000 youths have participated in the Series, discussing social issues and national policies.
I encourage all of you to find out more about Youth Conversations and the PAYM Policy Forum Series. Your participation will help MCCY and other policy-makers understand your concerns, co-create better programmes for the community with you, and shape the future of Singapore together.
Let me congratulate all award winners once again. Also, special thanks to your families, friends and mentors for supporting you in your community service journey. Since it is Mother’s Day tomorrow, I’m sure there are some mothers amongst us sitting in the audience. Can we also ask the mothers to stand? I wish every mother here a Happy Mother’s Day! Thank you. To all of you here, I know that you have given a lot of your time to the community, but remember when you go back this evening, don’t forget to wish your mother a Happy Mother’s Day.
I would just like to say that what you are doing is most meaningful. We appreciate your contribution, your active participation, and your genuine care and concern for the people and the less fortunate. There’s only this much that grants and assistance schemes can do. That last mile, that last touch, the hand that’s going to hold the elderly, to guide the persons with disabilities, has to be a warm pair of hands. It cannot be a Government policy or act. That warm pair of hands means so much to the people on the ground. And it’s with your leadership, your ability to galvanise the ground that we are able to reach the less abled, the less fortunate, and the persons with disabilities. So congratulations to all of you, and our deepest gratitude on behalf of the community that you serve, all the beneficiaries that you serve. Thank you so much for your sacrifice and your time, thank you so much for your creativity, thank you for your attitude. Thank you YECs!