“I engage with a lot of underprivileged youths as part of my work at Act Plus. Our mission is to empower young people from the grassroots community through animation, game design and media education. Our students often have very challenging personal circumstances - broken families, issues at school and poor living conditions. I can relate as I grew up in a grassroots family myself; I lived away from my father as a kid and was raised by my grandparents. I didn’t go to a very good school and because of limited guidance and support during teenage years, many of my peers got involved in drugs, theft and were led astray. Many are still dealing with the consequences today. We cannot choose where we come from or what we are born into, but we can choose how we live our lives; and I think having a guiding hand and supportive community makes a huge difference. That’s why Act Plus is not just about the technical skills, it’s really about forming friendships, building a community and providing a space for isolated youths to feel less lonely. It’s easy to judge or look down on others, but compassion is not sympathy - it’s about being equals with someone and letting go of our ego to truly understand how they feel and how we can help.”
“I’ve been working at Act Plus for two years and realise that I really enjoy engaging with young people. I’m 25 years old myself so I guess that helps! I love being able to use my experiences to help them through challenges. Students will reach out to me even outside of class to share their feelings and worries. I think if some of my friends from school had someone to speak with and share their load, they would probably not have gone down the paths that they did. Growing up, life was not so easy. My family had to get government subsidies and I remember feeling really ashamed about that. I don’t feel embarrassed about it anymore, because it’s just part of my past and made me who I am today. When I was in secondary school, I did some summer classes at a community centre; I would hang out there, chit chat and make new friends. I felt safe and happy there; and that’s a feeling that I want to recreate for our students as well. This work has also been a journey of self-discovery; I find a lot of satisfaction in being able to support young people by offering them a helping hand. I also believe that no matter how tough a situation, there must be a way forward!”
“We also organise sports outings and hikes with our students so that they can build bonds and make friends outside of class. I was lucky to have had a good friend in school who was kind, compassionate and a great listener. We had opposite personalities - I’m very active, outgoing and outdoorsy; she was introverted and liked to read and watch movies at home. Best friends don’t have to be mirror versions of each other, the most important thing is having the ability to listen and being there for the other person when they most need it. To find balance, I practise yoga and also do a lot of baking. The process of making bread is so therapeutic, you can’t rush things and it allows me to practise being more mindful. I would say that I am a hopeful and positive person. I’ve seen lots of heartbreaking situations both in my own life and through work, but instead of feeling sad and helpless I live by this motto - ‘worry is the worst use of imagination.’. With the right support and a little bit of faith, it will all work out.”
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