When we tell our youth members that they are responsible for creating the neighbourhood that they wish to live in, it generates some excitement among them but often when it is time to do the work, not many show up. However, this week 15 youth in Ghim Moh showed up for a neighbourhood dream-building session. We were pleased and gathered that it was probably because the invitation was made by a parent who has been most concerned with their well-being the past few months. Moreover, this mother together with some other neighbours had prepared a meal of chicken rice noodles with freshly cut watermelon for desert which was yet another gesture of care that the youth recognised.
The dream building process began by asking the youth to envision a personal dream before moving on to one for their neighbourhood. Youth were given a piece of paper and the instructions, “draw what you want your life to look like in 5 years’ time. Think about home, family, friendships and jobs.” In a rather shaky voice, one girl courageously shared, “In 5 years’ time, I want my father to stop taking drugs, come back to our family and to live together with my mother and siblings happily.” It was not just a dream, but a heartfelt wish then opened the door to a safe space for vulnerability which revelled that many dreamed of family stability and bliss.
These youth then envisioned a neighbourhood that was kind and friendly where there was no bullying of any sort and one where youth who were hurting did not resort to self-harming behaviours. They also wanted their sepak-takraw team to win a competition and for all youth residing in their neighbourhood to complete their education achieving a Certification from the Institute of Technical Education. at the very least.
To move toward their shared dream, the youth listed the actions or practices they would commit too. For a kinder and friendlier neighbourhood, they would remind each other to greet neighbours cheerfully and to assist their older neighbours with their grocery bags or other items they were carrying. For a more stable family, they committed to doing one family activity every fortnight. Suggestions for such activities included playing a board game, going for a walk together and preparing a meal.
The plans appeared to be shaping up and the youth will reconvene in a couple of weeks to stay the course for creating the dream neighbourhood that they would like to live in.
Enjoy your weekend.
A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work. – Colin Powell