Another Week Beyond – 2230

Dear friends,

Youth Day is commemorated on the the first weekend of July, but we got our own little celebration going last Saturday. We kept the ritual alive the past 2 years with an online event, but the young people showed us why some things should not be done virtually. As we prepared to board the bus to a bowling alley, there were cheers for 2 who decided to mark the day in costume.  One was dressed as a dinosaur and another as a minion from the computer-animated media franchise Despicable Me. We did not specify a theme or a dress code, but I guess, we don’t need others to tell us how to have fun and I applaud these 2 for enlivening the day on the get go.

Bowling seemed fun but for a few who kept getting their balls into the gutter, it was quite discouraging and even embarrassing standing next to others who celebrated their strikes and spares. So, it was really heartening to see those with some ability at the game helping them along and their joy upon hitting a few pins shared by all.  Each youth was given 2 games. I to practice and the other to compete but they were not there to beat each other but just to be with each other.

The rest of the day was spent at our premises where food and refreshments prepared by a parent were readily available and stations with different activities were set up. There were stations for craft, video games, movies and board games and the young people were free to choose what they liked.  The craft station was popular as youth put together bracelets and key chains for their family members and friends. It was indeed a novelty drawing a design on a plastic sheet measuring 10 by 8 cm and shrinking it into a 3 by 1 cm key chain by heating it an oven.  However, from the care and love put in, we would say that their enthusiasm was driven by the opportunity to give a loved one a tangible token of appreciation. The ability to give or to express one’s appreciation is an empowering and satisfying privilege that everyone should be able to experience from time to time.

One 18-year-old was churning out blue dolphin key chains productively and when we asked what dolphins meant to her, she told us that it represented her aspirations to get a job that was marine-related. Her love for the sea and all things maritime were sparked by a sailing course we had put her on when she was younger. She recalled that it was such a challenge just staying afloat and at times even bemoaning the bruises suffered and the hard work, but she is now proud that she persevered and has an aspiration.

So, we spent a day hanging out with 37 young people to simply enjoy each other’s company and from the thank you messages we received on our phones after the event, we succeeded in letting them know that they mattered. Perhaps, the ability to genuinely have a good time with each is one way of knowing and conveying if we really matter to each other.

For peace, community, and good company,

Gerard

Youth’s joyous purpose cannot be fulfilled until that day comes. Too slow is our march toward spiritual elevation because we make so little use of youth’s ardour. – Kahlil Gibran

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PAST AWB POSTS

Another Week Beyond 2428 – The Making of a Youth Leader

By: Nina, Community Relations I met Atiqah ten years ago when I was a Community Worker. It was at a photography workshop we had organized for youths. She was a shy, soft-spoken 16-year-old. Her family had only recently moved in, so she didn’t know any other youths in the neighborhood yet. Throughout the few sessions we held, she mostly kept to herself, except when she offered to help me with minor tasks. Despite her discomfort being around others, she always showed up when invited to our programmes. I always admired Atiqah’s quiet determination and was pleased to see her slowly

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Read more >

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by Wilson, Community Worker Grizzly to Teddy During one of our recent learning programmes, one of the kids who attended was an often moody, sometimes truculent 8-year-old.  Let’s call him “Teddy.” Our expectations of Teddy were, from experience, tempered. How well he participated in our activities and interacted with others depended on his disposition from week to week. At this particular session, Teddy was what we had come to describe as “his usual self” – shouting vulgarities and being disruptive. He risked injury by playing with a sliding door, even after being asked by a volunteer to stop. In fact,

Read more >