Freshies lend a helping hand

Freshies lend a helping hand

Instead of just playing games during their polytechnic orientation, these students are giving back to the community.

On Wednesday, for the first time, freshmen from Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences carried out social work around Singapore.

As part of Project Cheer, about 40 Ngee Ann Polytechnic students visited Lions Befrienders Ghim Moh Senior Activity Centre and St Luke’s Eldercare Clementi Centre.

The project was started by the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation (TCTF) in 2008 with the objective of bringing joy to the lives of the underprivileged and the needy elderly.

The students taught the elderly folks how to sculpt balloons and sang along with them.

Said Ms Yap Su-Yin, 37, chief executive officer of TCTF: “As they begin a new chapter of their academic life, they are here today to give back to the community.”

Some of the students were surprised by their unique orientation experience.

Said freshman Daren Lua, 17, who is pursuing a diploma in child psychology and early education: “I expected a field trip like this during the course, but not during orientation.

“I thought we would have to learn more before having any real experiences.”

To prepare, the students learned how to sculpt balloons in a 1½ course on Tuesday.

Wednesday was the third day of the four-day orientation camp. Students found it to be a rewarding experience.

Said Ms Jenny Ting, 36, one of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences’s lecturers: “Part of the core values of the entire school is serving the community and social responsibility.

Challenges

Said freshman Jolene Zheng, 16: “This is more enlightening and we get to give back to society, which is part of what we will learn as students.”

As this was a new experience for most students, there were some challenges.

Said Year One student Jim Tong, 17:” I didn’t know how to talk to them (the elderly) at first, but once they started to tell me their stories, I got to know them better and it became easier.”

It wasn’t just the students who benefited from the experience.

Said retiree Noami Kanapathy, 67: “Although I may be old, I feel very young today and am very happy they came.”

More than 400 other students were on the streets at Dhoby Ghaut and Orchard Road, selling balloon sculptures, starting from $2.

The sale raised about $8,000 for Beyond Social Services, which seeks to curb delinquency among disadvantaged young people and their families.

Said Miss Rachel Huang, 18, an orientation student leader: “It is not only to spread awareness of the problem (of youth delinquency) to the public but also to allow them (the freshman) to step out of their comfort zone.

“They may face rejection (when selling the sculptures), but it trains them to be confident,” she said.

Source: The New Paper