In 2012, *Jane was running around with undesirable peer groups and had a poor relationship with her mother. She came from an unstable background as her parents were divorced and she was staying in a one-room rental flat with her mother and maternal grandmother. Her mother had to take on two jobs to make ends meet.
A youth worker engaged with Jane and worked with her for two years by initially introducing her to YouthReach’s dance programme. Jane got to know a group of other girls of similar backgrounds who were also searching for direction in their lives. On a weekly basis, these girls would meet at the YouthReach Centre and learnt dance from a volunteer dance instructor.
Over time, the girls formed a close bond and started to support one another. They discussed their struggles during group sharing sessions and celebrated their successes through their dance performances. As a result, their self-esteem and confidence grew as they began to feel good about themselves. Eventually all the girls moved on to continue with their tertiary education.
Jane, who will turn 18 in November this year, has done very well. Accepting the help provided by volunteer tutors, she prepared for the ‘O’ levels and successfully secured a place in a polytechnic. Now, a second-year student in a polytechnic, Jane is a beneficiary of a corporate sponsorship which supports her education expenses.
The relationship between Jane and her mother has also improved as they benefitted from the individual and family counselling sessions offered to them. YouthReach’s case worker has assisted them to apply for financial assistance from various community resources and helped her mother to budget and manage their expenses better.
It is tough to be a youth today as they deal with a host of struggles. But with help, these youths will be able to find their way and achieve their goals.
For more than 70 years, Boys’ Town has been caring for children and youth in need. YouthReach, started in 2010, serves youth, both boys and girls, who have fallen through the cracks. The youth outreach centre caters to over 400 at-risk youth between the ages of 10 to 24 in Tampines and Toa Payoh. Its motto is that no one should be left behind, staying true to the Montfortian conviction that “those whom the world rejects must move you the most”.
The team engages youth through street outreach, interest-based programmes and referrals for counselling and case management. www.boystown.org.sg