Speech by Mr Ng Chee Meng, Minister for Education (Schools) at the Citi-YMCA Youth for Causes 2016 Awards Celebration

Published Date: 15 November 2016 12:00 AM

News Speeches

1. I am pleased to join you this evening for the Citi-YMCA Youth For Causes (YFC) Awards Celebration. Today, we celebrate the achievements and recognise the contributions of the youths and volunteers who participated in this year’s YFC.

2. Over the last 14 years, Citi has committed over S$13.7 million in Singapore through its financial education programmes to reach out to all segments of our community. Aside from funding charitable causes, Citi has also walked the talk, being involved in direct community service work.

3. This evening is a celebration of Citi Singapore and YMCA of Singapore’s commitment to empower and develop our youths to be concerned citizens and active contributors to society through the YFC. I would like to commend Citi and YMCA for their dedication and partnership in growing YFC year after year, involving our youths in charitable deeds and building a more caring society.

Achievements of the YFC Participants

4. By participating in YFC, youths are exposed to putting values that they have learned into action, such as the commitment to follow through a project, compassion for the less-privileged and the act of paying it forward.

5. For our 400 youths in the 100 participating teams this year, I would like to commend you for your selfless sacrifice of time and energy spent in volunteering. Together with the guidance of your volunteer mentors, I hope this experience has been an enriching and memorable one. I believe you have learnt much through working as a team to devise and implement creative solutions to increase public awareness and raise funds for the social causes that you are passionate about. These are truly values-in-action, and I congratulate all of you on your great effort and achievements.

6. One of the YFC groups this year is “Faith in Humanity Restored”, which received four YFC awards - the YFC Distinction, Best Fundraiser, Best Fund Management and Entrepreneurship Awards. This is the third edition of their team comprising students from Hwa Chong Institution with their team leader, Emil, leading the team again, even as he serves his National Service this year. Supporting the Singapore Environment Council, the team wanted to create a greener and more sustainable country.

7. The team conducted workshops on environmental awareness at over 10 pre-schools during Earth Week and sold plants that help to improve air quality. This was in line with their project motto: “Awareness doesn’t reduce pollution… but action does.”

8. Their project reached out to more than 300,000 people and raised over $76,000 with the help of over 1,000 volunteers from various schools.

9. Another team is Team Pawsitive, who wanted to raise awareness of animal cruelty by supporting the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). The team, comprising four Dunman High School students, was featured in the Straits Times for designing and organising an Escape Room game activity to bring across the message of animal abuse. During the event, participants took on roles of animals in captivity, which allowed them to better empathise what it feels like to be trapped, abused and helpless. This is a great example of innovation.

Support for VWOs

10. This year, I am heartened to note that the YFC raised more than $800,000 for 46 VWOs through the combined effort of the participants, their volunteer mentors and their volunteers. With the support of 26 partner schools, over 3,000 volunteers from all walks of life participated in the programme. This achievement is remarkable, considering that many of these youth participants were embarking on their self-initiated projects for the first time.

11. Of the 46 VWOs participating in the YFC this year, 9 of them are beneficiaries of the President’s Challenge, and the 16 YFC teams supporting these 9 VWOs have also done well in rallying over S$100,000 of donations to the President’s Challenge for these VWOs.

12. All of this would not be possible without the volunteers. You are at the core of the YFC, and each of you has played significant roles to contribute to its success. Projects would have remained as ideas without the active support of the dedicated team volunteers – from volunteer mentors, mentor support group, training facilitators, staff from VWOs and schools, panel judges, the YFC Alumni and YFC committees.

13. I am confident that the YFC will continue to play an important role in developing our youth into individuals who will positively impact the lives of others. My hope is that everyone will continue to be actively involved and that today will be the start of inspiring many others who will follow in your footsteps.

14. Thank you and I wish you an enjoyable evening.

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