METHODIST WELFARE SERVICES (MWS) has launched a youth programme with the goal of raising up the next generation of youths who will give back to society.
The programme was launched at a reunion event for all Trackers who had done internships with MWS in the last three years. Trackers are youths who participate in a threemonth programme organised annually by the Trinity Annual Conference Board of Youth Ministry, which ends with a social concerns segment where some youths are assigned internships at MWS.
The reunion lunch, organised to show appreciation for the youths’ contributions and to encourage them to continue to volunteer, was held late last year at Sophia Blackmore Hall at the Methodist Centre. The Trackers had the opportunity to catch up with each other and with the heads of the centres where they had completed internships. They were also invited to join MWS in continuing to reach out to the needy.
Mr Matthew Han, who chaired the youth organising committee for a runathon held in August 2012 to raise funds for MWS, shared his experiences and exhorted the youths not to fear failure or their lack of experience. Raising $50,000 was an ambitious target for his team, made up of Chinese Annual Conference youths still studying or freshly graduated, but they achieved it when they pulled together as a team, he said.
He reminded the Trackers not to lose sight of the reason why they served in social concerns. While fund-raising was the main objective for the runathon, he did not want his team to have the attitude that giving money is the solution. Thus, the committee members and participants made trips to MWS centres to make direct contact with the poor and needy.
Mr Han’s sharing was particularly noteworthy to Mr John Leo Caines. The 22-year-old political science student from the National University of Singapore said he was interested in how an everyday activity like running could be co-opted for social concerns. He added that the event was a good chance to catch up with the other Trackers from his batch of 2011.
MWS Board member Mr Albert Lim impressed upon the youths the impact they can have and challenged them to give to their community, reminding them that social holiness is an expression of the love that believers receive from God.
He encouraged them to care for the community through MWS.
Youths need first-hand experience
Ms Poon Pek Ya, a youth worker with Truthmin, the youth ministry of Trinity Annual Conference, said it was important that today’s youths get in touch with the poor and needy. Ms Poon is in charge of the social concerns internship phase of the Trackers programme.
“Youths don’t have first-hand experience with social outreach to people who are not so well off so that they can empathise with them and contribute to them,” she said. This could only be done through direct contact with those in need. She noted that this was a need not just for the future leaders of tomorrow but all young Christians.
She added that MWS provided not just information about those in need, but opportunities to reach out to them.
Chuang Bing Han is the Web Editor of Methodist Welfare Services.