Wednesday, 18 September 2013

ITE Student Raises $15,000 for Charity

From May to September 2013, 20 year-old Chien Yong Qiang led a team of volunteers to raise $15,000 for their chosen charity, HCA Hospice Care. 

Yong Qiang, a final year Higher Nitec in Information Technology student at ITE College West, mobilised volunteers to sell titbits, drinks and umbrellas, and organised various fund-raising activities.

“I was apprehensive at first, but with encouragement from my lecturer and senior schoolmate who shared his volunteering experience with me, I was inspired to make a difference to the community,” explained the self-confessed introvert.
Yong Qiang’s fund-raising effort for HCA Hospice Care was conducted under the Citi-YMCA Youth For Causes 2013. The annual programme is a community initiative started by YMCA of Singapore and Citi Singapore in 2003. 

Funded by the Citi Foundation, the programme seeks to act as a catalyst to promote social entrepreneurship and community leadership development amongst Singapore youths.

Whilst searching for partners and sponsors, Yong Qiang and his team encountered many rejections, but through Yong Qiang’s leadership, determination and perseverance, he managed to obtain support from grassroots leaders who agreed to support his initiative in their programmes, and private organisations which sponsored items for sale.

“I enjoy the work and take great satisfaction in being able to help others,” said Yong Qiang, the 2nd child of 3 siblings. “The difficulties I encountered tested my resilience which helped me to develop my social and entrepreneur skills as well.”

Yong Qiang also managed to rally 3 junior classes to volunteer and help to raise funds. “I feel it is meaningful to be able to get my schoolmates to participate as hopefully, they would be inspired to take up volunteering later on,” said Yong Qiang.

This coming Saturday, Yong Qiang will be an Ambassador at YMCA Proms @ the Park, a community outreach programme organised by YMCA of Singapore which seeks to promote corporate volunteerism and bring cheer to the less privileged. 

As an Ambassador, Yong Qiang will be a volunteer leader and play a key role in promoting the engagement between the volunteer befrienders and beneficiaries. They will also conduct ice-breaking games and assist to answer queries on YMCA’s community service programmes.

Mr Raymond Chia, Yong Qiang’s lecturer, says that ITE is supportive of students who volunteer as it helps to build character. He has noticed a change in his student since the latter started volunteering.

“Yong Qiang used to confine himself to achieving good academic grades and was not that interested in volunteerism,” elaborated Mr Chia. “His attitude changed in 2012 when he participated in the Citi-YMCA Youth For Causes as part of a senior student’s team to help raise funds for Muhammadiyah Welfare Home and he realised he had an innate desire to help others.”

Ms Samantha Seah, Assistant General Secretary (Programmes), YMCA of Singapore, said “As a youth organisation, YMCA of Singapore strives to groom young adults into responsible community champions who can impact and lead the community. To achieve this social mission, YMCA engages youths through our community service programmes, leadership development programmes and social
entrepreneurship programmes. Yong Qiang is a shining example of how young adults can step up to make a difference in the community if they are provided with the right tools and platforms.”

Yong Qiang is thankful for the support and training provided to the volunteers. He said, “There were times when the public doubted the authenticity of our efforts and credentials. I was able to handle their difficult questions and handle difficult customers from what I learnt.”

“YMCA has provided me with the opportunity and support to serve the community,” said Yong Qiang. “It has prepared me to take up new challenges in volunteer work in the future.”

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