Friday, 21 November 2014

Over 11,000 youth volunteers raise awareness for social causes; reach out to 1.7 million

Participating teams in the Citi-YMCA Youth For Causes mobilised over 11,000 volunteers – an increase of 2,500 from 2013 – and reached out to 1.7 million people to raise awareness for the social causes they are championing, affirming that youth volunteerism is on the rise in Singapore. Teams also raised a record of over $900,000 in funds, 20% more than the previous year. 

To celebrate the achievements of these youths in raising awareness and funds for their causes, the Citi-YMCA Youth For Causes Awards Celebration 2014 was held on 20 November 2014 at Singapore Chinese Girls School, with Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister for Manpower, as the guest-of-honour.

Organised for the 12th year running, the Citi-YMCA Youth for Causes programme is a community initiative jointly organised by Citi Singapore and the YMCA of Singapore. Funded by Citi Foundation, the programme is a catalyst for social entrepreneurship and community leadership development among Singapore youths.

Since 2003, Citi-YMCA Youth For Causes has rallied 120,000 volunteers to raise more than $6 million for over 150 VWOs and their beneficiaries.

Mr Stephen Loh, President, YMCA of Singapore, describes Citi-YMCA Youth For Causes as a “unique programme that presents youths with an opportunity to exercise their values-in-action through self-initiated projects”.

As a youth organisation, the YMCA of Singapore is dedicated to empower young adults to become more responsible community champions who can impact and lead the community,” said Mr Loh.

Mr Tan, in his speech, stressed upon the role which corporations may play in making Singapore a kind society, “Volunteerism is not limited to just individuals. As we’ve seen in the YFC, the contributions of a corporate citizen can make a huge difference. Citi Singapore is an active corporate citizen, and I am pleased to know that Citi has been able to walk the talk, and has rolled up its sleeves to be directly involved in community service work. I encourage other companies to follow Citi’s example – to put boots on the ground and work hard at helping society.”

Mr Michael Zink, Head of ASEAN and Citi Country Officer, Singapore, said, We have sustained our commitment to the Citi-YMCA Youth for Causes programme for the past 12 years as it is important to develop social consciousness and community leadership amongst youth in Singapore. Our involvement goes beyond corporate philanthropy from the Citi Foundation. Every year, 50 to 60 of our colleagues volunteer as mentors to the youth teams to serve as a guide and a sounding board. Members of our senior management are also involved in the programme as committee members or judges on the selection and awards panels. We are honoured to play our part as a responsible corporate citizen to improve the communities that we serve. 

Building on the legacy of their predecessors, Project Keep In Touch (Project K.I.T) – Mock Yi Jun, Kang Shiyue, Yang Zhi Sim and Sarah-Kei Lauw set out to identify innovative ways to help the less-privileged. The highlight of their project was This is War: Supremacy, a nation-wide band contest and concert held on 1 June 2014 that raised funds and awareness for the social cause that the group is championing.
For their all-round excellence in project implementation, volunteer outreach and fund management, Project K.I.T received the YFC Best Team Award (Category B) for post-secondary school teams at this year’s Citi-YMCA Youth For Causes Awards Celebration. This is the second year running that the team has scooped the award amongst the 100 teams.

Coming from different schools and backgrounds, we had a shared desire to make some sort of change in our society. We realised that many youths today are concerned, and want to make change about various social causes,” said group leader Yi Jun. “Ultimately, we feel that the measure of success is not in titles or prizes; it's in the funds raised, the awareness spread, and the people we impact.”

A total of 11 awards were presented this year and the winners are as follows:

YFC Best Team Award (Category A)
Project A-parent
YFC Best Team Award (Category B)
Project Keep In Touch
YFC Fund Management Award
Deafying the Odds
YFC Volunteer Management Award
Project ArchAngels
YFC Public Outreach Award
Marshy Marrow
YFC Most Promising Entrepreneur Award
Project Ubuntu
YFC Special Mention Award
Operation Spectrum: Colouring Lives
YFC Best Mentor Award
Mr Vivek Lath Kumar
YFC Most Supportive Teacher Award
Mr Tan Khang Guan
YFC Most Supportive VWO Award
Bone Marrow Donor Programme
YFC Most Supportive School Award
Dunman High School

Teams were assessed by their mentors, VWO representatives and two judging panels; the Citi-YMCA YFC Judging Panel assessed teams on project implementation, volunteer management and public outreach, whilst the Citi-YMCA YFC Secretariat appraised the teams’ fund management, training and enrichment and timeliness of report updates.

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