“In my local service, we corporate with the YMCA student care centre to organise activities and learning sessions for the kids who are not under very good financial conditions, and I have volunteered to be the service cheer because I am very passionate towards kids. Our service focused on the global issue of poverty and the children. Last time, we went to the YMCA centre to visit them, which was the first time we meeting them. Through this visit, I have a clearer understanding towards what they need and how to achieve them.
The kids were all in a pretty young age, at about 7 or 8, and therefore they were extremely energetic and active. We first sat in a circle and had a conversation with some buddies. I tried my best to remember all of their names, because that would seem more friendly and polite. I found myself very good at interacting with kids, because I would play with them as if I was in the same age as them instead of being like an adult and request them to do something. Also, based on my research on the psychology behind poor children, I found that sometimes they could be very vulnerable and sensitive if we touched the sides that they didn’t feel comfortable of, even if we were not intended to do so. Therefore, I was always mindful of how to talk to them and what kind of things should I talk about, with awareness of our different backgrounds. Through my conversation, I got to know lots of their hobbies, which were mainly sports. One kid told me that they had a football court and they often played football there. Some of them really loved swimming, but there’s no swimming pool in the care centre. Therefore, I think that it would be good if we can organise some sporty activities which can bring their energy up.
Although the kids didn’t grow up under a good financial background, they didn’t seem to be humbled or unhappy because of this. Instead, throughout the visit, they seemed extremely optimistic and happy, always engaging with us an their friends activity. I was very glad to see that poverty wasn’t an issue which gives negative impacts to them, and they can still have access to education and various activities. I think our mission is to provide more opportunities for them to access to different things by using the resources available in our school, such as technology and arts classes which they didn’t have in the student care centre. This service helps me to see the situations of the poor children and reflect on my own way of living, that I need to cherish the plenty resources I currently have. Poverty is a critical issues nowadays, but I don’t want it to influence children’s lives and take away their access to educational resources. I really hope that our service can help the children build confidence, collaborative skills, creativity, critical thinking, and most importantly, make them feel happy.” (Gwenda Gu)