My son Asher turned 5 in August and to teach him a lesson in life, I decided that he should do a good deed on that day, on top of the usual gifts and celebrations.
Although my family is not rich, Asher is still born into relative privilege, compared to many less fortunate families. As such, I want him to learn to appreciate what we have in life by getting his hands dirty.
It just so happened that the folks from Young NTUC, the youth wing of the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC), organised a beach clean-up on the weekend of Asher’s birthday, so I signed him up for it.
Although Asher complained of the heat, he still completed the clean-up activity from start till end, taking his assigned task seriously.
There is a great diversity of career and social aspirations among young working adults in Singapore today. In a move to go beyond advocacy and evolve to meet the desire of youth to do-good through self-initiated projects, Young NTUC launched the Young NTUC U Heart (U Heart) initiative, in collaboration with OrangeAid, the community development and involvement arm of NTUC Income.
U Heart ran from July to August this year, in recognition of youth members’ intent to celebrate National Day by making a positive difference and bringing the nation’s birthday cheer to those they reach out to. There are five pillars to the programme:
Home, we live in
Reaching out to low income families, elderly individuals, staying in one-room flats/ rental flats.
Environment, we care for
Reaching out to animals staying in shelters, wildlife, the environment.
Appreciate, we must
Reaching out to workers working behind the scenes.
Respect, we give
Reaching out to individuals with physical disabilities, our Pioneer Generation.
Tenacity, we support
Reaching out to underprivileged children, children and young persons in residential care programmes.
“As the largest youth movement in Singapore, Young NTUC seeks to help our younger workforce become future-ready by supporting them in building the future they want to see, and by being the catalyst that enables them to convert ideas and passion into reality. We recognise that youth want their voices heard and they want to make a difference. Young NTUC U Heart enables these youth leaders by giving them the platform to inspire and attract other like-minded individuals, connecting them to organisations and partners seeking assistance and supporting them towards putting their plans into action,” shared Desmond Choo, Executive Secretary of Young NTUC.
495 activities and counting, engaging about 9,000 Young NTUC volunteers and beneficiaries as well as 30 NTUC-affiliated unions and 13 NTUC communities, social enterprises and affinity groups were conducted from July to August by these young leaders, putting their U Heart plans into action.
When Asher grows up, I hope he will be a compassionate man, learning to care and respect for those around us and the country we live in.