From Little Sister to Young Leader to Big Sister
Many people here have known me since I was 14 years old at AG Home. That was like 11 years ago – time really flies. I left the hostel and just like any other youth, I enjoyed freedom. Like don’t care about work and the future. I quit ITE. Just do what I want even if it’s illegal.
It took 2 years for me to realise there is more to life. Why was I putting myself in the cycle of getting high and then getting bankrupt? Yes, I mean bankrupt with $0 and going around borrowing money.
That was my rock bottom. Feeling lost, I decided to take a bold step to go back to school because I realised without education, I will be stuck in a cafe/restaurant/retail forever and not earning enough for a living. I didn’t want to suffer in the cycle of worrying about money. So, I returned to ITE to complete my accountancy studies, which I had given up halfway.
Those 2 years weren’t easy but I found something even more fulfilling when I strove to do well, leading a life full of learning opportunities and getting involved in different kinds of community volunteering. Such as Ace project as a project leader for children in partnership with Sunbeam Place, Youthcorp Project with Beyond Social Services, and even being offered to be team leader for a China exchange program. I realised how much I really enjoyed doing things that bring joy to the less fortunate.
I was then offered to go back AG Home as a Young Leader. It was inspiring to see the Big Sisters being so supportive of their mentees, just like how my Big Sister supports me even now when I’ve became a mentor. I now have a chance to support other mentees just like so many Big Sisters supported me when I was one of the difficult to handle girls. This experience helps me to truly understand what it means to pay-it-forward. When I was vulnerable, Beautiful People was my positive support pillar that kept me going. Now I’m a Big Sister. I’ve always wanted to be one – this shows how the other Big Sisters have inspired me! I spent about 4 years as a Young Leader. I learnt how to handle difficult situations, how to be alert and sensitive in case of any sudden outburst or breakdown. Many of them have grown up but they still contact me for advice and I feel so happy to see them doing well. It is very fulfilling to be a changemaker, to be there giving mentees the hope they need, believing that life will get better.
From these experiences, I have grown and changed because I found my passion in being a social worker. From drug addict, tattoo addict (as my Big Sister used to joke!), chimney that smoked 2 packs a day and even school dropout to becoming a social worker. I have a big dream to help abused and abandoned children and youth. I have even served overseas teaching life skills and English in East Timor and Thailand. I call this my meaningful holidays as I prefer to spend my savings serving the poor. I do what I can with the best of my abilities to help others in need. I believe that if we don’t bother about the less fortunate, then who will bother about them. I got onto the National Youth Council, Young Changemaker to curate a project to serve the communities and am currently a Youth advisory for the National Committee of Prevention, Rehabilitation and Recidivism.
How did I come so far? I still can’t believe it. It’s hard. Many of you may say ‘I don’t think I can make it’ – that was me 10 years ago. The easy escape is to dwell in depression and keep saying ‘I can’t’, ‘my mind is messing me up’ and ‘I have no control’. At my lowest point in life, I realised I was aimless without a goal. I knew I needed to change my circle of friends to one that gave me positive energy believing that life will get better.
We are shaped by our thoughts. We become what we think, and if we think we can’t, then we will never make it. To what? Make it to discover our dreams, make it to fulfill our dreams. It is not enough to have a good attitude. We still need support and we have our mentors. Now that I’ve discovered this, I’m determined to continue paying it forward to see more mentees becoming mentors!
To fulfill my dreams, I have to hang in there and I’m one step closer when I completed my Advanced Diploma in Counselling Psychology this year. Next step, is to take my Degree in Social Work.
Every Dream is a Possibility. All it takes is one step at a time. Just hang in there. Who knows? You may turn out well, just like me!
Testimonial at Beautiful People’s ‘Flying Start’ 2018