Social Skills Training Workshop With NIE Students For Beyond Social Services Children

I don’t normally work on Sundays as they are my sacred family days. Yet I decided to make it an exception today as it was for a noble cause. Yes, altruism triumphed and got me out of the house to Admiralty Road East for a two hour talk. 
 
It was not just another run-of-the-mill talk but one that was put together by a group of National Institute of Education (NIE) student teachers. For many of us, we are very fortunate to literally have the world under our feet and not worry about broken families, financial issues, child abuse and run-ins with the law. But for a different group of society especially school dropouts, wayward kids or youths-at-risk, these issues are seen as the norm.

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Armed with an immeasurable amount of love, the NIE student teachers were embarking on a service learning volunteer project as part of their curriculum. Co-supported by the National Youth Council and Young Change Makers, the NIE student teachers chose to work with 20 delinquent youths (aged 10 to 16 years old) from Beyond Social Services. They were all hyped up to make a positive difference in the lives of these disadvantaged young children and help them discover themselves with a self-conceived two-day learning journey. My social skills talk was just part of the grand scheme of things which also included sports telematches such as soccer and basketball and soft-skills workshops such as T-shirt painting and lantern making. And I'm glad I was able to contribute to this meaningful community service project.

Children, being children, have an abundance of energy at their disposal. Seeing them paint with exuberance and ebullience before my talk, one could not detect any familial problems each was supposedly saddled with. Instead, I was inspired by their innocence, liveliness and positivity. This definitely augurs well for their future. Sometimes when life's moments seem dark and hope is frail, all we have to do is ignite the light within and let it shine through.

Noticeably shy as they could possibly lack social interaction skills, I made a conscious effort to interact with the children by getting them to share their opinions. The student teachers also assisted by engaging them in small group discussions.

What truly amazed me was that when I asked at the end of the talk if they understood and remembered anything, a few girls did a close to perfect repetition of the main points of what I had just shared. 

I'm just glad I made a difference in the lives of these children today :)

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