November 12, 2018Back to list
Since Ben* and his younger brother, James*, first stepped into our Youth Centre in August 2016, they have quickly become two of the most familiar faces we see every week. As members of our Youth Grant programme, they have been active participants in our weekly activities, special events and life skills workshops; enjoying themselves in their journey of growth with us.
However, beneath the external appearances of a normal pair of teenage siblings lies a background that is anything but typical. Along with their older brother, Mark*, Ben and James spent their childhood without the love and guidance of a father, who abandoned the family when James was at the age of one. With minimal external support, their mother, Mdm Sim*, single-handedly raised the three boys – a task made even more daunting by Mark, who suffers from a Global Developmental Delay (GDD**).
Taking care of Mark was no easy feat; requiring a lot of time and effort. As a result of this, Mdm Sim was unable to hold down a job, which put great financial strain on the family. The challenges faced by the family were compounded with a lack of meaningful engagement for Ben and James, who spent a large amount of their free time sleeping and playing computer games at home.
The Youth Centre’s Youth Grant programme aims to benefit underprivileged youths and their families through financial assistance, meaningful engagement, social support, and character and life skills development. Through this Grant, we were able to work closely with Ben and James, supporting their development; turning them from unconfident, unengaged and aimless youths, to become sociable and active youths with a renewed sense of purpose in life.
We challenged their mindsets to look beyond the limitations of their situations and the patterns of life they have become accustomed to. We encouraged them to dream higher, prompting them to think deeply while assisting them in discover-ing and expanding their potential for growth.
The work at the Youth Centre has not always been smooth and can sometimes be filled with unexpected obstacles and heartbreak. However, stories like that of Ben and James fill us with renewed strength, in the hope that through our efforts, the lives of other youths can also be profoundly and positively changed.
*Names have been changed to protect confidentiality
** GDD is a term used when a child lags behind his or her peers in two or more areas of development, such as in language or motor skills.
The important work of Epworth Community Services is funded primarily by generous well- wishers who strongly believe in our cause.read more