Singapore’s Workers’ Party (WP) chief Pritam Singh took to Facebook on Wednesday (23 September) to reveal that he, along with his colleague Nicole Seah, attended a meeting with Care Corner Youth GO! (North East) to discuss on what the organisation does and how it can help youths living at WP’s constituencies like Aljunied GRC, Sengkang GRC and Hougang SMC.
“Care Corner Youth GO! (North East) is a street outreach programme serving street-involved youths from 12 to 21 years old in the North East region, funded and supported by the Ministry of Social and Family Development,” Mr Singh wrote.
He added, “The team conducts street outreach, information and referral, casework and counselling, groupwork and community work to reach out to youths, including youth at risk. Their ambit also extends to Aljunied, Houngang and Sengkang”.
Mr Singh went on to state that the meeting lasted over two hours and is grateful to the “Care Corner team for their invitation and for patiently engaging us in the good work they undertake”.
Ms Seah also posted a Facebook post about the discussion and elaborated a number of observations made throughout the sharing session.
The first observation she pointed out was that there is “value” in getting external organisation to come in to help families and schools as they can offer “impartial environment that might not be steeped in baggage or micro-aggression for youths who are at risk of displaying negative behaviour such as substance abuse or morally dangerous activities”.
She added that this would give an alternate method for youths to open up and be acceptable of intervention.
The second observation made was that policies are created with the best intentions to drive positive behavioural change but “the gap happens during ground implementation and such intervention actually requires a large amount of time and effort invested in at-risk youths”.
“It is tough for ministries to cascade all the way down to the individual (understandably so) and this is why organisations like Youth GO! are deeply valuable.”
If that’s not all, the WP’s candidate for East Coast GRC in GE2020 also pointed out during the sharing session that they also explored the idea that at times it’s important to take the first move to be part of someone’s world to really understand them, rather than to expect them to come into ours.
“One of the staff shared an anecdote about why meal gatherings may be held at a void deck instead of an eatery as at-risk youth would feel more comfortable to talk openly and be able to smoke.
“A simple but meaningful solution instead of telling them outright not to smoke, or boxing them in a sterile air conditioned office,” she said.
Additionally, she also noted that COVID-19 has pushed all these youths to “underground” and all their activities are now being done in their “homes when parents are out on shift work, or in secluded areas that evade social distancing ambassadors”.
As such, Ms Seah said that this makes it a lot harder for the staff as they are not able to reach out and locate such individuals.
Lastly, she also expressed her respect and admiration towards the staff of the organisation as their outreach programme happens five times a week, which is an addition to their day jobs.