Hong Kong Children and Youth Services

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 March, 2006, 12:00am

Where: 6/F, 23 Chatham Road South, Tsim Sha Tsui

What: Founded in 1978, the charity group aims to help individuals and families to better cope with life challenges. It also promotes social consciousness and a sense of civic responsibility among young people, while offering a wide variety of social services for children, youths, families and the elderly.

How: You can register online at www.cys.org.hk or call 2414 8283 for more information. Young people are eligible for volunteer work in a wide variety of training and activities, such as organising outings for children, teaming up with elderly people to serve the community and helping with the group's public events. Volunteers will be matched to activities according to their ability and expectations.

Teen volunteer: Eric Wong Kim-ho, 17, is a sixth former at Buddhist Sin Tak College. An award-winning youth volunteer, he has been doing work for the group for three years.

'I mostly help with running activities or organising outings for children. For example, we once took a group of youngsters to a tea farm in Yuen Long and also visited a pizza restaurant.

'Sometimes we provide interest classes on sports - such as basketball - or hold tutorial classes for them. These activities are aimed at giving children the chance to see more of the world and also teach them the importance of team spirit.

'Many children nowadays are quite individualistic and don't know how to care about or understand other people.

'In 2004, my friends and I organised and ran a programme called Phlying Mission that involved having 20 to 30 Filipino maids visit an elderly home.

'Filipino domestic helpers are often occupied with housework and rarely have the chance to take part in local activities on their days off. But our survey showed that they were enthusiastic about serving the community or lending a hand to those in need.

'We also organised a day camp for the helpers afterwards. The aim of the programme was to help them integrate with the community. These domestic helpers have many worries, because they work alone, overseas. They also miss their families very much.

'These voluntary work experiences taught me to care more about other people's feelings. People can often be self-centred and although we demand that people treat us well, we rarely think about what we should do in return to deserve such friendliness.

'You shouldn't think of yourself as superior to the people you serve. As you help people as a volunteer, you are also learning from them. Everyone can be your teacher.'