Help others this summer

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 June, 2006, 12:00am

Secondary Three student Wilfred Yan Cheuk-shing never paid much attention in class, until he volunteered to tutor at a community centre last summer.

Wilfred, who took on the task of helping Primary One to Secondary Three students revise and do their summer holiday homework, became aware of the downside of being a teacher.

'Before I volunteered as a tutor, I was always messing around in class,' the student at Ling Liang Church MH Lau Secondary School said.

'But last summer, I realised how annoying inattentive students can be. I've become a lot more serious in class since then,' Wilfred said.

He said volunteering was far more meaningful than killing time at home, and has asked two friends to join him at the centre in Fanling this summer.

Fifth-former Sherry Chan Sze-chai at Pentecostal Lam Hon Kwong School also thinks doing voluntary work after her HKCEE exams is a good way of spending the long summer holiday.

Apart from typical voluntary work such as visiting homes for the elderly, the 17-year-old saxophonist and pianist hopes to use her musical talents to help children develop an interest in music.

'Helping others learn an instrument is more satisfying than learning one myself,' the musician said. She was inspired to do more voluntary work after she signed up with the Hong Kong Physically Handicapped and Able-Bodied Association last year.

Heather Pang Hiu-tung, 15, who joined the Red Cross nine years ago, said the more voluntary work she did, the more she enjoyed helping others.

Having worked with different sectors in need - from the mentally handicapped to elderly people living on their own - Heather says she is often reminded how lucky she is.

'I still remember how cheerful the old lady was when we visited her,' the Secondary Four student at Shau Kei Wan Government Secondary School said.

'You don't need to do a lot to make others happy.'

She said this summer she has organised games to help primary pupils learn how to deal with Aids patients.

Wong Tak-wing, from the Education and Manpower Bureau's School Activities Unit, said volunteering helps students 'to be a better person'.

'Apart from realising the happiness of giving rather than receiving, students are able to put their creativity to use by organising meaningful charity events,' Mr Wong said.

'They become more well- rounded because they get to develop other skills, such as communication skills and the ability to work with others.'

Ellie Cheung Suk-ching, of the Social Welfare Department's steering committee on the promotion of volunteer service, said voluntary work nowadays is more diverse than in the past.

She said it has extended to environmental issues and cultural events.

'We suggest young people pay attention to the requirements mentioned by the staff of the various service units,' she said.

Starting in an agency they are familiar with is a good way to gain a good understanding of what was needed, Ms Cheung said.



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