ABWE Shing Yan Christian Social Service Centre

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 June, 2006, 12:00am

Where: Wing D, Shing Keung House, Upper Podium Level, Kwai Shing East Shopping Centre, Kwai Chung

What: The centre has been helping young people in Kwai Shing since 1972. It became an integrated youth service centre in 2003, providing counselling, outreach activities, and support services for children, families and schools. It also organises volunteer projects for teenagers who want to serve the community.

How: The centre will hold a youth volunteer programme, V-Power 2006, for teenagers aged 13 to 18 from July to August. The programme involves taking part in workshops, training camps and the centre's social service activities. Call 2785 4798 for more information.

Teen volunteer: Cherry Lau Siu-ling, 15, is a Form Three student at Lok Sin Tong Ku Chiu Man Secondary School. She has been working as a volunteer at the centre for three years.

'We pay home visits to elderly people in the district once a month. We chat with them and bring them household necessities, such as towels. During festive occasions, such as Christmas or Lunar New Year, we organise parties and games for them at the centre.

'We spend most of the time listening to the elderly talking about their daily lives. Many of them don't have any children, or their children live far away. Often, they get emotional when they talk about their children.

'Once I visited an elderly couple who were well-educated and open-minded. Their son had moved away and didn't support them. Their experience reminded me of a Chinese poem about a fully-fledged swallow that flew away from its parents and never returned to the nest. The couple taught me that I must treat my parents well.

'I also help run activities for children and parents in the low-income group. In April, we took them to a man-made lake on Lantau Island. I served as the tour-guide on the trip.

'In the past, I have taught children English and arts and crafts at the centre.

'Through these activities I have learned to be more patient. My advice to other potential volunteers is that it is important to be punctual, because it reflects your sense of responsibility. It is also crucial to open up and take the initiative when reaching out to the people you serve.

'Sometimes, people will discriminate against disadvantaged groups and our society does not sympathise with them enough.

'I hope more teenagers will take part in volunteer activities.'