Agroup of young volunteers has learned that helping others can be a worthwhile experience that benefits both parties. Secondary Four students at Sheng Kung Hui Bishop Mok Sau Tseng Secondary School who joined a community service project said it was a wonderful thing to help the less-fortunate, who were very happy to see them. In the process, the fourth- formers had widened their horizons, developed their leadership and communication skills, and gained a better understanding of problems faced by the community. The project was co-organised by the school's Civic Education Committee. Each class selected the organisation they would like to serve, set their own time-table and designed programmes for their target groups. Prior to the implementation of the project, the participants met professional social workers who helped hone their counselling and organisation skills. The students were then divided into five groups. They visited the elderly, mentally disabled children from Hong Chi Pinehill, and the terminally ill and rehabilitated mental patients in Tai Po Hospital over a three-month period. Chu Hoi-yan, 16, took care of mentally disabled children and accompanied them to Tai Po Hospital. Hoi-yan said she had a wrong perception of disabled children. 'To be frank, I thought they were trouble-makers and was afraid to communicate with them,' she said. 'But I soon found out I was wrong. Some of them are very smart and what we need to do is to treat them as normal children. 'But of course we need to be more patient because sometimes they cannot control their temper.' Yu Tsz-tat, 16, who visited the elderly living in the countryside, said the most difficult part was how to begin a conversation. 'Our job is to call on them, to chat with them and make them feel comfortable and wanted,' he said. 'However, there were problems as to how to start a conversation. We didn't know what would interest them and what their taboos were. 'But they were very nice. Even though it was the first time we met them they were willing to share everything with us, including details about their families. 'My most memorable experience was when we visited an old couple and found the husband was very knowledgeable. He had worked in Britain when he was young and his stories about life in that country made us feel that we were attending a history lesson,' Tsz-tat said. Ng Nga-shan, 15, said: 'Almost everybody has a grandma and grandpa. But I don't think they are very close to them. It is because we are not willing to spend time to communicate with them and try to understand their thinking.' Nga-shan added that she would do more community service in the future.