More than a year ago, Lee Chuen-yin was a naughty boy who did not care about his studies. Skipping lessons and staying out overnight with his so-called 'friends', Chuen-yin was considered a troubled student by his school. But after the Tai Po Government Secondary School student joined the Star Junior Troop, a school counselling programme launched five years ago to help children with low self-esteem and self-motivation, he started to change. 'I've met some new friends in the programme and haven't been hanging out overnight since then,' the 17-year-old said. Under the scheme, students are required to take part in different activities. These include marching and volunteer services, visiting prisons and training camps as well as taking courses such as magic, acrobatics, lion dance and shooting. 'Though my mind is still not strong enough and I would sometimes go out with the friends I used to hang around with, I promise that I will try my best to improve myself,' Chuen-yin said. He is grateful that his team leader and instructors continue to support and encourage him. For instance, he skipped classes again and went to meet his old friends during the school sports day two weeks ago. He thought he would be in big trouble, but what he got was a calm and patient talk with the instructors. 'I'm so touched that instead of being punished, they chatted with me so patiently and explained to me that it was irresponsible to skip school,' he recalled. The programme was recently awarded funding from educational scheme CitiSuccess Fund, which is organised by the charity HOPE Worldwide and funded by Citibank. It was one of the 55 initiatives selected from 282 applications submitted by local teachers and social workers this year. Introduced to Hong Kong last year, the scheme grants each winning project $5,000 to $15,000. The additional funding has led to a two-fold increase in the number of participants in the Tai Po school programme to around 40 this year. 'We found that the discipline of some students was pretty bad and punishment was not a really good solution, so we designed the counselling programme,' said principal Yau Oi-yin. 'With the grant, we can organise more activities and subsidise the cost of students' uniforms. And it's a recognition of our teachers' efforts.'