SOTY 2015: Community Contributors share luck with the needy

By YP cadet Elaine Lok

With the Student of the Year nominations process in full swing, Young Post caught up with the winner and finalists of last year’s Community Contributor award

By YP cadet Elaine Lok |

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Charmaine Wong Tsz-ching says that her motto in life is “Make a difference”.

Last year’s Student of the Year Community Contributor award-winner, Charmaine Wong Tsz-ching, was actively involved in the Hong Kong branches of international charities such as Orbis and Unicef. The 18-year-old former student of Pui Ching Middle School was also a volunteer for Kowloon City and Yau Ma Tei District Social Welfare Department.

These days, Charmaine is studying business at Chinese University because she believes it is the best way to help the needy.

Charmaine told Young Post that her motto in life is “Make a difference”. She feels many people don’t believe they can change the world. “This quote motivates me to keep on participating in volunteer work, knowing that what I did will pay off and make a difference.”

Winning the award was just reward for her efforts, she said.

Much of her inspiration came from her teacher. “She encouraged me to share my luck with the needy,” she says. Through hard work and dedication, she clocked up 450 hours of community work.

Last summer, after graduating from secondary school, Charmaine volunteered at the Hospital Authority. She is also involved in a social enterprise that provides free tutorial classes for underprivileged children.

Runner-up Karen Ng Qian-wen is studying psychology and counselling at the University of Hong Kong. She wants to become a clinical psychologist and help those most in need in the community. She plans to promote psychology in Hong Kong so that more people will be able to understand how it works. Ultimately she hopes to work with children.

Karen, who attended Singapore International School, started volunteering at a young age. Besides helping the needy, she realises that it is important to raise awareness of global issues that affect the underprivileged.

The 18-year-old credits her mother for her passion for community service. She would take Karen to community centres from a very young age. This had a huge impact on her, Karen said. “She made me realise that people should care for one another despite their background, race, ethnicity or gender.”

Karen is still helping out at local community centres and giving needy children a helping hand. She is also planning to do voluntary work in foreign countries, along with her friends from university.

Her favourite quote is “count your blessings, not your problems”. As we live in a developed city, Karen believes that it is easy to forget about the things we have. “We should focus on inspiring other people and actively make a difference in society,” she told Young Post.

Vicky Wong Wai-ki, 18, of Yuen Long Lutheran Secondary School, was also a runner-up in the Student of the Year Community Service award. She was school prefect in 2014-2015.

Vicky believes in the philosophy: “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”

Now that she has graduated from secondary school, Vicky is learning to be a baker. Last year she told Young Post that her career goal is to bring happiness to needy peole through making desserts.

She still volunteers at local organisations but is not as active as before.

Despite her sensitive personality, Vicky has become a confident person with a passion for caring for the elderly, the disabled and children.

Vicky was inspired to take part in community service by a social worker, who “told me that I could take my knowledge and dreams of helping others to provide care for those in need”.

Since she left school, Vicky says she misses the opportunity to bond with people who have similar passions.

Vicky said she regretted not being able to organise community work that she was interested in. Instead she now had to join activities organised by local organisations.

The 2016-17 Student of the Year Awards are organised by Young Post in conjunction with the SCMP and sponsored by the Hong Kong Jockey Club with support from the Education Bureau.

Edited by M. J. Premaratne