YAHS - Young Adult Hangout Sunday

YAHS

As Catholic youths, we often find ourselves wanting to serve the community and the church in our own way in hopes that our contribution could bring a difference, no matter how small it may be. We were privileged enough to have this opportunity thanks to our brothers and sisters from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SSVP).

It happened by chance when one of the Catholic students from University of Malaya (UM) was asked to refer to Annie Lau for a different project and through this chance encounter, this medical student, Joanne Chin, started volunteering her time to work with the medical team during SSVP’s Service Day, every first Sunday of the month to gain more knowledge and experience.

After a while, she realized that the children of our Friends-in-Need and the Rumah Pengajian Xavier (RPX) boys who were present there did not have anything to do while being there. She decided to recruit a few of her Catholic friends from UM to join her during Service Day to be with the kids. We started with arts and craft with the younger children, and the older kids helping us the best that they can. Sometimes the sessions involved games and themed arts and craft to celebrate Easter, Christmas and Mother’s/Father’s Day with the children.

After a few Service Days, we realized that we wanted to do more for the children, to have a greater impact on them. Our SSVP brothers and sisters had the same idea as well, which encouraged us to move forward and help contribute more to Service Day. We then came up with a module, with the help of one of our volunteers who is experienced with this, Jeron Joseph, which included topics like personal hygiene, emotions and personalities, resolving conflict, and many more to the children.    

We have been volunteering for Service Day for close to two years now and we have had some time to reflect on our journey and growth with our SSVP brothers and sisters. We were asked what makes us come back every month. 

The main reason being the children. It’s the fact that our presence there and our friendship may show them what life could potentially be after their schooling days, that their growth is not limited by their situation. That we can encourage them through complimenting their achievements, in front of their guardians so that they are comforted with the fact that their children have successfully achieved something despite their hardships in life. 

We have been blessed with experiences that will truly stay with us and enable us to grow in life. It is rewarding to see the children having fun, laughing and learning with us. Over the course of several months working together, teamwork and communication has improved among us volunteers, and increased our networking skills while working with our SSVP brothers and sisters. “Being part of this program, I have come to be very humble and thankful to God for everything in my life,” said Daniela Ivy. Truly, as clichéd as it may be, we have all been humbled by this experience, and that is another main reason why we keep coming back. Working with the children where a good majority of them are Indians, “Tamil is an underappreciated language”, commented by Jeron Joseph, further elaborating that we always talk about Mandarin, but the Tamil language always goes forgotten. Through this experience, we learned to appreciate the little things in life and that there’s always goodness in everyone. 

We hope that we get to continue this program, albeit always having room for improvement, with increased participation from the children and that we may get more volunteers on our part. This is what we can offer, and we strive to give our very best to the community and serve in the church with humble hearts. We have the highest gratitude to the SSVP team for providing us this opportunity to serve. This is us. This is the Young Adult Hangout Sunday (YAHS) team, looking forward to being a continuous presence here.

 

This article is copied from the first Xavier News issue. Please click here to download your copy.