Singapore—The Workers’ Party’s (WP) Nicole Seah took to Facebook on Wednesday evening (Sept 23) to write about a meeting she had attended that day with WP head and Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh for youth at-risk.

Ms Seah said that she and Mr Pritam, whom she fondly referred to as “da boss,” along with a WP team, attended a meeting with nonprofit organization Care Corner Youth GO! (North East) at Tampines, a group that focuses on outreach and interventions for youth who are at-risk who live in the North East region of Singapore.

This area includes Aljunied, Hougang and Sengkang, which are constituencies won by WP in the General Election (GE) in July. Ms Seah, who had been part of the WP slate that contested in East Coast GRC and narrowly lost to the ruling People’s Action Party, offered her insights on the meeting.

First, she wrote that it was valuable for such groups as Youth GO! “to intervene in families and schools” because these could become venues for interventions for troubled youth.

This type of environment would be conducive for troubled youth to be open to getting real help through interventions as they create atmospheres “that might not be steeped in baggage or micro-aggression for youths who are at risk of displaying negative behaviour such as substance abuse or morally dangerous activities.”

Next, she wrote that organisations such as Youth GO! are “deeply valuable” as they could fill in the gaps that occur between policies and on-ground implementation. “It is tough for ministries to cascade all the way down to the individual,” she added.

“Policies are always developed with the best intentions of driving positive behavioural change, but the gap happens during ground implementation and such intervention actually requires a large amount of time and effort invested in at-risk youths.”

The next point Ms Seah made is that “we might have to sometimes take the initial step into someone’s world to truly understand them instead of expecting them to come into ours.”

She wrote that one of Youth GO!’s staff had said that holding meals for at-risk youth is better than at public dining places because it would make an inviting atmosphere for the youth to express themselves openly.

Next, Ms Seah wrote that contrary to the popular thought that “at-risk youth are a visible minority that might come in the form of a raucous group making noise at the void deck after hours,” because of the pandemic, these youth have been “pushed …underground” and actually carry on with their activities at home while their parents are at work “or in secluded areas that evade social distancing ambassadors.”

This, she said, makes the work of Youth GO!’s staff even more difficult, since the youth have become harder to reach.

In her final point, she expressed respect and admiration for the staff, who conduct outreach programmes five times a week in addition to their day jobs. She wrote, “Youth work is deeply meaningful, and incredibly tough…. Mad respect and admiration for their stamina and perseverance.”

Ms Seah added that their time with the organization was “deeply enriching and illuminating,” expressing the hope to work together again in the future. —/TISG

Read also: Nicole Seah on assisting East Coast residents: “We don’t have deep pockets” but “heartware” to get people help

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