Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Citi-YMCA Youth For Causes celebrates 15 years of promoting social entrepreneurial spirit in youths


Citi-YMCA Youth For Causes 2017 (YFC) was launched on Tuesday 16 May 2017 with Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, President of the Republic of Singapore gracing the event as the Guest of Honour. To symbolise a flying start by the participants, over 600 attendees released spin-tops into the air at the launch ceremony.

In commemoration of Citi Singapore and YMCA of Singapore’s centennial celebrations, Citi-YMCA Youth For Causes was piloted in 2002 with an aim to promote social entrepreneurship and community leadership development among youths, by combining the complementary qualities of a bank through providing seed funding and volunteer mentors and a charity with its strong community development track record and volunteer management capabilities. Since its inception, YFC has raised over $8,000,000, mobilised more than 130,000 volunteers and benefitted over 160 voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs).

Liu Chengpei participated in YFC in 2014 to raise funds and awareness for Bone Marrow Donor Programme when he was a student at National Junior College. After completing his YFC project, the meaningful experience led him to initiate a bone marrow donor drive in NUS. “YFC changed my life in a way that it opened up a lot of opportunities for me to help others, for me to contribute back to society. I always thought that students could only do small projects like visiting the elderly or small scale fund-raising,” he said.

The support and guidance of teachers played an important role in helping students overcome challenges in their YFC journey. “Each and every of our students joined the programme with the idea of enriching others, raising funds to benefit others, but I think in the end they are surprised because the person that they enrich and bless most is actually themselves,” said Violet Soh, Economics Teacher, St. Joseph's Institution.

In addition, teams are assigned mentors from the business or social sector to impart advice, creative inputs and provide project management supervision. “YFC is a great opportunity for me to give back as it allows me to share my skills and experience and provide guidance to the team in this meaningful project. I enjoyed the interaction with the students and have benefitted greatly, as they have also shared many new trends and innovative ideas with me,” said Liang Xiuming, YFC mentor.

This year, 100 teams of four youths each will raise funds for their chosen voluntary welfare organisation (VWO) for the next 15 weeks till 31 August 2017. Their projects included an art shower where participants will freely splash or shoot paint onto canvas as a liberating experience, helping them to experience and understand the therapeutic qualities of creating art; and an amazing race event in which stations will be inclusive of simulations to enable participants to have an idea of what people with mental illness face.

“For the past 15 years, the joint initiative between Citi Singapore and YMCA of Singapore epitomises a successful community partnership to generate social capital for the community. Through Citi-YMCA Youth For Causes, our youths have learned to be concerned citizens and active contributors to society, which is in line with YMCA’s endeavour to impact lives and nurture community champions,” said Eric Teng, President, YMCA of Singapore.

“As Citi and YMCA celebrate our 115th year of presence in Singapore, we are pleased to launch the 15th edition of Youth for Causes to empower young people with a social entrepreneurial mind-set and create a sense of community consciousness amongst them. YFC has developed into a key Citi Foundation programme under its Pathways to Progress global initiative that aims to make youths career-ready through leadership and entrepreneurship training, while at the same time providing Citibankers an opportunity to volunteer and make a positive impact on the youths,” said Mr Amol Gupte, Head of ASEAN and Citi Country Officer (CCO) for Singapore.

Last year, YFC participants raised over $870,000 in support of 46 VWOs. The endeavour mobilised over 9,500 volunteers who came forward to support the teams’ efforts in raising awareness and funds for these adopted VWOs. This programme has continued to support the President’s Challenge list of beneficiary VWOs since 2005. In 2016, over $105,000 was raised by 16 YFC teams to champion social causes for 17 VWOs under the President’s Challenge list of beneficiaries.


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