Grades Improved, Thanks to the Young Hearts Programme

Henry Phua (not his real name), aged nine, lives with his parents and brother in a one-room rental flat. Now, through the Singapore Red Cross' Young Hearts programme, tutors guide him to understand the concepts and complete his homework. Besides helping him academically, the Young Hearts programme also enabled him to gain exposure by visiting different areas and engaging in various activities. The tutors at the Young Hearts programme mentored and guided him, to navigate the labyrinth of emotions, while embracing mindfulness, patience, compassion, empathy, kindness, love, and forgiveness.

Henry Phua (not his real name), aged nine, comes from a six-member family. One of his siblings lives with his aunt, while he lives with his parents, sister and brother in a one-room rental flat.

During the March school holidays in 2024, while playing at the playground, Henry saw his neighbours going to the Young Hearts centre. He followed them. A tutor at the centre urged him to join the Young Hearts programme. Since then, Henry and his brother have been attending tuition at the Young Hearts  centre thrice weekly. 

Teaching His Friends Instead

Henry has been bringing his homework to the centre where he receives guidance from the tutors on completing his homework. 

"I would come here with my sibling after school. Teacher Balkis asked us to bring our homework to complete it together. I can submit my homework in school the next day. We get presents when we listen well. We would study and head home after that. My grades have improved. Now I teach my friends instead of them teaching me. It feels good to be smart," said Henry, whose favourite subjects are Maths, Science and Physical Education. 

Engaging in Play, Relishing in the Refreshments

Besides getting help with his homework, Henry would also engage in play. The tutors provided refreshments that ensured the children were well-fed. 

"Teacher Ferlynn would let us play with the toys, such as Jenga. When we were hungry, Teacher Ferlynn would buy food for us. We ate snacks such as Oreo biscuits and drank Milo," said Henry.

Learning Bowling

Henry looks forward to the days he spends at the centre. He has also learnt a new sport. 

"I look forward to Mondays to Thursdays as I can go to the centre. I feel sad when the centre is not open on Fridays. Teacher Balkis asked my dad if me and my siblings could go bowling on Saturdays. I was a little worried because I had never played bowling before. But they reassured me that I would do great and the coach would help me. It turned out that I am good at bowling. Now, I look forward to meeting them on Saturdays because I get to play my new favourite sport: bowling," said Henry, who also enjoys playing football, basketball and badminton.

Learning Patience

He recounted an instance where he lost his cool in an argument. Teacher Balkis of the Young Hearts programme played an instrumental role in calming him down.

"I was hurt when a friend called me a 'duck'. Teacher Balkis told me that sometimes, people say things they don't mean. We should not say things back that hurt them. We have to be the bigger person as when I do something wrong, the teachers are always here to listen to my story first before scolding me," Henry said.

In the vast tapestry of life, teachers play an indispensable role in sowing the seeds of introspection to tame young minds. The teachers are the role models and torchbearers illuminating and paving the way for the children to break free of stagnant patterns, and elevate their mindset and habits while embracing compassion and patience. The teachers open the gateway to profound healing in the children's minds and spirits so the children remain anchored in positivity. The teachers also create a ripple effect of compassion. 

Grateful to the Tutor

Though he joined the Young Hearts programme later than his peers, he is grateful for the friendship of the Young Hearts tutor.

"I like the teacher. She said I am a handsome boy," quipped Henry. 

When asked about his dreams for the future, Henry said, "I want to be like Kungfu Panda. I want to protect myself and my family from any danger."

This story accentuates the profound role tutors of the Young Hearts programme play in shaping young hearts and minds. 

By Sondra Foo, Marketing & Communications

Inspired? Volunteer or donate to the Singapore Red Cross.

Shop for a good cause at the Sustainable Kids Market, presented by Peace of Art, at Marina Sands on 25 & 26 May. All the proceeds will be channelled to the Singapore Red Cross' Young Hearts programme. Check out the auction, to be held from 17 May to 16 June.