Transforming lives through Young Hearts

By Sondra Foo, Corporate Communications

Justina Tan Hui Ru aspires to be a teacher in the future, and volunteering with the Singapore Red Cross’ Young Hearts programme gives her just the opportunity to tutor children from less privileged families. 

“Through the experience, I witnessed firsthand the fractures present in our society. I see students who want to learn but are left behind by the educational system, simply because they did not have the right footing at the onset. I also see children who struggle, trying to fit into the expectations of society from a young age. More importantly, I witness how important it is, not to let your difficulties define you,” shared Justina. 

She added, “Education is one of the most important things we can give to a child. Young Hearts provides a platform for me to help children enjoy learning from a young age. This can easily ripple into something major in the future.”

Beyond learning, it is in the children’s interactions that Justina found to be touching. 

“It is heartwarming to see the children interacting with one another with so much love, care and respect as they share their stationery and toys. Through these children, I witnessed the ‘Kampung Spirit’ coming alive. The dimly-lit void deck literally pales in comparison to the warmth they radiate. There have been many rewarding experiences - the warm greetings I get from the children the moment I enter the space, the friendships we forged, the conversations we exchanged and games we played together. It is fulfilling to see the children improve every week. I also learnt to be better at what I do, so I’ve truly gained more than I had given,” Justina thought wistfully.

Justina also looks forward to interacting with the children every Thursday as it is a refreshing break from the pressures in her life. 

“It is as if I were brought back to the innocence of childhood. Watching them learn and grow every week motivates me to give my best in all that I do. I will continue volunteering because there is still a lot I can learn from this experience. What you do makes a difference, not just to the lives of others, but also to your own,” she affirmed.