“YOUTH ACTION MAKING A DIFFERENCE” WORKGROUP

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“YOUTH ACTION MAKING A DIFFERENCE” WORKGROUP Powered By Docstoc
					      yOUTH
  rELOADED:
        Supporting
 Youths-At-Risk (YAR) and
Out-of-School Youths (OSYs)
                             TABLE OF CONTENTS


1. INTRODUCTION…………………………………………….…………………………………………..3


2. PROPOSAL 1:
     -   Creation of Niche Platform Internships……………………………...………………………....4


3. PROPOSAL 2:
     -   Enhancement of Community Service Module for YARs……………...…………………….....7


4. PROPOSAL 3:
     -   Reintegrating the OSYs…………………………………………………...……………………...9


5. PROPOSAL 4:
     -   Creating a Positive Environment for Youths through Media……..…………………………12


6. CONCLUSION…………………………………………………………………………………………..16


7. ANNEX A: Supplement to Proposal 3 ………………..………………………………………………..17


8. ANNEX B: Members of subgroup.……………………………………………………………………...18




                                                                        Page 2 of 18
                                                       INTRODUCTION
                                                 OUR MOTTO
              “IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A YOUTH, AND THE VILLAGE GETS THE YOUTH IT DESERVES.”

1. DESIRED OUTCOME:

      We aim to nurture driven youths1 who now possess and exercise self-respect, self-confidence, social and
      intellectual competence.

2. TARGET GROUP:

2.1 We focussed our proposals on students in the school system that are:
          a. at risk of dropping out (YAR), and
          b. youths that have already dropped out of school (OSYs).

2.2 YAR come from all backgrounds, races, and areas of the community. Inter-Ministry Committee on Youth
    Crime (IMYC)2 defines YAR as youths who have been subjected to a combination of interrelated biological,
    psychological, and social factor that result in a greater likelihood for the development of delinquency,
    substance abuse, or other related anti-social and self-destructive behaviors. These youths are more likely to
    be influenced negatively by their family, environment, peers and social factors, thereby deterring positive
    mental and social growth.

2.3 OSYs are youths who have dropped out of the school system. In Singapore’s context, the OSY is someone
    who does not complete a minimum of 10 years education. More details on OSYs can be found under Section
    4 – Reintegrating OSYs.

3. APPROACH:

    We recognize that besides the role that parents play, there are complex sociological forces in place that also
    impact a child’s development. Hence, in line with our motto, we have proposed multi-faceted solutions that
    involve the individual and members of his/her typical social circles3. We are mindful that the effectiveness of
    our proposals hinges on the ability of the recommendations to provide youths with personal attention while
    incorporating participation from members of their social circles.

4. FOCUS:

    Independent, responsible and connected youths need to be equipped with the necessary software, hardware
    and heart-ware. Hence, our proposals aims to help the youths to:
             Develop positive character traits and attitudes that would mould their outlook on life.
             Acquire employable skills and knowledge that would ensure long term employability.
             Be engaged and connected to society such that they would want to contribute.

5. RECOMMENDATIONS:

    Our recommendations can be divided into four main categories:
            Creation of Niche Platform Internships
            Enhancement of Community Service Module for YARs
            Reintegrating the OSYs
            Creating a Positive Environment for Youths through Media


1
  Youths will primarily refer to Youths-at-Risk (YAR) and Out-of-School Youths (OSYs). The plans can be extended to include all youths.
2
  Definition quoted from IMYC Resource Guide to Youth Work.
3
  This means the involvement of family, peers, the school, the workplace, and the community at large.
                                                                                                                         Page 3 of 18
                                    Recommendation 1: Creation of Niche Platform Internships
1.        Concept
1.1       This proposal provides the targeted youths with internship opportunities to organize and manage music,
          arts and sports events. Youths will be taught the knowledge and skills that are necessary for the successful
          planning and execution of such events, from start to finish. They will be attached to a particular
          organization, mentored by professionals in this field and assisted by positive role models4. Participants
          will be trained in the full range of activities and tasks involved in the staging of such events 5. The youths
          will acquire usable and employable skills by the end of the internship.

1.2       The experience will also rub off on the youths the need to have skills and knowledge to survive, and
          survive well, in today’s society. The programme will also indirectly inculcate the importance of education
          to the participants. The major deliverable of the internship is a full scale event that is planned, managed
          and executed by the participants. This event can also be another effective platform to reach out to other
          YAR and OSYs. At the end of the internship, the families of the youths will be invited to an informal
          session to meet with the mentors, role-models and fellow participants.

2.        Target Group:
          YAR, fringe-group youths, OSYs
3.        Timeframe:
          Immediate, starting with a pilot project.
4.        Expected Outcomes:
          At the end of the programme, participants will achieve:
                    Positive character and attitude development
                    Employable skills and knowledge
                    Realization of the value of education

5.        Present Situation
5.1       Youth Hub and Youthopia

          We applaud the National Youth Council’s (NYC) efforts to reach out to the youths via the setup of the
          Youth Hub and Youthopia (http://www.nyc.gov.sg/user/youthscene/youth.htm ). Through concerts and
          events held at Youth Hub, 6 NYC has managed to attract participation from the youths, including the
          difficult to reach target group of this proposal – the YAR and OSYs. These events, however, are ad-hoc
          since they are based on voluntary participation. There is also a lack of sustained follow-through with the
          youths during and after these events.

5.2       Life Skills and Mentoring Programmes for OSYs by Voluntary Welfare Organizations (VWOs) 7

          The main objective of these programmes is to impart useful skills. The VWOs typically plan, publicise
          and carry out these programmes jointly with a partnering organization. SANA – PAL is one such
          programme that aims to provide OSYs with life skills. The youths are involved only as participants. Most
          of these programmes have been discontinued primarily due to the high drop out rates, though the lack of
          resources is also a constraint. The VWOs recognize the importance of mentorship and if resources permit,

4
  Role models are peers that are slightly older to minimize the age gap, thereby allowing the youths to better identify with these big brothers
/ sisters.
5
  These activities include event planning, stage management, logistics planning and execution, marketing, finance, stage set-up, audio
visual set-up, lighting, etc.
6
  Youth Hub is made up of 4 play-spaces, namely Youth Centre, Youth Park, Skate Park and InQbuzz. Youthopia refers
7
  The PAL programme was initiated by Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association (SANA) in November 1998, and aims to help
early school leavers steer clear of drug abuse and other undesirable behaviour. For more details on the programme, please refer to
Recommendation 3 – paragraph 2.3.
                                                                                                                                 Page 4 of 18
      will assign special councillors to the programmes. The instructors, however, do not necessarily take on
      the role as mentors. The mere presence of assigned councillors may give the youths the perception that
      they are problematic, and hence, require the special attention. We also note that these councillors do not
      have a formalize way of developing the youths’ character and attitude during these programmes.

6.    Uniqueness of proposal
6.1   The heartbeat of youths
      We believe that youths will respond better if they are personally interested in the activities. Starting with
      music, this model can be replicated to other areas such as visual arts and sports. By building up internship
      opportunities in niche platforms of youth interest, we will be able to draw them to a programme that
      develops their C.A.S.K, that is, character, attitude, skills and knowledge.

6.2   Youth Involvement throughout the internship

      The main deliverable of the internship is for the participants to use their newly acquired skills and
      knowledge to plan and execute a successful event. In this manner, the youths will be directly responsible
      in the design and delivery of their individual projects. Instead of walking into a ready programme, the
      youths now play a big part in determining their learning process. Such a hands-on approach from
      beginning to end is more likely to keep the youths engaged throughout the internship.

6.3   Availability of instructor-mentors and peer role models
      The youths are not left to fend for themselves. Their instructors will not only pass on useful skills and
      knowledge, they also serve as mentors throughout the internship. The programme will also recruit older
      youths that can serve as positive role models. Most YAR and OSYs have friends from similar background
      that share common views and outlook on life. By placing role models in the programme, we hope to, in a
      non-threatening way, expose and challenge the targeted youths to a different and more positive set of
      thinking and belief system.

6.4   Intentional structuring of reflection process

      Life skills and knowledge are important but equipping the youths with only the hardware (e.g. knowledge,
      academic qualifications) is insufficient. Many YAR and OSYs suffer from low self-esteem. It will be
      important to engineer a positive and nurturing environment where instead of feeling dejected by failure,
      the youths will be encouraged and challenged to reflect and learn from their mistakes. This active
      reflection process is encouraged during the daily interactions between the youths and their mentors / role
      models, and during the debrief sessions after each activity. As the youths plan for the event, they are
      urged to discover their purpose in life and to reassess the value of education.

7.    Stakeholders and Resources Needed

                   Organizations involved                                  Roles to Play / Issues to Address
       NYC (Youthopia)                                            To provide administrative structure to endorse the
                                                                      internship stints

       Internship Organizations                                   To    provide the     expertise    instruction   and
       (e.g. Awakening Productions)                                    mentoring.




                                                                                                       Page 5 of 18
                        Organizations involved                      Roles to Play / Issues to Address
                                                           8
             VWOs or Youth serving organizations (e.g. CARE , To provide contacts and clients for referral
             YES9)                                               (CARE)
                                                              To provide employment skills training for the
                                                                 OSYs (YES)

             Corporate Partners (e.g. School of Audio Engineering)    To provide certification on skills that youths
                                                                         attain through the internship

             Venue Sponsors (e.g. Cathay Cineleisure, Esplanade, To provide venue for the end internship
             Old Parliament House)                                  project/event.

             Programme Sponsors (e.g. MCYS)                           To provide budget for payment to interns and
                                                                          instructors
                                                                      To purchase or donate materials required (e.g.
                                                                          equipment      for   sound,       lighting,
                                                                          instruments)
                                                                      To provide classroom space for instruction



8.        Proposed Project Milestone
8.1       1st Cycle
          Secure project concept approval
          Secure funding and community support
          Identify, screen, identify and select youths
          Run 1st pilot (start with music)
          Youths plan event from scratch, with help of instructors
          Community volunteers and mentors assist and interact with youths
          Youths execute event targeted in turn at YARs and OSYs
          Instructors carry out reflection at every phase
          Youths complete first event – receive recognition and testimonials
          Carry out evaluation of project – modify and improve
          Youths attend next cycle – possibility of being mentors
          Recruit youths as participants for next cycle possibly from audience at 1st event

8.2       Proposed Length of programme: 2-months and 6-months programmes
8.3       Specific Learning Objectives
                 Skills and Knowledge: - Events management / planning, basic “live” sound, administration, basic
                                      marketing communications such as PR, design and distribution of flyers
                 Character Building:- mentoring, counselling
                 On the job training




8
    CARE refers to Children-At-Risk Empowerment Association
9
    YES refers to Youth Employment Singapore
                                                                                                       Page 6 of 18
                    Recommendation 2: Enhancement of Community Service Module for YAR

1.       Concept
         Schools will identify YARs to undergo a specially designed community service module. This module is
         an extension to the current Community Involvement Programme (CIP) and will be part of the school
         curriculum. The youths will be challenged and coached to design and implement their own community
         service projects. The concept of Service Learning (SL) will be employed to ensure that learning is
         intentional and not incidental. By giving the youths greater ownership of the projects, they are more likely
         to be engaged while performing community service in their respective areas of interest. Parents-youth
         teams will also be encouraged for the family to jointly work on projects. This group of youths can opt to
         take this module as a Co-Curricular Activity (CCA).

2.       Target Group:
         Youths identified to be At-Risk (YAR) and their parents
3.       Timeframe:
         Medium Term
4.       Expected Outcomes:
4.1      After going through this module, students should:
                 Develop their character to bring about increase in confidence and level of self-esteem
                 Become more engaged and connected to society

4.2      The parents will also be more aware of the strengths and talents of their child, thereby increasing their
         interest in the child’s well being.

5.       Present Situation
5.1      Planning and Execution of CIP
         Presently, schools are given the autonomy to plan their own CIP activities. These activities are typically
         pre-arranged and determined by the schools, teachers or in some instances, the student leaders. We are
         very pleased that community service has been introduced into the school curriculum to inculcate the spirit
         of active citizenship in our youths. However, we felt that current CIP activities can be made more
         meaningful10 and in particular, should also address the needs of YARs. We also note that not all teachers
         draw out learning points and arrange for discussions to internalize the value of the community service
         experience with their students. It is noteworthy that MOE has included community service as a key
         module for trainee teachers from July 2005 onwards.

5.2      Parent Support Groups (PSG)
         The lack of attention and motivation from their parents is a common thread amongst YARs. PSG is the
         main platform that parents have to voice their concerns and be connected with their child’s education and
         development. However, most parents of YARs do not participate in such groups, and this is usually due to
         ignorance, feelings of intimidation or apathy. There is opportunity for an active parents involvement
         programme to encourage the family unit to jointly work together on projects.

6.       Uniqueness of proposal
6.1      Active involvement of Youths
         YAR are mostly disconnected with the society and uninterested with the happenings in their communities.
         Many of them also do not see themselves as contributors to society. Sheer indifference, the lack of
         opportunities and a low level of self-esteem could be possible explanations. By virtue of being YAR,

10
  Examples of menial community service tasks include cleaning the old folks’ home (no focus on interactions with the elderly) and
administrative duties in VWOs.
                                                                                                                            Page 7 of 18
      these students typically receive “special” attention and are not given leadership positions in schools. An
      active role in the community service project can help develop their character and build up their
      confidence. They may also come to realize that, regardless of their background and seeming misfit with
      the mainstream students, they can and should do their part for the community.

6.2   Parents’ Participation
      The enhanced CIP platform for YAR will give both parents and child an opportunity to work hands-on a
      project. We are aware that this approach may still be unsuccessful in engaging those parents that are too
      busy (so says the parents) or too disinterested with the well being of their child. Nonetheless, the proposal
      will help address the needs of YAR’s parents that are looking for an avenue to be connected with their
      children.

7.    Stakeholders and Resources Needed
            Organizations                           Roles to Play / Issues to Address
               involved
        Ministry of Education To put in place a structure in all schools to facilitate the development of the
        (MOE)- taking the lead   Community Service Module

        Schools                     To craft out lesson plans for the Community Service module
                                    To identify youths at-risk and teachers to lead the module
                                    To monitor the progress (academic and behavioural) in the identified youths
                                        who go through the programme

        National     Volunteer To work with schools on the development of volunteer projects, which family
        Philanthropy   Centre     could work on together (similar to the Family as Volunteers Day
        (NVPC)                    concept)

        Voluntary       Welfare To partner with schools on community service projects which youths could
        Organisations (VWOs)       embark on, directly benefiting their clientele groups.



8.    Proposed Project Milestone
             Secure project concept approval
             Work on pilot model with 5 secondary schools
             Design community service module, integrating elements of SL and parent involvement
             Ensure all teachers involved are trained in concept of SL
             Schools identify youths at-risk through at-risk behaviours such as truancy, smoking, involvement
              in gangs, etc
             Identify projects with VWOs and/ or NVPC which youths can work on
             Community service projects could be drawn up along the lines of areas of interest of youths eg.
              music, arts, sports activities being taught to orphans/ patients in hospitals
             Engage parents in planning and implementation stages of project
             Youths that complete the community service module can take on roles as peer mentors to next
              batch of students.




                                                                                                       Page 8 of 18
                                               Recommendation 3: Reintegrating the OSYs
1.          Concept
1.1         In Singapore, Out of School Youths (OSYs) refer to youths who have less than 10 years of education.
            These youths may not be equipped with the necessary academic and life skills to survive in society. In the
            short term, OSYs may be attracted to join gangs, commit petty crimes and be involved in substance abuse
            and distribution. In the long term, OSYs are more likely to commit crimes when they become older. The
            cost of rehabilitating an OSY is lower if the problem is tackled at the early stages. Else, by the time the
            OSY commits a major crime, the cost is compounded when legal fees, cost of rehabilitating in prisons and
            follow-up programs are incurred.11

1.2         There are numerous OSYs targeted programmes already in existence. We are very encouraged that some
            of these initiatives have taken quite a comprehensive approach to reach out and address the needs of the
            OSYs. Thus, instead of reinventing the wheel, our proposals for this section will focus on enhancing the
            effectiveness of existing programmes. We will first present a broad overview of the strengths of the
            current initiatives.

2.          Review of current programmes
2.1          Youth Projects
            2.1.1 IMYC collaborates with district CDCs to establish, fund and support OSY-targeted organizations
                  such as Project Bridge and Project 180 (http://www.imyc.org.sg/prog_pre_10.html) . These
                  projects are managed by specific VWOs. For instance, Project Bridge at Woodlands is managed by
                  YMCA and supported by IMYC and North West Community Development Council (NW CDC).
                  Project 180, located in Simei, is managed by Fei Yue Community Services and supported by
                  IMYC and South East Community Development Council (SE CDC).

            2.1.2 Their services include providing:
                      Referrals for OSYs into mainstream schools
                      Enrichment courses after school and lifestyle training
                      Industrial attachments and skills development courses for OSYs as an alternative path to
                          mainstream learning
                      Family/individual counselling and career guidance
                      Support group for parents

            2.1.3 Project Bridge and Project 180 are managed by VWOs with expertise in community serving. These
                  VWOs have experienced managers to oversee the projects and skilled social workers and
                  counsellors to do the field work. These individuals have the passion to run the long race with the
                  OSYs. As committed mentors, they also help to inculcate positive values in the OSYs and build
                  rapport with the OSYs’ families.

            2.1.4 With the support from IMYC and the local CDCs, YMCA and Fei Yue Community Services are
                  equipped with a strong understanding of government and school policies to help them craft new
                  strategies and programs for the OSYs. They are better able to employ a multilateral approach in
                  their programme planning and problem solving process.

            2.1.5 Both VWOs have established a good track record. They are respected by the ex-co of schools, as
                  well as members of the community. These organizations also acknowledge the critical role that
                  families play in successfully reintegrating OSYs by extending counselling services to and building
                  support networks for parents.




11
     Please refer to Annex A for a summary of: i) profile of potential OSYs (i.e. YARs) and ii) reasons why youths drop out
                                                                                                                              Page 9 of 18
      2.1.6 These VWOs understand that OSYs progress at their own speed, and each of these youths has
            different interests, strengths and weaknesses. The youths in these projects feel less ostracised as the
            VWOs actively refer them to mainstream schools. Besides academic skills, through activities at
            youth centres and special enrichment programs, the VWOs also help train the OSYs in other
            disciplines such as sports, computing and development of life-skills. VWOs have trained
            counsellors and social workers that understand the background of the OSYs. These mentors are
            better at counselling the OSYs and placing the youths in activities that realize their full potential.

      2.1.7 Youth centres close at 9pm. This late closing time gives youths an alternative hangout to roaming
            the neighbourhood. Keeping the youths off the street decreases the risk that they will be led astray.

2.2   Schools for OSYs
      Youth learning centres, such as the TOUCH YLC and City Harvest YLC, help provide OSYs with
      academic training. Youths go through a 2-year course that prepares them for the “O” levels examination.
      Technical training centres such as Assumption Vocational Institute and Geylang Serai Vocational
      Training Centre, on the other hand, provide technical skills training and certification to increase the
      employability of these youths.

2.3   Mentoring Programmes
      A major initiative is the PAL programme by SANA (Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association), which was
      introduced in November 1998. (http://www.sana.org.sg/education.htm#pal) The objective of the program
      is to keep youths off the streets to minimize their exposure to negative influences such as drug abuse. A
      SANA survey revealed that 88% of 911 new drug abusers were dropouts. The programme comprises
      mainly of enrichment courses such as bowling, windsurfing, computer classes, self-motivation courses
      and job interviews preparations. Volunteers, staff and trainers are empowered to be mentors during these
      courses.

3.    Proposals
3.1   Framework for information and resource sharing
      3.1.1   Schools, MCYS, IMYC, VWOs and the different CDCs have established their own methodology
              for zoning and resource management. While the individual methodology serves the respective
              organizations well, we believe that there are synergies to be reaped by providing these bodies
              with a common platform to tap on one another’s knowledge and resources. MOE currently groups
              schools first into zones ,and then further classify these schools into clusters within the zones. We
              would like to propose that the common framework be modelled after the systematic zoning
              system for schools.

      3.1.2   Each proposed zone, coordinated through a specific CDC, will comprise of clusters of schools,
              primary and secondary , and will receive support from VWOs representatives in that geographical
              region. IMYC can then assign social workers to monitor the OSY situation in that zone. Thus,
              each zone will have a number of clusters of schools (e.g. 7-8). With an identified zone, the social
              workers can more effectively focus their efforts to network with the ex-co of schools. The social
              workers will be better informed of potential OSYs and gain access to their background
              information. These workers can also investigate into the reasons students leave school through
              exit interviews.

      3.1.3   With multiple clusters of schools in each zone, social workers now have a more representative
              pool of OSYs to study patterns from. Through the communication network of the CDCs, the
              social workers can tap onto, and better direct resources to help OSYs in their respective zones.
              Specifically, these workers i) are connected with the schools’ ex-co and school administrators,
              ii)are aware of the background and needs of the OSYs, iii) have an understanding of the school
              and government policies, and iv) have access and ability to direct OSYs to youth centres such as
              Project Bridge or Project 180. It would also be useful to have a staff member in each school
                                                                                                     Page 10 of 18
              volunteer to serve as a co-ordinator to liaise with the zone social worker on potential OSY cases.

      3.1.4   Stakeholders and Resources Needed:

               Organizations involved                       Roles to Play / Issues to Address
               MOE                          To work with CDCs to agree on clustering and naming of zones
                                            To make training courses available for interested teachers to
                                                understand the background and problems of OSYs / YAR
               CDCs                         To work with MOE on the above
               MCYS or IMYC                 To provide social workers to co-ordinate and participate in project
               Social Workers               To handle administrative work and applying for funding from CDC
               Schools                      To work with Social workers to identify OSYs
                                            To create awareness amongst teachers about OSYs
                                            To ask staff to volunteer as co-ordinator to liaise with social
                                                workers in each school on potential OSY cases

      3.1.5   Proposed Timeframe
              We propose a 2-year timeframe for the various organizations to launch a pilot project.

3.2   Reassess need for Substitute Schools for OSYs
      3.2.1   The availability of alternative learning centres, such as Touch Youth Learning Centre run by a
              VWO, makes it possible for OSYs to be back in a schooling environment. However, programmes
              in these schools do not fully benefit the students. Firstly, the yardstick for alternative learning
              centres is still the same as that of mainstream schools In addition, regardless of time spent away
              from studying, OSYs start off in alternative learning centres from where they previously left off
              in the mainstream schools. They do not have the chance to recap the material and make up for
              time lost when they are out of school.

      3.2.2   Thirdly, only OSYs attend alternative learning centres. This reaffirms the stigmatization that
              these youths are school dropouts getting their second chances. The youths are also deprived of
              positive peer models since most of them would have similar backgrounds and/or thinking patterns
              Teachers in substitute schools are also faced with a greater challenge since they now have OSYs
              in classroom sizes to manage and teach, instead of a handful.

      3.2.3   We would like to urge MOE to review the need for alternative learning centres, such as those run
              by VWOs, for OSYs. There is a need to audit the original intentions for substitute schools and
              assess whether the evolution of guidelines and policies have enhanced or decreased the
              effectiveness of such institutions. If the yardstick for such schools remains the same to that of
              mainstream schools, perhaps it may be better to focus efforts into reintegrating OSYs into
              mainstream schools. We are, by no means, asserting that alternative learning centres do not
              provide quality education. But without returning to mainstream scools, OSYs will continue to feel
              like outcasts and may not be motivated to step out of their low level of self-esteem

      3.2.4   Stakeholders and Resources Needed:

                Organizations involved                       Roles to Play / Issues to Address
               MOE                              To conduct review together with the substitute schools


      3.2.5   Proposed Timeframe:
              We propose for the review to be conducted over the course of 1 year.




                                                                                                    Page 11 of 18
              Recommendation 4: Creating a Positive Environment for Youths through Media
1.    Concept
      The media is a proven tool for effective mass communication. It has the potential to impact youth
      development either positively or negatively. To complement our previous recommendations, we seek to
      look at enhancements or changes to current media initiative to create a more positive environment for all
      youths. The proposals have been categorized according to different targetted media channels.

2.    Proposals
2.1   Ratings for commercials aired in cinemas
      2.1.1    We applaud MDA for actively reviewing movie ratings to cater for the different viewer categories.
               Commercials aired prior to the movies, however, are currently not screened. For instance, a
               commercial for CK watches portraying a couple in the act of foreplay was shown before a family-
               themed movie, “The Incredibles”. This mismatch in suitability of content should be addressed.
               We urge cinema operators to be mindful of the content of advertisements and previews alike, and
               would like to suggest that MDA extend the rating exercise for movies to advertisements. In this
               manner, only advertisements with the same ratings as the movie can be aired prior to the
               screening of that movie.

      2.1.2    Stakeholder and Resources Needed
                 Organizations involved                   Roles to Play / Issues to Address
                MDA                               To undertake the rating of commercials

      2.1.3    Proposed Timeframe
               We recommend a 2 year timeline for this rating exercise to be implemented.

2.2   Celebrity Youth Ambassadors (CYAs)
      2.2.1    Charity fund raising shows, starring local and foreign artistes, are on the rise. This trend however,
               does not necessarily translate to inspiration for youths to step up and contribute their services to
               society. We would like to recommend that celebrities be urged to take up the role as Celebrity
               Youth Ambassadors to lead and encourage youths in volunteering their services towards
               meaningful social causes. A good example would be the Bubel Aiken Foundation for disabled
               persons, partnered by American Idol Season 2 runner up Clay Aiken
               (www.thebubelaikenfoundation.org).

      2.2.2    The youths are also likely to be more receptive to messages sent by their idols. We must ensure
               that the celebrities are indeed good role models, and that there is an appropriate match between
               the celebrities and the youths. The CYAs could set aside a few hours on a weekly or bi-weekly
               basis to lead the youth in voluntary work.

      2.2.3    Stakeholder and Resources Needed
                  Organizations involved            Roles to Play / Issues to Address
                  MediaCorp                   To encourage celebrities to volunteer as CYAs
                  MOE                         To help disseminate message
                  MCYS                        To determine possible charities requiring CYAs
                  NYC                         To encourage celebrities to volunteer as CYAs
                                              To help disseminate message



      2.2.4    Proposed Timeframe
                                                                                                      Page 12 of 18
                     It may take some time to convince local celebrities to take up the challenge, and to pair the
                     celebrities up with the right organisations and youths. Nonetheless, we believe that the
                     programme can be implemented within 2- years. We hope that as more celebrities are born, they
                     would step forward to champion meaningful social causes.

2.3         Youth Channel
            2.3.1    The media has the power to portray youths positively or negatively. There are times when the
                     media negatively stereotype youths as being rebellious, violent, materialistic and perpetual
                     substance abusers. With that said, there are also programs that celebrate their successes and
                     individuality, while acknowledging their struggles.12 We propose the setup of a Youth channel to
                     allow younger viewers to have greater exposure to programmes that inspire them to grow and
                     develop positively.

            2.3.2    We recognize that the possible lack of viewers and funding, especially in the initial stages, will
                     hinder the setup of such a channel. We could start off with the allocation of specific air time,
                     much like that of Kids Central, for the broadcast of such programmes. We could also encourage
                     youths to step up to undertake part of the production of programmes that will be of interest to
                     their peers. This could tie in with the Niche Internship Platform proposal. In addition to airing
                     these youth programmes on national TV, schools and educational institutions could be
                     encouraged to use these programmes as resource materials for lessons.

            2.3.3    Stakeholder and Resources Needed
                      Organizations involved                     Roles to Play / Issues to Address
                      MediaCorp              To conduct feasibility study on the setting up of a Youth Channel
                      MDA                    To conduct survey to determine media influences on youths, YAR and
                                                  OSY
                      MOE                    To assist in creating suitable programmes
                      Schools and IHL        Institutes of Higher Learning could assist in training students

            2.3.4    Proposed Timeframe
                     This proposal poses a more difficult challenge. In addition to training students, a survey should be
                     conducted to determine the specific interests of the target groups. As such, we propose a 5 year
                     timeframe.

2.4         Youth Radio Forum
            2.4.1    Youths enjoy listening to the radio. Popular radio channels such as FM 98.7 and FM 93.3,
                     however, currently do not provide sufficient information to encourage social participation from
                     youths. We would like to propose that a radio forum be setup to specifically address and discuss
                     family and social issues that impact youths. This forum will help create social awareness among
                     youths and encourage good family bonding in a hip, cool and interactive manner. Youths will be
                     able to call in to voice their concerns and provide feedback on the issues in hand. The programme
                     can be aired once or twice a week. Either deejays will have to be trained in counselling or
                     councillors can be invited to these programmes so that good advice is dispensed. Celebrity Youth
                     Ambassadors (proposal 2.2) can also be invited to the talk show.

            2.4.2    We are aware that FM93.8 has good programmes like Parenting Today, Focus on the Family,
                     Slice of Life, Living Room. An alternative might be to consider how some of these programmes
                     can be injected into more popular radio stations among youth without compromising the
                     popularity/station rating of these stations with the youth.



12
     Documentary shows such as “Get Real!” and “TR: Report, Brave Young Hearts”
                                                                                                            Page 13 of 18
            2.4.3     We also recognize the eGen.org.sg initiative as a creative way to reach out to the youths.
                      However, YARs and OSYs may not readily have access to the internet. The Radio Forum will be
                      more effective in reaching out to these youths.

            2.4.4     Stakeholder and Resources Needed
                           Organizations                        Roles to Play / Issues to Address
                              involved
                       MediaCorp              To conduct feasibility study on setting up the Youth Radio Forum
                       MDA                    To conduct survey to determine media influences on youths, YAR and
                                                  OSY
                       Counselling groups To assist in counselling
                       (e.g. Care Corner)
            2.4.5     Proposed Timeframe
                      Similar to suggestion 2.3, this proposal requires a survey to access the feasibility of the project.
                      As such, a 5-year timeframe is also recommended.

2.5         Social Issues Discussion Sessions in Schools
            2.5.1     The internet has enabled youths to have easier access to information, but not necessarily to
                      appropriate content. Such inappropriate content include pornography and violent materials. Chat
                      programmes are also subjected to abuse. Programmes such as Multi-user Internet Relay Chat
                      (MIRC) serve well as real-time communication tools, but crooks have exploited these tools and
                      use them for deviant purposes13. Youths are also exposed to undesirable content through print
                      media channels such as magazines and newspapers.

            2.5.2     Regulatory measures through censorship and establishing youths’ access rights can limit the
                      exposure of youths to the abovementioned risks, but are not foolproof14. This is not to suggest that
                      controls to limit or ban access to negative materials should be lifted. We would like to
                      complement regulations by proposing that schools educate the youths to be responsible and
                      mature users of these media channels.

            2.5.3     We propose that regular weekly or bi-weekly sessions be introduced in schools to address social
                      issues at large and to inculcate the right values to the youths on matters such as love and sex,
                      money and materialism. Current school curricula have made provision for teachers to conduct
                      such sessions but feedback has been that such topics are not always addressed. Ideally, teachers
                      should identify relevant topics to cover and champion this programme. However, we recognize
                      that not all teachers are trained or have the resources to conduct such discussions. Hence, the
                      relevant authorities will need to decide on the appropriate content for different age groups and
                      provide the necessary resource and training.

            2.5.4     The schools can also tap onto the expertise of VWOs and other relevant experts for their
                      pedagogy and knowledge on such matters. Examples are Project CRuSH (Cyberspace Risk and
                      where U Seek Help)15 for teens, and PAGi (Parents Advisory Group for the Internet) for parents.

            2.5.5     The core group of topics could include The dangers of Internet usage; What is proper Internet
                      usage and Sex Education16.

13
     Recently, there were reported cases of date rapes and men having sex with minors.
14
   Chat line numbers have been prohibited to be published in youth targeted magazines, but this measure does not prevent
youths from being exposed to the information through adult targeted publications or publicly accessible advertisements.
15
   Officially launched in 11 September 2001 and spearheaded by TOUCH Community Services Limited (TCS), the project is
an effort to reach out to youths vulnerable to the risks of cyber age. It seeks to inform youths of benefits, risks and dangers of
the internet, to mentor youths to adopt positive values and safe behaviour in the cyber-world and to develop youths to become
positive influences to peers and juniors in cyberspace. (http://www.imyc.org.sg/prog_pre_06.html)
                                                                                                                   Page 14 of 18
        2.5.6    Stakeholders and Resources Needed
                     Organizations involved       Roles to Play / Issues to Address
                     MOE                    To coordinate resources and develop direction
                     NIE                    To expose trainee teachers to sexuality issues
                     Schools                To encourage educators to take up the challenge

        2.5.7    Proposed Timeframe
                 We recommend that schools set-up this programme within 3 years.

2.6     Enhancements to youth publication initiatives
        2.6.1    “IN” and “Juice” are 2 youth targeted publications currently in circulation. The former discusses
                 youth-related issues while the latter introduces places and activities that youths can productively
                 spend their energy on. We would like to encourage youths to step up and take on the role of
                 producing the papers. Youths will take ownership and be engaged in productive activities that
                 develop their character and life skills. Youth-produced publications are also better able to
                 penetrate the target audience. Since the publications are targeted at the general youth population,
                 we should be mindful that these papers are easy to read and hence suitable also for youths at
                 lower language proficiency levels.

        2.6.2    Stakeholders and Resources Needed
                   Organizations Roles to Play / Issues to Address
                   involved
                   MDA           To Survey (please see above)
                   MOE/Schools To assist in distribution of publications
                                 To assist in sourcing for talents
                                 To recommend students for whom experience would be crucial
                   MCYS          To provide funding for projects
                   NYC           To assist in spreading the news to youths
                                 To channel interested youths to the programme

        2.6.3    Proposed Timeframe
                 Since this proposal builds on existing initiatives, we believe that within 1 year, the enhancements
                 can be implemented.




16
  Issues such as Is Love equal to Sex and What are the dangers of Pre-marital Sex should be addressed. Without infringing
on religious beliefs, the discussions should inculcate right values on love and sex.
                                                                                                              Page 15 of 18
                                                  CONCLUSION

1.   The hearts that went into this proposal desire to give all youths a fair chance to realize their full potential
     and find and fulfil their life purposes. While this may sound idealistic, we have put on top of our passions,
     much thought and effort into the recommendations. Some youths are not endowed with the biological,
     psychological and/or social factors to put their best foot forward, and we hope that our proposals will help
     to bridge, or at least narrow, the gap.

2.   One common thread that runs through most of our proposals is that of active youth involvement, not
     unlike the convening of this workgroup. We believe that it is only when youths take ownership of the
     projects and are actively participating that the full benefits of the programme can be realized. We have
     also attempted to include the families in the proposals whenever possible.

3.   Will all the youths that participate in the internship programme complete the stint and have life
     transforming testimonies? Will all the YAR that go through the enhanced CIP module vow to commit
     their lives to social service or to be leaders in the future? Will the radio forum be an instant hit and
     receive raving reviews? We are unable to guarantee that our report card will be that illustrious.
     Nonetheless, this does not stop us from gearing our proposals to achieving the best possible results. We
     brainstormed, with the help of experts (e.g. staff from NYC), to ensure that we cover as many angles and
     address as many issues as we can so that the recommendations are robust and have a good chance of
     achieving the desired objectives.

4.   KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) or deliverables can, and should be, put in place. However, we should
     be mindful that the real success of the proposals may not be visible in the short term. Some youths may
     go through the different programmes and pose disciplinary and teaching challenges; some may drop out;
     some may grudgingly complete the courses if forced to or simply because they have nothing better to
     occupy their time with. Despite these seemingly discouraging results, if a seed is planted in the hearts of
     these youths to start thinking about their future and their life purposes; if a friendship with positive
     influence is cultivated either with peers or mentors; if the parents become more connected and involved in
     the life of these youths; the programmes would have been successful.

5.   Can we track and monitor these results? With sufficient resources, it is definitely possible. As you, the
     reader, read through these proposals, we hope that you do not discount the recommendations because of
     the seemingly lack of tangible deliverables, but to review the robustness and the likelihood of success of
     the plans. True success, in this instance, is not measured by the immediate outcome.

6.   It takes a village to raise a youth. The team, as part of the village, hopes to do our small part for this cause.




                                                                                                        Page 16 of 18
Annex A: Supplement to Recommendation 3

1. Profile of Possible Youth Who Drop Out

1.1 Family
    -Family status (single parent family, family size)
    -Educational level of parents
    -Pregnancy/ teen parent

1.2 School
    -Poor attendance
    -No. of school transfers
    -Low average in most subjects
    -High number of discipline problems
    -Poor/ inconsistent attendance in extracurricular activities

2. Reasons Why Youth Drop Out

2.1 Personal
    -Got a job, had a family to support, or had trouble managing both school and work
    -Got married, got pregnant (female), or became a parent (male)
    -Had a drug or alcohol problem

2.2 School Based
    -Didn’t like schooling or the particular school that they were attending
    -Were failing, getting poor grades, or couldn’t keep up with school work
    -Didn’t get along with teachers and/ or students
    -Had disciplinary problems, were suspended or expelled
    -Didn’t feel safe in school




                                                                                        Page 17 of 18
Annex B: Members of Subgroup


     Name
1    Andy Ang Hock Beng
2    Carrie Tay Hsiao-Yen
3    Harvinderjit Singh
4    Howard Tan
5    Huang Huimin
6    John Chiong Jil Yung
7    John Tan
8    Li Jin Haw
9    Naomi Kwang Ying Ching
10   Ng Yeok Chong
11   Rozlin Farid
12   Tan Ken Jin
13   Tan Yin Hoe
14   Tay Yu Shan
15   Tremandy Ng Yien Luan
16   Wong Png Leong




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