27th May 2020
Mr Brendan Carney, CEO, Citibank Singapore
Mr Vincent Ha, Chairman, Citi-YMCA Youth for Causes Committee
Mr Albert Ching, President, YMCA of Singapore
Mr Steve Loh, General Secretary & CEO, YMCA of Singapore
Ladies and Gentlemen
And of course, our many youths out there
Good evening to all of you.
It is my pleasure to join you this evening despite it being online, for the launch of the Citi-YMCA Youth for Causes 2020 programme. Over the past 18 years, this programme has brought together more than 6,000 youths, coming together, sharing ideas and reaching out on various social causes that they believe in. Despite the current social distancing measures that are in place, this year I’m glad to say is no different and neither has enthusiasm waned or dampened. We will have nearly 80 teams come together to showcase the results of their projects.
EMPOWERING YOUTHS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
- What is meaningful about Youth for Causes is the process of learning and sharing that participants get to experience. You will work through the challenges as a team to put a fundraising plan into action, and you’ll pick up both practical and leadership skills along the way. More importantly, the results of your efforts will not be mere numbers, but it will have a lasting impact on society, on people, communities and the living environment that we all share.
- Let me share some interesting examples with you and I hope that you’ll be inspired by them. Project Kaleidoscope, which was a Distinction Award winner last year, reached out to more than 33,000 people and raised over $12,000 for Touch Community Services. And this was done through activities like street busking, street sales and also a charity concert. Another team, Team QANEBrella, a combination of a cane and an umbrella, raised over $10,000 for the Singapore Cancer Society through the sale of their hybrid umbrella walking sticks, which were hand painted by cancer survivors.
- This year, the teams have chosen to work with social service agencies like the Children’s Cancer Foundation, Habitat for Humanity Singapore and ACRES, which is of course the Animal Concerns Research & Education Society to champion causes close to their hearts and to serve the community. I’m sure your experiences will be rich, rewarding and also unique.
- As a youth, you must be invested in the future. You are the future and you must shape that. And one way to do this is to build a better society. You can never be too young to be a part of society, to feel empathy for others, to be inspired to touch the lives of others and to impact the environment around you. All of these are traits which can be cultivated through volunteerism. And on that score, I applaud and congratulate Youth for Causes. It has been such a meaningful project for such a long time. Through mentoring of youths, looking after them through the funding, and making sure the programmes are suitable, the programme has been an important, critical platform for our youths to not just think about what they want but to realise these ideas, put it into action and ultimately do good for the community.
- I want to also give a big shout out to Citi Singapore, who have been partners with YMCA on this joint initiative for the last 17 years. I thank you for your unwavering commitment to active citizenry, making sure that you support the programme wholeheartedly and engaging your staff to provide mentorship for our young. YMCA as well, for providing platforms for volunteering and of course equipping volunteers with skills to make meaningful impact on community projects.
- This year, Youth for Causes is of course going digital, in line with the necessary precautions being taken for the COVID-19 outbreak. For the first time perhaps, your advocacy, organisational skills and fundraising will have to be done solely online. I’m sure you’ll all miss the usual hustle and bustle of street sales entrenched with people, concerts, carnivals, but all of you young people, people of the future, being digital natives, I’m sure you’ll think of inventive and innovative ways to adapt to the situation and still be able to deliver on your project.
- So this will be a great experience for many of you. You will learn much and you’ll gain much from this experience. These experiences help to shape your thinking of society and they are also life skills. So I wish you creativity, courage, and boldness in your ideas as you embark on your projects.