About 150 Form 1 secondary students are taking part in the SLP
and three teachers are responsible for organization. They are joined
by several parents who assist during lessons and on visits to homes
for the elderly. Winnie Tsang, soon to chair the PTA, is one of
them. She describes her role as a guide and co-ordinator:
a few disruptive students but I’m not an authority figure. In
fact the training has given the students a sense of responsibility
which has brought discipline with it."
The teachers, Miss So Moon-yee and Mr Chan Shu-ming, talked about
the positive effect the SLP is having:
of the families in Tseung Kwan O are working class or newly
I agree with Mrs Tsang," said
Miss So,"Volunteering has given the youngsters a role
to play and now they show respect for people of different ages
was a visible difference in their attitude after they did the
training," continued Miss So. "They understood that you have
a duty to honour the aged, even if they are not relations (老吾老以及人之老),
according to the Confucian ethic. You could see it in the way
they smiled. They meant it."
Two of the
Yan Chai girls told us how they had learned to relate with older
people through the training and the visits to old people's
homes. Chan Lai Na said:
Federation's trainers told us how to talk to older people,
gave us the right vocabulary
and alerted us about some of the difficult
subjects that we might have to be careful with or avoid - like
death or visits from children."
also allowed to help plan the activities for the visits," said Chong Sheung-lai."It was a very positive experience
am happy that I have had the chance."
Ms Au, the
Principal, said that the SLP was built on a successful four-way
relationship between the Federation, school, students
and parents. Her sentiments were echoed at Ma Tau Chung Government
Primary School where five Primary 5 classes with about 170 students
are organized for the SLP by Mr Ho, the teacher in charge:
"The SLP helps teach children early on that they should give
back to society. It's good for their personal development and gives
them a set of positive values to live by."
One of the parents, Mrs Yip, a working mother and active volunteer
herself, told us that 8 or 9 others are already working with her
on the SLP and many more could get involved:
helps me be a role model for my own children," she said, "and
me to communicate better as well."
The primary school is also involved in the Heart-to-Heart Project,
featured elsewhere is this issue. It is an offshoot of the SLP
and has an even broader brush approach to co-coordinating the efforts
in a five-way relationship between teachers, students, parents,
business companies and the Federation.
Mr Ho told us that the school is preparing a proposal for funding
a Heart-to-Heart Volunteer Corps which will bring mentally handicapped
children to visit the school:
"We have much better resources here and our students need
experience with a range of different groups, not just the elderly.
an excellent way of preparing them."
Eleven-year-old Winnie Shum, who has been involved in many other
voluntary projects already and won her school's Outstanding Pupil
award last year, said of the SLP:
"I learnt how to communicate with older people at home and others
I have never met before. In the process I made friends of all ages."
In fact, a
sense of satisfaction, integration and purpose was the overall
reaction from everybody involved. It bodes well for
the success of the Heart-to-Heart Project and shows clearly that
one of the benefits of volunteering is getting to know a wider
cross-section of humanity, seeing how others live and reaching
an understanding and tolerance of them and their differences. Knowing
how to put yourself in another's shoes (推己及人) is good for