Steven got to know of YGOS through the School Social Work Programme for rioting at the age of 14. It is perhaps fair to say that he was notorious for using violence to deal with all kinds of conflicts with his peers and school authorities.
Together with his caseworkers - Wilson and Zebedee - Steven dealt with his deep-seated frustrations and struggles towards his school, family, and peers. While it took a bang of his fist on the table to endorse his determination, Steven had to learn to loosen his grip when his anger started growing.
“As a former youth-at-risk, I know how miserable it feels to be judged for by our behaviours without truly understanding our struggles and perspectives.”
Thankfully, this trying phase of his life did not last for long. While some may consider his defiant past to be wasted years, Steven thinks otherwise. “As a former youth-at-risk, I know how miserable it feels to be judged for by our behaviours without truly understanding our struggles and perspectives.”
It was this indescribable sense of connection with youths-at-risk that compelled Steven to embark on the treacherous journey of becoming a counsellor. His commitment to impact others has helped him to conquer the test of time and challenges - Steven finally joined YGOS as a staff in 2009.
Perhaps the greatest reward for him is seeing the youths that he mentored becoming mentors themselves.
While Steven’s journey did not get any easier, it was definitely fulfilling. Often times, Steven had to calibrate his expectations while mentoring youths, especially when the youths back slide or get into trouble. Examples include skipping sessions, having conflicts with others or reoffending. In Steven’s journey, the faith in Christ also gave him the much-needed strength to journey with his youths. Perhaps the greatest reward for him is seeing the youths that he mentored becoming mentors themselves.
“I am very thankful for the mentoring relationships that I have with the youths because it not only encourages me to press on in this fulfilling work but it has also taught me to love one another as you love yourself.”
By: Steven (name has been changed to protect author's privacy)
33 years-old, Former Youth client, Former Staff (School Social Work Programme)
- Photo by Andrei Castanha on Unsplash