The annual Chua Thian Poh Community Leadership Programme (CTPCLP) Symposium returned for its sixth run on 22 April at NUS University Town, graced by Guest-of-Honour Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth.
This year’s symposium featured five project presentations by student groups who partnered social service organisations (SSOs) to examine important social and community issues affecting Singapore and propose alternative solutions.
One such project was by Year 4 NUS Engineering and University Scholars Programme students Annabelle Ng and Glenda Kee, who sought ways to improve the nursing home experience, particularly in light of an ageing and increasingly educated population with expectations of more holistic care that views a resident as “Mr Tan Ah Bee, rather than as just Bed 25”. In-depth interviews with staff and residents at four nursing homes revealed that more could be done to harness the potential of volunteers, improve staff development and welfare, curate more impactful activities for residents, and provide support to residents’ families.
Another project was the Better Understanding for Better Wellness campaign, initiated by Year 4 NUS Arts and Social Sciences students Khoo Yi Feng, Charmaine Lim and Ang Qiuluan. The campaign sought to improve understanding of mental health issues on campus and reduce stigmatisation. Encompassing activities such as dialogue sessions with individuals recovering from mental illness, as well as training and volunteerism, the group leveraged the resources of 19 partner organisations, utilised 14 outreach channels and reached out to some 250 students. It also sparked the formation of several student groups across campus championing the mental health cause and was honoured at the 2017 NUS Student Achievement Awards.
The other projects touched on evaluating the social impact of youth programmes, improving community resources for isolated persons with disabilities, and evaluating NUS Pharmacy’s Community Health Angels Mentoring Programme which sees students team up with social workers to provide support to the elderly.
During a dialogue session moderated by CTPCLP Director Associate Professor Albert Teo, members of the audience had the chance to ask the students more in-depth questions about their projects, as well as pick the brains of Ms Fu on the role of youth in community development.
It was also announced at the event that Mr Chua Thian Poh, Chairman and CEO of Ho Bee Land Limited, has pledged another $5 million to expand the CTPCLP by doubling its intake to 80 students yearly and encouraging greater collaboration with SSOs.
“I believe it is this congruence of vision and passion between Mr Chua Thian Poh and NUS, as well as our mutual desire to amplify the impact that we can make through creativity and close partnerships, that has enabled the CTPCLP to flourish and to make a real difference,” said NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan. “We are immensely grateful to Mr Chua for making all this possible and providing the opportunity for our students to be able to do extraordinary things and to make a real-life impact. The skills they have developed through this life-enriching programme will ensure that they understand the challenges faced by different communities in Singapore as they take on leadership roles in the future,” he added.
Inaugurated in 2011, CTPCLP aims to nurture Singapore’s next generation of change makers, who are intellectually engaged in, and passionate about, social and community issues. To date, 279 students have been inducted into the programme and completed some 85 projects.