The Excitement of Working with Young Persons

21 Jul 2023

Lok LiangXun
Assistant Director, Youth Services
Care Corner Singapore Ltd

Why Sun Ray?

The Sun Ray Scheme came into my orbit in 2020, as I embarked on a journey to serve young persons at Care Corner as part of my secondment.

At Youth Services, I joined the team as a manager overseeing the operations of our community youth programmes and school-based engagements. Armed with my background in schools as an educator, I found myself plugged into the work almost immediately, supporting the team in conceptualizing programmes, running sessions and speaking with stakeholders to accelerate our work with adolescents.

Along the three and a half years with Care Corner, I have been exposed to a wide variety of work, of which involves working with funders, managing budget sheets, speaking with media outlets to represent our work and supervising sessions run by my team. It has been a meaningful journey thus far, and I am deeply appreciative to my team for supporting me thorough this journey.

The excitement of working with young persons

At Care Corner Youth Services, we work closely with young persons on three different settings – in schools via intervention programmes, in the community via casework for young offenders, and also on the streets to engage meaningfully with street involved adolescents. The diversity of the work we do is constantly exciting, as the different settings require different skillsets to navigate the space that we work with the young persons on.

As part of my day to day work, on top of the management functions that I play, I also take on some programmes and oversee the daily operations with the clients. Every other week, I would join my team to run programmes in schools, helping delivery quality curriculum to our adolescents in schools. On other days, I would join them in the drift sessions, where they would be prowling the streets to speak with street-involved young persons to ensure they have a positive network of support to aid in their development.

At the point of me joining the agency, the state of the Youth Services that I was presented with was operating at three locations in three different settings. Being run in different operational styles under their respective leaders, the project I was tasked with to align them under one Youth Services banner was a tall ask at point of asking. This was a project that was years in the making, and in my course of work over three years and working with the various leaders, we managed to gain alignment and sync our operations under one Youth Services, allowing us to draw on the strengths of each service point to better serve our clients.

The support from NCSS

The role I was tasked with was not an easy one, and the same can be said of those who are in leadership positions who need to make decisions constantly to ensure our teams function at their optimal level. As a Sunray, I was exposed to various support structures on top of what Care Corner provided me to help me succeed in my role.

At Care Corner, I had mentors and leaders who guided me along my work. Coming in fresh with little knowledge of the knick-knacks of management, they provided me with the platform and on job training to learn and succeed. Sunray supported me via linking me up with industry mentors, of whom I have benefitted from in our conversations on leadership and management to help me succeed. On top of that, the resources provided by NCSS to attend courses to broaden my horizons also supported me in my daily operations, allowing me to cascade the information down to my fellow leaders to allow all of us to do the work effectively at Youth Services.

One of the most valuable things in the Sunray programme

The Sunray programme has helped me develop not just professionally, but also in a personal capacity in becoming a better version of myself. Through the resources provided, I was able to tap into the expertise of industry experts and training providers to equip myself with the latest knowledge to serve my organization well. On top of that, the network with fellow Sunrays also allows for easy conversations to spark off effective collaborations, helping our cause in serving the populations that we work with closely. Having Talent Managers keep an eye out for your and extending your networks also supported the work we do in our home organizations, assisting us to contribute meaningfully to the causes we work for.

The way forward

As I come to the end of my secondment at Care Corner come July 2023, I have been awarded a sponsorship under the Sun Ray Scheme to pursue the Nanyang Fellows MBA at Nanyang Technological University. I am deeply appreciative of the developmental opportunities that NCSS and Care Corner have put in place for me leading me to this juncture of my professional career. With information and knowledge gained from my studies, and coupled with the relationships forged in my 3.5 years with the Sun Ray Scheme, I endeavor to continue to contribute meaningfully to the social service sector in the next setting I will be deployed in.