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Nurturing a Heart of Service

The Secondary 2 Values-In-Action (VIA) programme is an annual event that aims to provide opportunities for students to engage in community service and develop their leadership qualities. The programme involves students planning activities for and interacting with the elderly at various senior activity centres. This is a huge challenge for some as they will have to interact with people from outside their usual circle of friends, compelling them to become more open-minded and socially adept. 
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Each year, the Secondary 2 students take turns to visit various locations including Orange Valley Nursing Home (Clementi), Lion Befrienders (Ghim Moh), Fei Yue (Holland Close) and St. Andrew’s Cathedral Home for the Aged (Clementi). Guided by their teachers, the students are required to plan two sessions of fun and meaningful activities such as Bingo, Jenga, Pass-the-Parcel, and karaoke. Planned activities are not restricted to just fun and games--sometimes, students engage in casual conversations which can go a long way in creating meaningful engagement.

During the VIA sessions, which typically last for an hour each, students are encouraged to take the lead in conducting activities, whilst the teachers take on an advisory role as mentors to facilitate both learning for the students as well as meaningful engagement for the seniors. In the course of these activities, students learn to cultivate a sense of empathy, compassion and respect towards the elderly in society. Secondly, they develop a heart of service from their experiences serving these groups. Thirdly, the students learn that they need discipline in order to serve others.  

Students and teachers alike emerge from the VIA programme feeling heartened that their efforts are able to make someone’s day. The hard work put in by the students benefits not only the seniors, but also the students themselves in terms of values and experience gained. The VIA programme is truly a rewarding experience for all, and we hope that it will continue to inspire students to have a heart of service.