By WONG Lok Hang, Denis (Lee Shau Kee Hall)

“If you spend a couple of hours doing nothing, why don’t you do something to help those in need?” said Chun-yip Leung, a final year student studying Marketing Information Management who also got the City University Outstanding Service Award.

Leung has been an active member of City-Youth Empowerment Project, a volunteer programme organised by the Department of Applied Social Studies, since his second year in the university. At first, he joined the project only because he wanted to make more friends. Voluntary works have never been anything fun to Leung. He has been helping charities’ flag day when he was in secondary school but he was simply being forced by the school to help.

City-Youth Empowerment Project makes him realise that community services may not be a harsh job.

“The first activity in the project was a cultural exchange workshop,” said Leung. “To my surprise, I found it quite enjoyable.” The workshop gave volunteers a chance to meet people from south-east Asia. The two-hour long workshop was so fun that Leung felt like only half an hour had passed.

To Leung, the City University Outstanding Service Award is recognition of what he has contributed to the university, as well as the community. Social service is not only about giving, but also about receiving. By participating in social services, volunteers can release their stress, as well as  make friends. Leung will soon graduate and he will probably be busier after graduation. Despite this, he still hopes that he can have free time for voluntary work in the future.

While Leung found the meaning of social service by joining City-Youth Empowerment, Summer Li, a first year student in Accountancy, has a new perspective with regards to happiness after participating in community services.

Li is a mainland student and she got the Andrew Fan Student Award. Before arriving in Hong Kong, she did not participate in any volunteer work. “There are not many NGOs in China. We seldom have chances to join social services,” said Li.

Among different kinds of social services, Li’s favourite activity is to visit the elderly. To Li, elderly people are our best teachers. From their experience, Li feels that she  learns a lot.

The concept of “a family” is very important in Chinese culture. However, Li noticed a different story from the elderly people she visited. They never got married and they do not have family members in Hong Kong. Yet, they have a happy life. Li also noticed that many of the elderly have religious beliefs.

With more than 50 hours working in City-Youth Empowerment as a volunteer, she truly believes that joining volunteer programmes is a way to learn and  grow up.

“In the past, I thought getting married and giving birth to children are the must-do things in one’s life. From the elderly people, I realize that happiness can be achieved in many other ways and you should not feel your life is not perfect simply because you do not get married or have children,” said Li. “Having  religious beliefs may bring happiness to us too.”

*Something that you should know…
City-Youth Empowerment was first launched in the Student Residence! It was reported in the October issue of ResLink in 2009. Want to know more? Click the link below!