Valuable volunteer experiences during summer holidays

Eliza Lee

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​Student volunteers at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) joined different kinds of services organised by the City-Youth Empowerment Project (CYEP) over the summer holidays. 
The City-Youth Empowerment Project encourages student participation in community service and upholds the principle of whole-person development. Such volunteering creates links between students and society, enriching the local community and people’s lives.
“The project also echoes with the University Social Responsibility Charter, which is aimed at fostering a strong sense of social responsibility among students,” said Dr Elaine Au Liu Suk-ching, Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Social Studies and Convenor of the CYEP.
Nine CYEP student volunteers went to the National Borey for Infants and Children in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in July to spend time with children living with severe disabilities. They painted the walls of an orphanage and gained insight into child poverty issues and the impact of public policy on society.
Another group of CYEP student volunteers participated in music, dancing and painting activities with children and young people from different backgrounds and communities in Hong Kong in the Community Creative Arts and Music Workshop. The workshop was collaborated with the Boys and Girls Clubs Association of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Tai Wai Children and Youth Integrated Service Centre, and Christian Service Kwun Tong Happy Teens Club.
A third group of CYEP volunteers teamed up with an organisation in the neighbouring Nam Shan Estate to plan a social support workshop aimed at helping people with mental health problems to enhance their socialisation skills.
Meanwhile, a two-day environmental camp called Green Day Workshop organised by CYEP volunteers gave newly arrived young people from mainland China tips on adjusting to life in Hong Kong.
In addition, CYEP volunteers had the opportunity to learn more about social advocacy, disabilities rights and community empowerment by writing a publication for the Alliance of Public Transport Concessionary Fare for the Disabled, a grass-root advocacy alliance formed by over 40 community-based organisations, individuals and groups.
Established in 2005, CYEP has enjoyed remarkable success: with more than 2,000 student volunteers, 2,500 service recipients, and 40,000 service hours. The project allows students to develop a sustained approach to volunteerism, and by serving others, build a sense of belonging and a willingness to contribute to the unity, harmony and stability of a community. 

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