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Community teamworks 2008

I volunteered with a bunch of colleagues for today’s Pizza making session with some teens from the Students’ Care services. The youths ranged from 12 to 18 years old and all of them are troubled children. A couple of them have learning disabilities (dyslexia, autism etc) and have gotten in trouble with the law for petty crime. However, it was heartening to know that the government is trying to steer these youths away from the courts and therefore are making these juvenile dilinquents enter counselling programmes.

Anyway, I was paired with this 13-year old who has autism and therefore, his school teachers weren’t able to handle him and felt that he was disruptive. As such, he was taken out of this ‘normal’ school and enrolled into private tuition….which he calls ‘special school’. However, I learnt from the social worker that he has been on the waiting list to enter the special school for the past 2 years. I was shocked to hear that there aren’t enough special schools for children with autism or any other learning disorders! As much as these children’s stories are relatively sad, I can’t bring myself to pity them. I could go on with each child’s profile…but when you put things into perspective, everyone has issues. We just need to work through them. These youths are seeking help, they are not stupid. They just need guidance. You can tell that their families love them…but they just don’t know how to parent well and to deal with children with issues.

Ok…back to the main point of this entry…which is about the actual pizza making session. We made our pizzas at the cooking school, Palate Sensations, located at Whitbourne Road. It’s just off Portsdown Road and it is such a nice, quiet place to hang out and chill. It doesn’t have that ‘hipness’ associated with Dempseys but its definitely a nice place to visit. My youth is slightly hyper so he was just walking around, doing things and then walking off again. Nonetheless, he’s one who knows what he wants and what he wants to put on his pizza. We were the first one to finish with our thin crust pizza (thanks to my youth) and it was yummy!! You could really see everyone bonding while making the pizza and then eating them. There was this 18 year old (who likes to claim that he’s 19) who cut the veggies like a pro! Wonder whether its because he’s currently working in a fast food restaurant?? Hmm…..

Despite having to wake up early on a weekend, I really enjoyed myself and I hope that the youths enjoyed themselves too. Although I question how my lack of a relationship can make an impact on these children, I’d like to think that no matter how short a period of time we spend with others, we are like a small pebble thrown into a lake – we still make a ripple.

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