HPB increases opportunities for youth-to-community participation

SINGAPORE - To tap on youths' natural desire to create positive change in their surrounding environment, the Health Promotion Board's (HPB) Youth Health Ambassador Programme is launching a new initiative to encourage more youths to give back to the community.

This is following research indicating that youths feel most empowered when involved in activities and decisions that affect their immediate environment and community, HPB said.

Called 'What Youths Can Do', the programme is in collaboration with the four secondary schools located in the Marsiling constituency: Fuchun Secondary School, Marsiling Secondary School, Siling Secondary School and Woodlands Secondary School.

Under the programme, students will be guided and mentored by adult health ambassadors and have the opportunity to be involved in health outreach efforts in the community around their schools.

In addition to assisting the adult health ambassadors to conduct simple health checks for residents visiting the Community Centre (CC), they will also co-lead healthy activities such as exercise classes and brisk walking.

Outreach activities will also be conducted with the help of youths to advocate for a smoke-free environment under the Blue Ribbon initiative.

Mr Ang Hak Seng, Chief Executive Officer of HPB, said the programme will also make youths more confident, hone their leadership qualities and give them opportunities to excel in areas that are not solely academic.

He added that Government agencies, self-help groups, community organisations and private businesses should do their part to bring youths together, work with them and mentor them.

What Youths Can Do is part of HPB's broader blueprint to develop the Marsiling constituency as a health promoting ecosystem.

Other initiatives include developing healthier choice food outlets and offering customised health programmes which include nutrition workshops and healthier food trails at the CC.

HPB aims to train 1,000 student youth ambassadors in secondary schools across Singapore and facilitate their involvement in their communities under the What Youths Can Do programme by the end of 2015.

yamadak@sph.com.sg

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