Teens get confidence boost through participation in the arts

Teens get confidence boost through participation in the arts
Student volunteers from Students Care Service helped local artist Lee Yun Qin with her 'MoonFlower' installation for i Light Marina Bay 2017.
PHOTO: Students Care Service

It's not common for teenagers to admit that they've done wrong and are working to better themselves.

But a group of 17-year-olds with a passion for the arts have done just that and are changing things up.

Ika Nazirah Mohd Azri had never thought she would be given the opportunity to do something for the arts scene in Singapore.

All that changed when the ITE College Central student got the chance to assist local artist Lee Yun Qin with her 'MoonFlower' installation for the i Light Marina Bay 2017 showcase.

Along with her fellow student leaders from Students Care Service (SCS), a non-profit organisation for children and youth, Ika was able to help "plant" flowers, each powered by its own solar-powered LED light.

"We feel really honoured to be involved and to have played a part in the installation," student volunteer Siti Nur Aldrianie Johan told AsiaOne in an interview.

"If our family visits the place, we can say that we helped set it up." The ITE College East student said she was "mesmerised" by the installation.

i Light Marina Bay is in its fifth edition this year and is Asia's leading sustainable light art festival.

Installed around the Marina Bay waterfront, the light art installations are designed with energy-saving lighting or environmentally-friendly materials to reinforce Marina Bay's position as a sustainable precinct.

Photo: Students Care Service

"It's a different form of the arts that they're exposed to," said SCS (Yishun) senior social worker Cheryl Ong.

She added: "I appreciate how the artist elaborated on the project to the girls. They had a lot of fun assembling the exhibition."

Ms Lee agrees. The artist told AsiaOne via e-mail that she was "really glad to have extra hands" as she set up her 'MoonFlower' installation on Monday night (Feb 28).

"The girls are such an enthusiastic bunch, they really created a fun atmosphere," Ms Lee said of her little helpers. "I hope it inspires giving back to the community through your art and skills, whatever that might be."

(From L-R) Siti Nur Aldrianie Johan, Siti Umairah Hj Kamdi, Ika Nazirah Mohd AzriPhoto: Students Care Service

The girls, who are part of a girls-only club within SCS (Yishun) called 'Hey Belle', also credit the club for turning their life around. The group encourages its student volunteers to participate in projects related to the arts.

Said Siti Umairah Hj Kamdi, another student volunteer: "I feel that (being a part of Hey Belle) has helped change my attitude for the better."

Her schoolmate Ika shared the same sentiment.

"We didn't use to care about our studies and only wanted to have fun, but all that has changed now with Hey Belle," Ika admitted. "We've also stopped hanging out with the wrong crowd. It's for our future so we are happy to do that."

A valuable lesson

Besides helping out on the installation, SCS student leaders and volunteers will be on hand to guide participants at 'Challenge for Children 2017', a night race organised by the centre.

The charity race, which is open to members of the public, is one of the fringe activities of i Light Marina Bay, which will be followed by a dance performance put up by the girls and several student leaders.

Siti said helping out at i Light Marina Bay with her friends Ika and Aldrianie also taught them the importance of working as a team, and they took home a valuable lesson just by working with Ms Lee.

The quietest of the three girls, Siti shared: "Do what you want to do - just like the artist we met. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do anything."

i Light Marina Bay will open from Mar 3 to 26 2017, at 7.30pm to 11pm daily with an extension to 12 midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, around the Marina Bay waterfront promenade. Admission is free. Visit www.ilightmarinabay.sg for more information. For more information on 'Challenge for Children 2017'', click here.

AsiaOne has adopted Students Care Service (SCS) as the official corporate social responsibility beneficiary for 2017 and will continue to support the organisation as its official media partner.

ssandrea@sph.com.sg

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