Students get out of their comfort zone to help those in their neighbourhood, through the Values-In-Action programme at Bartley Secondary School.
For students who do not have the habit of doing housework at home, getting their hands dirty can be an overwhelming experience. But Secondary One students of Bartley Secondary School were not deterred. They headed out to rental flats near the school and sought residents’ permission to clean the exterior of their flats.
By creating opportunities for students to learn through authentic experiences, such as this Values-In-Action (VIA) activity, the school’s Learning for Life Programme (LLP) in Community Youth Leadership Bartley Secondary School aims to nurture leaders who are active contributors in the community.
Empathising with others
In collaboration with MacPherson Community Club, the older rental units at Merpati Road, often occupied by many elderly folk and needy families, were selected for cleaning.
“Many of units were occupied by the elderly, so they rarely clean their windows and gates due to old age aliments. We took this as an opportunity for the students to help,” shared Miss Siti Ramziyani Bte Ramdzan, the Subject Head of Partnership and VIA.
“We wanted it to be a starting point for students to get to know the community better. It raised their awareness of the different living conditions of the less privileged, and helped them to understand how they can make a difference, even if it was just cleaning the exterior spaces of the units,” she explained.
Overcoming initial apprehension
Some students were initially apprehensive. They needed to work in teams and delegate tasks among themselves, but were still getting to know their new classmates in the first half of their secondary one year.
“I was quite nervous. We did not know if we would be able to work well together. But in the end, we managed to complete our tasks successfully,” shared Ramesh Mrityunjay, 13.
“In our groups of four or five, one would be in charge of changing the water in the pail periodically, while the rest of us would split the work – cleaning the door, gates and windows.”
But before they could get down to work, they had to knock on doors to get the agreement of residents. Their efforts were sometimes met with rejection or silence, but the students were not discouraged and would move on to the next unit to try again.
“We learnt to be optimistic about the situation and not take their rejection to heart,” shared Grace Lee, 13.
Having observed students’ enthusiasm and learning Bartley Secondary has made plans to continue the project next year.
“They kept an open mind going in and ended up having fun, and were actually quite keen to do it again!” enthused Miss Siti Ramziyani.