Leadership Begins With Me

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Think of a leader you know. How does this leader behave? Is this leader standing above the rest, delivering instructions in a firm voice? Does this leader find time to assure support for others undergoing difficulties? What you probably did not picture is a leader alone, deep in self-reflection.

“I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: Try to please everybody.”

-       Herbert Swope, U.S. Journalist

We put our faith in steady leaders who are in no rush to appease. It scares us to even think of being under the care of leaders who can be unhinged easily, and who let themselves be drifted away by winds of criticism towards popular, unjustifiable decisions. And so, that sense of personal assuredness built through self-reflection and discovery marks the starting point for 20 students from Serangoon Garden Secondary School. These budding leaders have been selected by their teachers to be part of the Heartware – Character and Citizenship Education (HW-CCE) Leadership Programme 2017.

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The students come from different classes (from Technical to Express), so an icebreaker wouldn’t hurt.

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Putera noting down what he felt was his strengths and weaknesses.

Who we are today is a medley of our past experiences, interests, skills, strengths and weaknesses. For these teenagers who may be grappling with identity formation and relationship-centric issues, a most noted skill they wish to gain is to stand in front other others confidently , and share their thoughts openly. They wanted to have a voice. Even if they can talk well, a mental barrier is hard to lift; it takes a lot of self-encouragement to dismiss the nagging feeling that others are judging them in whatever they do.

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Our slightly shy students standing in line to practise projecting their voices across the room.

In their introductory HW-CCE Leadership Programme lessons, the students learnt to listen to their inner selves, recognise support systems and motivations, and attune themselves to varying perspectives. They challenged themselves to communicate well, if not confidently, and identify bad thinking habits that can weigh them down. All these knowledge will be put into serious practice in June, when they will embark on a 2-week apprenticeship with Marina Bay Sands (MBS) Singapore!

On a different note, another group of Heartware Network leaders are well into solidifying their identity as… the Youth Volunteer Council (YVC)!

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Present for the first YVC bonding session! From R to L: Chay Him, Wei Xiong, Shun Rong, Weiying, Ms See Leng, Chia Hui, Joyce and Elena.

YVC members are elected based on their past volunteering experiences holding leadership positions in Heartware Network programmes. The YVC was conceptualised to support Heartware Network in furthering its mission of inspiring, coaching and mentoring youth; it is responsible for strengthening and deepening the ties between past volunteers, the community, and the charity.

The team spent the last weekend of May playing an escape room game at Lockdown SG. Despite the fact that everyone has never attempted such a game before – they managed to escape 15 minutes before time was up! With a team of enthusiastic, sharp and witty young adults, it was no sweat thinking out of the box and reading between the lines. The YVC are still in the ideation stage, with some upcoming projects coming up.

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Don’t underestimate our investigative prowess!

Exciting times lie ahead for all our leaders, both those in the YVC and HW-CCE Leadership Programme. Look forward to their progress in this road to personal excellence!