How To Support Children Through Online Engagements
Heartware Network is a charitable youth organisation that has been supporting vulnerable children through Heartware Tuition Programme for the last 12 years. With the help of hundreds of youth volunteers, Heartware Network supports these children by instilling them with positive values and character, and assisting them when they face academic challenges through weekly tutoring sessions.
Chua Pei Rui from River Valley High School is volunteering to help 2 students from St Anthony’s Primary School.
In light of the Covid-19 circuit breaker, support for this group of children has moved online through volunteer befriending on Telegram to make sure no child gets left behind. The children are supported through daily engagements with Heartware volunteer befrienders, as well as weekly academic support spanning 1.5 to 2 hours.
Chua Pei Rui, a Heartware volunteer currently in Year 5 (JC1) at River Valley High School (RVHS), shared that the experience was memorable for her as it allowed her to gain insight into how younger children think and behave. As the youngest in the family, she did not have much interaction with children outside this online engagement. Pei Rui is currently volunteering to help 2 girls from St. Anthony’s Primary School.
Pei Rui shared that one of her students was especially thankful when she helped her with her school homework, as the student did not have anyone in her family to guide her in her learning. In addition to helping her with school, Pei Rui talks to her students about their hobbies and how the child is doing at home. She discovered a shared love of basketball with one of her students, and found out that they both enjoy watching the same YouTube channel. By showing care and concern for her students, Pei Rui is able to take on the role of an older sister whom the children can turn to for support.
Mustaqueem is supporting a pair of brothers from St Anthony’s Primary School.
Mustaqueem, previously from Anglo-Chinese Junior College and awaiting university admission, started the volunteer befriending on 8 April with a pair of brothers in Primary 5 and 6. “I was told that the children I was befriending would be quite shy and reserved,” shared Mustaqueem. “Despite their shy personalities, I am thankful that the children are quite prompt in their responses. During weekly academic sessions, it was heartening that they put in effort in trying the questions and they would clarify with me. In weeks to come, I hope to know them more personally.”
“The interaction on Telegram has been quite fun. It is more interactive than Whatsapp as I can use Telegram stickers to engage the children in a friendlier and more casual way. I also like that Telegram is more private as we can interact without showing our private numbers,” said Geraldine Koh, a year 5 student from RVHS, who started the volunteer tutoring on 8 April.
Geraldine is supporting 3 primary 6 students from St Anthony’s Primary School.
“Even though we are unable to meet the children face-to-face due to the Covid-19 situation, it is still a fruitful experience. I see the children I befriended as friends and I hope that they see me as an older friend. Despite the constraints faced, I am able to support the children weekly with their academics by asking them questions to guide them to the right answer. The children have been participating quite enthusiastically too.”
Since 2009, Heartware Network has been partnering with primary schools and community organisations to provide weekly academic support for children, through the help of youth volunteer tutors. In 2019, Heartware Network supported 434 primary school children from 38 primary schools and 5 community organisations.