Hello Hello! So, the last step of our Practicum Activities is to provide a short summary of it all. So here goes…

FamChamps, as well as the Practicum Activity has given me the opportunity to step up for my family, as well as for other Singaporean families. It has taught me to be grateful; for my parents, my sister and my extended family.

The Practicum activities were stepping stones for me, allowing me to first acknowledge, work on, and finally honour the relationships I share with the people I love the most.

The Practicum has pushed me to realise that my family is my support system, my connection to my heritage, religion and beliefs, and most of all, a blessing.

I am most grateful for a huge extended family, with grandparents, uncles and aunts, and almost 30 first and second cousins; we are each other’s biggest support in difficult times.

Spending more time with my sister and honouring my parents are now things I practise every day, and it took the simplest of practicum activities to help me realise that my relationship with them needs work.

I remember being told by my mentors on the last day of camp that everything might be so emotional now, and we might all be making promises to ourselves about what we are going to do for our families, but once we resume with our daily lives, it will get increasingly difficult to fulfil these promises.

I remember brushing this off casually, thinking to myself that I would be a “poster-child’ when I got home. I now realise that what the mentors said was absolutely true.

It wasn’t easy at all to understand my parents’ wishes, but I learned to respect them.

It wasn’t easy to tutor my sister, or take time out of my day to talk to her, when I got home from camp, but these little things have now become a habit.

Having to complete the Practicum helped me to slowly but surely improve my relationships with my family. Dealing with arguments, sickness, or the loss of loved ones has been hard on my family, but honouring and loving one another, and being more open has helped us through everything.

I feel a stronger connection to my family, knowing that we have suffered, overcome difficulties, and even celebrated, all together as a family.

This pretty much sums up my FamChamps Journey for the time being, but it doesn’t end there. I intend to continue with the activities and to bond with, honour and cherish my family in the process.

Next stop, AWARDS DAY!!!

Love,
Kavya


Interviewing a FamChamps Mentor

17 November, 2016

Keely served as a mentor in FamChamps 2015 and is part of the organising team for FamChamps Camp 2016. What’s more, two of the students she mentored came back to volunteer in this year’s camp as assistant mentors. Here is her story of how she rebuilt a broken relationship with her dad and uses what she has experienced to encourage other youths today.

  1. How was your relationship with your father previously?I was a mischievous kid and constantly went out till late at night. I had a strained relationship with my dad and after accumulated tension between us, our relationship reached a breaking point one day when I was in Primary 6. I had gone out very early in the morning and only reached home at midnight, my dad was extremely angry as he didn’t like my mom having to worry about me so much. He ended up beating me and pulling my hair.
    That was the start of a period of four years where I didn’t talk to my dad. I didn’t acknowledge him when he returned home from work, and we ate dinner separately. Even on occasions when we had to eat out and sit at the same table, we would not communicate at all.That episode also made me quite bitter with my siblings because none of them came to my aid. My house became a very unfamiliar place to me, nothing more than a shelter to sleep in. I remember many times where I’d rather stay at the playground or go to a friend’s house instead of heading home, because even when I did, I wouldn’t talk to anyone anyway. The idea of “family” felt very foreign to me.
  2. What changed in your relationship with your father?When I was around 17 years old, I went back to church and became a small group youth leader. I began to understand and accept the fact that I needed to forgive and let go of my past hurts. There and then I made a decision to forgive my dad for all that he had done to me. I began talking to him, eating meals together and casually asking about his day. It sure was difficult at first after so many years of not communicating and seemingly having nothing in common to talk about, but I tried taking small steps in hopes of rebuilding my relationship with him.It is also not common in our family to display physical or verbal expressions of love to each other. However, in hopes of reconciling with my dad and becoming a better daughter, I learnt to be more expressive in my appreciation towards him. During a Father’s Day celebration with my family, I gave him a big hug and said “Happy Father’s Day”, and he was pleasantly surprised.

    I think my dad saw the effort in my actions, and so he began to reciprocate and tried to elaborate in his responses to my questions to him. Up till now, we are still constantly making the effort to connect, because we are both often so busy with our own schedules.

  3. What would you say to encourage youths who may be struggling with strained relationships with their parents?Some years ago, I saw my dad applying mediated oil to his shoulder as I walked past his room and so I offered to help him. That was when I realised that he was really getting on in age; I decided then that I should really treasure and honour my dad, instead of letting little things get in the way and fighting with him over trivial matters.Similarly, I would share with these youths that we only have one set of parents, and difficult as it can be, we should appreciate them. We must remember that as we are growing up, our parents are also growing older, and if we don’t honour and appreciate them now, there may come a time when we will no longer have the opportunity to do so. Trying to mend a broken relationship with your parents will definitely be difficult at the start, but you can take baby steps like what I did, trying to make casual talk over meals and expressing your appreciation for them; as you do so, you can be sure that your parents will recognise your efforts and even reciprocate in time.
  4. How do you feel about the students you mentored coming back to serve as assistant mentors in this year’s FamChamps Camp?I was very happy and pleased when I found out they chose to come back and volunteer! It really shows that FamChamps is making an impact in their lives and that they see the value of family. I know that they want to be part of this movement to spread the importance of family and invest into the lives of the next batch of students, and that really encourages me.

By FamChamps Singapore


Hearing from the pioneers

27 February, 2017

Can you believe it – it has been more than three years since FamChamps was birthed in 2014! We caught up with four pioneering FamChamps and asked the 17-year-olds what they have been doing to champion for Family in their own homes and beyond, and also what they hope for FamChamps as a movement. Read on to find out their responses!

  1. What have you been doing to champion for Family?WAH YI
    I have been encouraging my friends to start loving their family and spend more time with them. I am now a good boy in the family and help in household chores wherever I can. I try to get to know my parents better and discuss my feelings with them. I also try to be a good role model for my little brother to follow, and we even study for exams together.

    PRAISE

    After graduating from the programme, I have been trying my best to be an exemplary sister and daughter. I help my siblings with homework, and study hard to make my parents proud.

    HAKIM

    When my friends face problems, especially in their family, I try to provide them a shoulder to lean on and give them advice as a friend. I have also been spending more time with my family. My mum and I jog together in the morning, and it is something I have always wanted to do because I finally have something in common with her. My dad is currently studying so we spend time studying together. I always learn something new from him as he shares with me what he learns, and it's the best feeling ever because I really look up to him.

    JOEY

    I learnt how to communicate with my parents and siblings effectively at the FamChamps camp. After realising that my parents care a lot for us and are always willing to be there for us, I learnt to be understanding towards them. I help my mum at her shop every day as she needs help. Also, since my dad is the sole breadwinner of the family, I take the initiative to bring him out for a nice meal.

  2. What is your hope for FamChamps as a movement?WAH YI
    FamChamps should become a rite of passage for every teen going into adulthood. I hope that through FamChamps, everyone will recognise the importance of family and treasure the one that we have.

    PRAISE

    I hope to see FamChamps grow and expand its reach to not only secondary school students but also to primary school students, so that we can see more Family Champions in Singapore.

    HAKIM

    I hope FamChamps will grow and reach out to the community, and that more schools and students will get involved. Since it is a movement, I feel that it should be made known to everyone what our goal is and how we can achieve it together as a community.

    JOEY

    I really hope that FamChamps will grow to a larger scale to impact the lives of more youths and equip them to be the change in their family.

Wah Yi is waiting to commence his studies in Digital Game & Design at Temasek Polytechnic. He enjoys penny boarding, drawing, listening to music, and exercising.

Currently studying in Nanyang Junior College, Praise loves spending time with her friends and family, and enjoys music and sports. Her goal is to give her parents a comfortable life in their old age and take them traveling.

Hakim's childhood dream is to explore the world and meet new people, and studying Nautical Studies at Singapore polytechnic will allow him to pursue both his passion and dream. He enjoys catching up with loved ones during his free time.

Joey is looking forward to her Early Childhood & Child Psychology course at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, and aspires to give back to society. Her hobbies include singing, watching YouTube videos and Korean dramas, and sleeping.

 


Be exposed to our spectrum of FamChamps programmes first-hand by getting our team to conduct FamQuest or a family life workshop in your school. Find out more at www.famchamps.sg, or contact us at [email protected].


© 2017 FamChamps Singapore. All rights reserved.

By FamChamps Singapore


CONTACT DELIA AT [email protected] OR CALL 6491 0722 FOR MORE DETAILS

**The FamChampsTM Programme is specially designed for youths between 13-15 years. Schools/ organisations are recommended to send participants in groups of 8

“I shared my own story of my family with my classmates during reflection. It is the first time I’ve ever done that. This camp allowed my inner self to speak whatever I felt, I have never felt so free before.”
– Alson, Commonwealth Secondary School

Hear from FamChamps from 2015 and 2016 intake, and find out what they’ve learnt about family through FamChamps.


The joy of having family support during tough times

18 May, 2017

We all face struggles and go through difficult times in life, but when we have the support of family members and are reminded that we’re not alone, these struggles don’t seem so daunting anymore. We also learn to appreciate the unique encouragement of our family members. Two FamChamps students, Paul and Juliet, share their stories of love and family support.

PAUL

I remember one instance when the love, trust and support of my family members helped me through a difficult time.

After the release of my end-of-year exams in 2015, I found out I had to retain a year due to my bad grades. Though on the surface I tried to put on a front that I was alright and unfazed, the truth was that it made me depressed. Those were the darkest days of my life.

I expected my mother and brother to nag at me as they always have. While I know that they do so out of love and concern for me, my self-esteem was already at its lowest and I did not want to be reminded of my failures and flaws.

Surprisingly, my brother was very understanding and didn’t nag at me like I had anticipated. Instead, he gave me advice on how to improve on my school work, and encouraged me to work hard and not give up. He assured me that hard work can trump talent; if I persisted in working hard, I would see the fruits of my labour in time. The things he said were crucial in helping me cope with the pain of retaining.

It was wonderful to hear my brother say, “It’s fine, what matters is who scores better in the ‘O’ levels,” as he had previously warned me, “Don’t retain, it’s a waste of one year”. Knowing that he did these things to comfort me made me happy and helped me know that I was important to him. I am very thankful to my brother for supporting me in his own special way through that very trying period of my life.

JULIET

In February 2011, my mother gave birth to my fourth and youngest brother, Joseph. I have always found children a joy, but the feeling of having Joseph in my life is uniquely its own. He is my greatest blessing.

When I first entered secondary school, I found it very difficult to adapt to the new and foreign environment, and struggled with my disappointment at my PSLE grades. Ever since I was a young child, it was hard for me to control my emotions when trying times arose, and this time of adjustment was no exception. I was going through a very rough time, often crying and resenting myself for my poor results.

Whenever Joseph wanted a playmate, he would come knocking on my door. Time and time again, playing with him brought me back to when I was four years old, when I felt as carefree as he was. These times made me feel as though the dark clouds had lifted, and all was happy and well again.

There was this instance, when I was at my all-time low, and I had the negative thought of ending this misery once and for all. Then, hearing a knock on the door, I instantly knew it was Joseph. I quickly wiped away my tears and closed the window, before turning around to open the door for him to come in.

In the midst of our playtime, he asked why I had cried, and the only response I could muster was that something bad had happened in school. Naïvely, he giggled, “Good thing, I no need go school. Don’t cry already, when you want to cry, you must think of happy times like these! Also, remember that I love you Juliet!” Then, pushing his toys aside to clear a path to me, he gave me a tight hug and placed a peck on my cheek.

Though small and simple, this act of kindness and love meant the world to me. He and his words of innocence will always have special place in my heart, and they give me the courage I need to keep going. Every time I feel like crying, thinking of him makes me feel better. This is just one of the many instances where Joseph’s innocent love became my strength when the waves of life hit me hard.

© 2017 FamChamps Singapore. All rights reserved.

Paul is currently studying at Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road). He enjoys playing rugby and listening to music.

Juliet currently studies at Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School (Secondary). She aspires to become a psychologist one day, and enjoys watching movies and listening to music.

By Samantha Chin