ThinkSeries Leaders' Sharing
Joyce Cheung, St. Paul’s Secondary School
Changes! I want changes! Everyone yearns for changes. But it is not practical to just sit there and scream for your wants. To put action into words, I have decided to enroll on ThinkSeries 2012 Leadership programme and made a change by being one of the ThinkSeries leaders 2012.
The day that I came for the interview is still fresh in my memory. I remembered that I was given a paper with a question, in what ways that you can encourage people to devote themselves in volunteer works and not just care about benefits and loss. We then went into groups and started out discussion. Five minutes later, we were required to present out ideas to a group of adjudicators. It seems like it just happened yesterday. I originally thought that I won’t have the chance of being admitted to this programme as I could have done better on that day. Yet, a call from ThinkSeries, telling me that I was being selected started my exhilarating adventure. I was thoroughly flabbergasted and immediately, I knew that it was time for me to be an authentic leader.
With my great excitement and enthusiasm, I went to the first meeting where we, 18 leaders first clustered around. I was wildly glad to be assigned to help with the charity organization called St. James’ Settlement (SJS). Our group was designated to help with the underprivileged children. My teammates and I made great effort in proposing our first idea to SJS with full confidence - organize a play-day event for underprivileged children. Nevertheless, our idea was not accepted at first trial. We held a false belief that children want to go to theme parks. Frustrations were running through our heads. But we still pulled ourselves together. We cogitated, discovered that SJS is actually urgently needing a batch of volunteers instead of an one-day-event. And finally we came up with a brand-new idea – a volunteer campaign.
This campaign aimed at training a batch of volunteer fanatics which can help SJS to deal with the problem of deficiency of volunteers. We named them “Igniters”, hoping that they will bring a ray of hope to those underprivileged children. In order to provide our igniters the indispensable volunteer skills, we held a training session for them and have invited 2 social workers So Fan and Emily to give us professional guidance. After the invigorating training session, our igniters were ready to twinkle themselves in our first function – the “Love & Joy Lunch buffet”. We have never joined such a magnificent and enormous event. A total of 2000 plus children were invited and we enjoyed a series of performances by those underprivileged children. After this, the stereotyping towards the children was certainly defeated and we gained a lot from it.
After all the hard work in the campaign, our very last ThinkSeries 2012 grand finale was waiting for us. Bearing the role as a stage manager of the finale, I took up my responsibilities and devoted everything I can to it. From designing the rundown, planning the division of labor, ordering plaques, I almost went lunatic with all those heavy workloads. Yet, I really learned so much from this. It was a once-in-a-lifetime-experience to hold such a big event by our bare hands. We need to think on how to attract audiences with an alluring rundown. I sometimes even wanted to give up and ditched all the works aside. But still, I was proud and blessed to have the other 17 leaders accompanying me in getting through these quandaries and perplexities.
Our ThinkSeries 2012 finale was finally accomplished and consummated with a flawless ending. I am now still intoxicated with the voices of the crowd which rose into one universal salvo. May I now make a deep obeisance to all the ThinkSeries leaders 2012? Without you, I surely cannot outwear these toilsome days. I had had great fun with you and you know what, every single of us have changed and grown up. We became more mature and knew how to cooperate with one another by listening and accepting mistakes that we have taken. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” People, it’s time for you to be the change.
Dorothy Ho, Yew Chung International School
After a few months of hard work, the program is finally over. I am proud of myself for being able to serve the community. Nevertheless, I felt a trace of guilt inside of me as the program prepared by our (HKPA) group has not been successfully held. During the past months, my group members and I had been organizing a program for Hong Kong Parents Association with the aim of enhancing the communication between parents and students. We thought we had considered every minor details of the program, Nonetheless, there was something which was oblivious to us earlier. Everything was ready, we had even printed out the posters for advertisement and given out the application forms. Right then, something unexpected happened. When the deadline for applying for the program drew close, we realized we didn’t have enough participants to join our activity. Therefore, the event was forced to be cancelled. All of us were really disappointed at the result, as well as the small number of participants.
Although the event was not held, I enjoyed gaining more knowledge and skills in the process of working with my teammates. I started to understand holding an event is not an easy job, we have to consider a lot of factors, take courage and be really careful at making decisions.
I will treasure the skills which I have acquired from the program, but there is something more from this leadership program which I built. It is friendship.
Right from the start of the program, I felt like I was the odd one out when we, the leaders started to communicate with each other. I guess this was probably because I am the only one from international school, where I don’t share similar topics as them when it comes to talking about school lives. However, during the leadership camp, all of us drew closer with each other and I have realized that there are endless topics we share.
Meeting friends outside school is something that I have achieved. It was a brand new experience for me since most of my friends are from the school I study in. Speaking with my new friends, I have learnt many things that I didn’t know before when my main social environment was my school and almost most of the people I talk to were my classmates. I didn’t expect to be building up such a close relationship to the other leaders, I want to thank them for giving me such a wonderful time and memories.
Kelly Kong, Christian Alliance S. C. Chan Memorial College
To be honest, 3 months ago, I was still unwilling to involve all of myself in this team. Not only the long hour and long distance travel which bothered me, but also the stressful and boring ambiance and the slow pace without end that scared me. And it was not until when we realized that we didn’t have much time to go and so we really got down to work on the projects of the charity organization we are responsible for and also the preparation work for our Grand Finale.
That’s when we started to change ourselves step by step - not only the attitude, but also our entire life.
This is called youthhood.
And now, I can proudly say that I am one of the 18 ThinkSeries leaders. The time working with all the others is treasurable. They are all capable, helpful and friendly. I still remember when all of us were busy handling our own duties in Wiseman office. There were several things I hadn’t finished and I panicked inside. You can never imagine how touched I was when my “fighting sisters and brothers” helped me voluntarily without mentioning and didn’t even look for a “thank you”. I have learnt a lot from them – their way and efficiency of dealing with problems, communicating and associating with friends, with us. And I must say, I admire them all and I am grateful to have met them.
I was also given a precious chance to adopt what we have to help the charity organization. Mine was Hong Kong Blind Union. I, together with Pimpen, Albert and Brian, were asked to finish an MV of the theme song for the organization and do works on the ebook which is their focus, a programme helping the visually impaired people to read. These two tasks are both new jobs to us. We were actually working through learning. Nevertheless, we enjoyed it. We enjoy the time when we work until midnight to finish an ebook. We enjoyed when we stayed together to discuss and work. We enjoyed the time when it was the first time for four of us to film an MV and work with a visually impaired person and played together with the toy lion like kids. And finally, we enjoyed the time when we could tell the others what we could do and what we have done and achieved and how much we have enjoyed it in OUR Grand Finale.
I have changed. I have grown. I have my life filled with colours which are painted by all 18 of us. I have got the unique and fresh and valuable experiences with the charity, visually impaired people and the 18 leaders and all the others in the society. I have bore the pressure of standing all those important roles – handling the powerpoints and name tags and attendant lists and the fact sheet and video taking and editing – for the Finale. I have gained the lovely relationship with all the leaders and organizations’ members where we could find nowhere else. I can now tell the others that I have made a change and improved the society. So, now, why can’t you? Believe me, you can also be the change to help the society. Take action now.
Gino Lai, Kwai Chung Methodist College
The long awaited grand finale has finally come to an end. 18 of us did enjoy during the whole process.
To me, it is really a precious opportunity indeed. Learning from others, especially all these great elites really helped me knowing my weaknesses and my strengths. Never did I realize how caring and innovative the students could be until the day I got a chance to be admitted. During the programme, I found my position. I found my ability. And, I found myself. We have gone through the hardships and tears preparing works and serving the charity. We gained not only the chance to get into the society, but also built up true friendships with my beloved group mates. They really made the days we worked together happier and more unforgettable. When cooperating, laughter came together when we were together! We were willing to share our feelings and our little secret with others and others were willing to listen!
It is so amazing that we were actually a group of strangers at the very beginning. Because of the hard efforts together and frequent contact, we really became good companions.
Whatever when we will meet and work again, I believe that our spirit will never change!
Albert Leung, Wah Yan College, Kowloon
Honestly, during the finale, many words spoken touched my heart, for the words were from the bottom of their heart. I partnered with Alex Wong in the music video, it was my first time interacting with a visually impaired, and when he said to us, to the crowd at the finale, “Though we are blind, we are the same as everyone.” I recalled the day we were together, and I totally agree with him. Hearing him describe how e-books help visually impaired students in many ways, which we worked on as well, the feeling is indescribable. You know it helps them, but you need to hear it from the user first handedly.
Ricky was from the charity organization Hong Kong Blind Union, his words was a bit harsh, but I appreciate his directness to us, I may have been playful at times, and hopes he forgives me. The message I received was, “Doing services doesn’t have to be direct with the clients, or spending a day with them, with the spare time and a computer, you can already help those that are needed.” This was a lesson to me, in fact, many of the ideas I or our team proposed originally, were all events and programmes, but I enjoyed the experience of making e-books and the feeling of helping others.
My deepest thanks to Ricky and Alex for your kind-hearted feedbacks and guidance and I will learn from these experiences and become a better leader.
Pimpen Tu, Maryknoll Convent School (Secondary Section)
Being one of the ThinkSeries Leaders 2012 has been a very unforgettable experience. It has given me an opportunity to meet many great people and make new friends. Before joining the programme, I never thought that I was capable of doing so many things. I have learnt how to become a more confident and responsible person.
Although there were times that were very tiring and tough, I would still choose to do it over again. All the memories I had from this leadership programme is something I will definitely cherish. I will never forget how we all met the first day, how we tried to get to know more about each other in the training camp and definitely how we all worked hard together to make the finale a successful one.
I would like to thank everyone for their help. It was really fun working with all the other 17 leaders. I hope everyone had as much fun as I did and I wish everybody all the best.
Vanessa Wu, Pope Paul VI College
Be the Change!! The 2012 leadership Programme ended with this slogan, which was also the faith indeed of our belief. We tried something we never dreamed to do, and we took our first step to try to be the change. Throughout the entire Programme, we discovered the needs of the charity group, we built up friendship with leaders and we recognized our ability.
The charity group I served and experienced was not a typical group. We weren't helping those with physical needs, but we were serving an organization that help people who is the closest in our lifetime, our parents. Maybe you never imagined that our parents need help in one day, however, they do.
This time, I was provided with the opportunity to understand the needs of parents. With the co-operation of the Hong Kong Parents Association, I gave out my leisure time, but I received something that was more valuable afterwards, experiences and understanding. Through the process, we faced tasks and obstacles that will not happen in our school life, we learnt to handle them and solve them finally. The skills and experience will definitely be useful in the future.
This year, I am 16 and I took my first step to go forward and be the change. Ladies and gentlemen, it is your turn to take action, Be The Change.
Dorothy Yim, St. Paul’s Convent School
Isn’t it unmistakable that changes happen regardless of whether or not my attitudes alter? Doesn’t the technology advance and progress on its own? How could it not be true that the globe warms itself up? Discriminations and stereotypes are none of my business; Misunderstandings and prejudice will never affect me…
Sitting still, waiting with patience, listening attentively… were what I considered the criteria to become a successful leader. Those were what I’ve always been practising, but absolutely not what I should have been doing. And it's ThinkSeries Leadership Programme that has made me realized this. It's the theme of the year "Be the Change" which has proven me wrong.
Providing us with the opportunities to work with charity organizations, the programme has enlightened me and diverted my attention and concern towards the underprivileged and neglected in the society. Co-organizing activities with Yang Memorial Methodist Social Service was an entirely new and rewarding experience for me. Not only have I developed a stronger sense of awareness towards those who require assistance, I have also learnt from those I met during my service, irrespective of their races, religious beliefs or social statuses. Responding to my own dreams with persistence and vivacity was but one of the lessons my service target – a group of Nepalese boys under 12, all passionate about playing football – has taught me.
Producing flashcards for Nepalese families was an idea initiated by leaders from my group of four, and with togetherness, we have switched this dream into reality. From designing to translating, from formatting to printing, my team members and I have paid tremendous effort in reaching the seemingly-impossible-to-reach star. The knowledge and insight that this process has brought us is beyond what words can adequately convey. Being flexible and embracing changes, be it concerning one’s personality and attitudes, be it related to external circumstantial factors, is vital for all capable-leader-wannabes. Despite that several barriers have hindered us on our voyage, we, the dynamic and exuberant generation, were able to overcome impediments and had our hard work paid off. Written on the hundred sets of handy flashcards we made, which consist of wordings related to local food and culture, facilities, as well as common phrases for daily usage, are the Nepali language, English, Chinese and Cantonese pronunciation of words. The flashcards are useful for the newly immigrated Nepalese families in communicating with locals. Through making such educational tools for people of ethnic minorities, we have taken one step further in helping them integrate into this multi-cultural society.
Apart from serving the community, we leaders were also responsible for the whole ThinkSeries Charity Showcase 2012, from designing tee-shirts to booking the venue, from logistics management to contacting the presses. There was once when I thought that this mission would be impossible; there were times when hopelessness drew me to an absolute frustration, when immense pressure and guilt overrode me, when the scarcity of time defeated me… and the story went on. But every time when I imagine the joy and sense of satisfaction the Grand Finale would bring us, I felt like bringing a child to this wondrous world, and this was where my motivation to work came from.
Contacting presses has been no easy task for me, an introvert. Apart from my reluctance to speak to strangers, my tendency of striving-for-perfection-in-an-overly-extreme-manner has resulted in the procrastination of the sending of press releases before the Grand Finale, causing no press to publish it before our event. The “cruel” fact that all presses have turned down our invitations to our showcase has also upset other leaders, which made me felt terribly guilty. Nevertheless, all of them have been very supportive and the failures that I encountered endured were, to my utmost surprise, significant in serving as a foil to the happiness and freshness we receive when seeing our first post-event press release and group photo on Wen Wei Po. My role as the leader of the press team has helped me see beyond my inadequacies, and assisted me as I began to identify my potentials and strengths, which I am going to further develop and hone. Starting is what makes all the difference. An ordinary can become the extraordinary if only one strived with his courage and embrace changes he wishes to see. Personally I have taken the first step to become a more confident and courageous person when I welcomed the job of phoning and speaking to editors and reporters from presses, and I believe more changes regarding my personality are yet to come.
While the Finale marks the end of this year’s programme, I believe it isn’t an ending point. Rather, I’d like to view it as a watershed, one that separates the modern from the out-dated. I was determined to start a new page in life. The charity showcase served as a platform for us young leaders to display vibrancy and exuberance, which are often intertwined with youthfulness. It was where principals, teachers and parents acknowledged us, where we shone on stage and turned our dreams into reality, and where our capabilities and abilities were evident. Despite that not every single person who showed up would be able to respond to our endeavours with great enthusiasm and a firm will to solicit community involvement, none of us will ever be discouraged. “Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant”, I am hopeful and with faith that the seeds we sow on the audience’s hearts will sprout one day.
Thank you, ThinkSeries 2012, for without the memories you bring, my youth-hood shall never be complete. The precious moments of collaborating with my fellow teammates will certainly stay fresh in my mind for a very long time, if not a lifetime. I feel beyond blessed to have been admitted to this year’s programme and I take pride in those I met and worked with here, all of whom have been, are, and always will be, outstanding and talented in different fields.
Changes do happen regardless of the alteration in one’s attitudes, but it is crystal-clear that positive changes in our personalities can bring about a myriad of optimistic impacts. Discriminations, stereotypes, misunderstandings and prejudice are all topics we come across in our everyday life – by expressing our concern to the underprivileged, it is possible that we can free the needy from their everyday afflictions once and for all.
Youngsters of today are often considered as the uncaring and cold generation. It seems as if we’re all indifferent towards social issues. But this is not the case. To continue lighting the world and make it shine with justice and harmony requires more than the 18 of us paying time and effort. You, dear readers, can be the catalysts in contributing to the diminishing of discriminations, stereotypes, misunderstandings and prejudice. Please note that it is impossible to spell “youth” without “you”.