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Buddy’IN is an initiative by the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) that pairs up students in two different schools to boost students’ confidence in socialisation, with the eventual goal of helping them integrate in community settings and prepare them for life after school. In 2019, about 20 Year 3 Vocational (V3) students became buddies with 40 students from ITE College East (ITE CE).
Through the course of a year, students from both schools met regularly to take part in activities that emphasised team work and bonding. Every meeting would include 10 minutes of catching up where Metta students shared how their lives had been since their last meeting with their buddies and vice versa. Although a seemingly small gesture, this routine was integral in fostering a sense of companionship and belonging amongst students.
The many activities included kite flying, camps, message writing and field trips which were all specially chosen and designed to maximise the interaction and bonding between students from both schools. Please see below for the list of all the sessions that students attended:
On the 25th of October, to mark the end of the Buddy IN programme, the students worked together to make gifts and plan fun filled and meaningful activities for the seniors from Thye Hua Kwan. They played games using ping pong balls and cups and put on a fun filled performance that both engaged and entertained the audience. At the end of the day, students saw the seniors off the bus and proceeded to the Buddy IN graduation party and ceremony.
After all the hard work they put in, everyone enjoyed a sumptuous spread where parents were invited to celebrate and witness how the students had grown throughout the experience. After a brief speech by Madam So (Principal of Metta School) and Dr Yek (Principal of ITE college East), students went up to collect their Buddy IN graduation certificates. One of our students – Brendan – even gave a speech in front of both principals, students and teachers from both schools; something not many would have the courage to do.
Students from Metta thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to interact with the ITE students and here’s what some of them had to say:
“I liked making friends with the students from ITE, I felt happy throughout and learned how to help people.” – Syikh Hariz.
“We enjoyed teaching the elderly to participate in our games.” – Justin.
“It was fun and I enjoyed the campfire activity during the Buddy IN camp.” – Kay Kit.
“I was so excited to win the SHINE award and I loved making friends with the ITE students.” – Dowen.
Overall, the Buddy IN initiative achieved its goal of increasing the amount of interaction and bonding between students from special and mainstream education which will hopefully lead to heightened awareness and inclusivity. Although a small event in the grand scheme of things, but it is with numerous tiny acts of kindness that society is shaped.
Last but not least, we would like to thank ITE College East for nurturing a new generation of passionate and kind young people, and SHINE Children and Youth Services for making all of this possible.