Speech by Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat at the Launch of the Heartware Network Sustainable Leadership Development Programme and Youthbank 4.0 on 12 November 2022.
Heartware Network Advisors
Prof Ho Peng Kee and Mrs Yu- Foo Yee Shoon
Heartware Network Chairman
Dr Ting Seng Kiong
Heartware Network Founder
Mr Raymond Huang
Tanoto Foundation Representative
Mr Perry Lim
Ladies and gentlemen,
I see many young faces in the audience today, and others who are young at heart. As our youths are the keys to a better future, we must nurture them and provide many opportunities for growth, so that they can flourish as individuals and be part of a dynamic, caring, and cohesive society. A survey by Heartware Network last year showed that 85% of our youths are optimistic about the future, and many cited the available community and social support as a key enabler. But our youths also have to face the stressors of life, which COVID-19 has exacerbated. So, it is important that they learn to care for themselves and those around them. We must empower our youths to sustain their well-being, take charge of their own future, support one another as peers, and make a positive impact to the community.
One active contributor to the growing youth movement in Singapore is the Heartware Network, whom I am the chief patron of. Heartware Network has been around since the year 2000. At 22 years young, it is into early adulthood, but still very youthful. Over the years, Heartware Network has continued to find new ways to engage and benefit our youths, and to expand and refresh existing programmes.
Today, I am happy to launch the Sustainable Youth Leadership Development Programme, with a pilot for 1,000 youth leaders. We aim to nurture them into strong and resilient community contributors, who appreciate the challenges of the community and actively help those in need. Young participants can develop better community engagement skills, learn how to plan and organise community projects, and be mentored by seniors who have gone before them. The programme will start with youths in East Coast, and will be scaled to the rest of Singapore in the future. To our youths, do make the most of these opportunities to learn and serve. A big thank you to the Tanoto Foundation, for your generous $600,000 donation in support of this programme. The Foundation also made another $300,000 donation earlier this year for another Heartware Network programme, and I look forward to your continued support of the youth cause.
Aside from programmes, a key enabler for Heartware Network is Youthbank, an online portal that matches the passion and interests of our youths with a wide range of community needs. There are currently 25,000 youths on Youthbank, who are contributing around 80,000 hours of volunteer time through the portal annually. So, you can see why Youthbank is central to growing the Heartware Network and the spirit of volunteerism. Started in 2006, the Heartware Network team described Youthbank as their “Pentium chip”. Over the years, Youthbank has undergone several updates. What started as a web portal is now primarily accessed via mobile app with enhanced features. Beyond matching opportunities, Youthbank has also evolved into an online and offline community. Today, we are here to launch the latest iteration – Youthbank 4.0. What started out as a Pentium chip is now the latest Core i9 processor.
Youthbank 4.0 comes with a new interface and enhanced features, and is yet another evolution to turn the mobile app into a “social capital bank”. To further strengthen social capital, Youthbank 4.0 better connects youths who live in the same geography or work in a common industry. This enables communities to connect and organise more effectively. Also new are gamified features where volunteers can earn badges for their contributions as well as coins based on the social impact hours that they have contributed. These coins can be used to sign up for workshops to improve their leadership skills. So, I hope our youths can make use of Youthbank 4.0 to better connect, care, and contribute to our community.
The event today is extra meaningful for me as it is held right here in East Coast. Here in East Coast, my teammates and I have been striving to build a more caring, greener, and more vibrant community. We can succeed only if we are able to galvanise everyone in the East Coast community to play their part, especially our young people. In launching the Sustainable Leadership Development Programme and Youthbank 4.0 here, I hope to better bring the spirit of youth voluntarism to East Coast.
Once again, congratulations to Heartware Network on the launch of Sustainable Leadership Development Programme and Youthbank 4.0. I look forward to our dialogue on youth leadership after this. Thank you very much.
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