THE METHODIST CHILDREN & YOUTH CENTRE
Meeting growing needs of the community
By TAN KHYE SUAN
Lessons on discipline and hard work. -- MCYC picture.
Happy faces at the renovated Student Care Centre. -- MCYC picture.
THE newly-renovated Methodist Children and Youth Centre (MCYC) in Bukit Batok is enhancing its programmes this year to meet the growing needs of the community.
As a community-based project focused on children and youth, it will also be exploring to expand its school-based social work.
It is located at the void decks of Blks 106 and 107 in Bukit Batok Town. The premises were originally used by the Methodist Church of the Incarnation (MCI) as a family service centre. Barker Road Methodist Church (BRMC) took over the premises in 1996 when MCI moved to its new premises at Teck Whye Lane.
The MCYC is now a joint community-based project of the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) and BRMC. It focuses its social work among children and youth, especially those from disadvantaged and dysfunctional families, with social, emotional and developmental problems. The basis of MCYC's social work is founded on the desire to share Christian love to the community.
Currently, the MCYC runs a Student Care Centre at Blk 107, Bukit Batok Town, looking after primary school children whose parents need to work and are unable to look after them in the day. It also has a Youth Centre, a drop-in place for secondary school students after school hours, which is located at Blk 106.
The MCYC also runs counselling, group work and other remedial programmes for three government secondary schools in Bukit Batok.
It is relaunching its Youth Centre this month, requiring youths to be members in order to use the centre's facilities. While membership is free, youths will have to attend monthly life-skill training programmes and participate in community projects in order to continue as members. The life-skill programme will cover key adolescence issues such as identity, self-esteem, family relationship, communications, boy-girl relationship, sex and abstinence.
The new Computer Centre will give youths from disadvantaged families access to IT facilities to do their homework and controlled Internet access for their school projects. Selected computer games, with limited playing time, will also be made available to these youths so that they can have varied recreational facilities at the centre.
The Youth Café will be a place for the youths to "hang out". There are plans to have the youths run the café with their own menu of drinks and snacks. There are also plans to install a jukebox for them to enjoy their favourite songs. Youths can enjoy their favourite indoor activities like table tennis, carom and board games. The MCYC's social workers will help youths, individually or in groups, as adolescence issues and problems are surfaced.
The MCYC will continue with the Tuition-Befriending programme for youths. In this programme, volunteers coach weak students from poor family background in their studies. At the same time, volunteers act as mentors for these students and help their wards beyond the realm of education. There is a Study Room that provides a place conducive for youths to do self-study.
With the renovation completed, the MCYC will launch the Learning Centre programme in mid-2003. This programme is intended to help children with mild learning difficulties such as dyslexia, autism, attention deficit and hyperactive disorder to read basic English so that they can comprehend basic instructions.
Three programmes will underpin the activities of the Student Care Centre. A subsidised tuition programme has been incorporated to help the children in their studies while they are at the centre. In this way, parents of these children need not worry about their studies when they go home. Instead these parents will be encouraged to spend quality time with their children.
The Character First programme will be continued as part of the centre's emphasis on moral education and character building. The centre has also adopted the principles of Positive Parenting Programme to manage the children. This is a programme designed by the Parenting and Family Support Centre at the University of Queensland, Australia.
Tan Khye Suan is the Acting Head of the Methodist Children and Youth Centre.