This is Wei Hao’s story.
Wei Hao started hanging out with gang members when he was 12, playing football together in his neighbourhood. By the time he was 15, he had committed a handful of offences which included trespassing, theft, rioting, house-breaking, and possession of weapons.
At her wits’ end, Wei Hao’s mother hastened the prosecution process as she feared Wei Hao would commit more crimes if his behaviour went unpunished. He was eventually sent to reside in Singapore Boys’ Home (SBH) for two and a half years.
Typically, the story ends here. Many troubled youths find it hard to stay away from negative influence. Some of them lack crucial family support to guide and supervise them appropriately.
However, what makes Wei Hao’s story different is the group of people supporting him to turn his life around.
Seven months into his residence at SBH, Wei Hao was allowed to return to his secondary school to study. It was his caseworker Mr Lua at SBH who moved the school principal as he vouched for Wei Hao’s positive change.
Wei Hao did well academically. He scored distinctions in his GCE ‘N’ levels, ‘O’ levels, made it to the Director’s List in polytechnic, and later the Dean’s List in university. He was offered the Singapore Armed Forces’ academic scholarship while serving National Service, and is now a Air Warfare Officer with the Republic of Singapore Air Force.
Besides Mr Lua, his Aftercare Officer Mr Chang helped to mend the relationship between Wei Hao and his mother. Her unconditional support reminded Wei Hao to never repeat his past mistakes.
Inspired by the help he’s received, Wei Hao was determined to help other youths realise that there is still hope after being sent to Boys’ Home. He now volunteers and speaks with at-risk youths to remind them that success is not easy. It is not one giant, impossible leap, but rather, tiny steps that are committed and resolute.
If you would like to volunteer to help at-risk youths, visit the SG Cares website.