Finding her calling in helping youths overcome adversity, Babes social worker shares why she became a Social worker
1. Social work was not your starting career path, why did you do a career switch to join the social service?
Before I joined the Social service, I was working in a local telecom company. While the job was promising in climbing the corporate ladder, I asked myself then: ‘What next?’ It felt empty. I thus went in search of a new career path, looking for a job that can give me more meaning and purpose beyond just monetary benefits. During then, I had the opportunity to connect and interact with youths-at-risk during a volunteer activity. Being able to mentor teenagers and guide them to achieve their dreams, in those few short hours, I felt an immense sense of achievement. I really enjoyed the experience and felt that I have found my calling. I applied for a job at a non-profit and as they say, the rest is history.
2. What do you personally view to be the greatest challenge you face in your job?
My own personal challenge was managing my own expectations. Many of the youths I work with have so much untapped potential that I feel driven to push them to reach that potential. So much so that I forget sometimes that I am not in their shoes. It is important to give them the space to learn and grow. I learnt that it is essential to have the readiness to trust the youth’s capacity to direct their own learning such as trusting that they can care for the baby on their own after all the necessary guidance has been provided accordingly. Ultimately, we want to empower youths to be independent and for that, there needs to be trust and respect in our relationship working with them.
3. What motivates you and keeps you going in this line of work?
My own personal life experience and struggles kept me going. I have family members who has been through similar situations and I can relate to how such challenges can affect lives and tear families apart when they do not have a support network to fall back on. Working with these teenagers, I want to ensure that no one should feel helpless or marginalised.
4. Was there a case that stayed with/inspired you?
There are so many cases that stayed with me. One case that I kept close to my heart was a 17-year-old girl whose family was torn apart because they disapproved of her relationship with her boyfriend. All trust was lost and they were trying to force her into getting an abortion. We journeyed with her and her family for more than a year. Through several interventions such as counselling, we worked with them to come up with a resolution where they will not lose one another. Eventually, the familial relationship was repaired, there was forgiveness and acceptance and the family was even closer than before. It was like a fairy tale. Having witnessed their journey and knowing their ups and downs, it truly reminded me that the love of family is life’s greatest blessing.
5. What is the one thing you would like the public to know about working in the Social service?
I know that the Social service sector is generally not as attractive as other sectors as a career prospect but to me, seeing lives being empowered and witnessing the positive change in them is a beautiful experience and it keeps me going till today. I strongly believe with the right guidance and support, our youths have the capacity to build resilience and grow from adversity.
6. What are your hopes/dreams for Babes?
My hope and vision for Babes is to bridge the gap by engaging in upstream work and reaching out to at-risk youths. If we can create a platform for action where we can have difficult conversations and facilitate dialogue on shared concerns, we can then support them with the necessary resources.