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Helping Old Soles Find New Life
Values in Action (Individual Programme)
By Low Yu Yenn
Individual Programme (Gymnastics), Secondary 4
Just before school closed for the year, student-athletes from the Individual Programme sports participated in a Values in Action project. This project was held over the course of two separate days, 5 and 11 November 2020, and took place both in and out of school. A total of 31 student-athletes from various sports – Golf, Gymnastics, Ice Skating, Pencak Silat, Sport Climbing, Squash, Taekwondo, Weightlifting and Wushu – worked well together as a team to ensure a successful and meaningful activity for each of us.
We chose to do something sport-related and it was timely that ActiveSG had just launched their “Old Shoe New Future” initiative, a nationwide effort to recycle old shoes into materials used for jogging tracks, playgrounds and even fitness corners. The ActiveSG project not only sought to reduce waste, but also contribute to the building of environmentally-friendly sport infrastructure. At the same time, we went a step further to lend a hand to the “In My Shoes” project started by alumna Dipna Lim Prasad, where donated shoes are given to those underprivileged.
Collecting the shoes was definitely not an easy job, but working as a team enabled us to pull through this challenge. The 31 of us split up into eight groups; each group was allocated to different residential areas around the neighbouring Woodgrove estate. Fliers were designed and distributed in an appeal for donations, before returning a week later to collect shoes from households. The collected shoes were then sorted and cleaned shoes for the two organisations. Those shoes that were still presentable and reusable were cleaned thoroughly for In My Shoes, while those that were more worn out were set aside for ActiveSG.
Walking around the neighbouring estate under the hot sun lugging large, heavy bags of shoes for about 4 km definitely made the activity more memorable. Drenched with perspiration and legs heavy from the additional weight, we pressed on and did not stop till our tasks for the day were completed knowing that we were doing this for a good cause.
This VIA activity taught me the value of compassion as I learnt that we should do our best to contribute back to the society as much as possible, and every little action of ours can actually make a difference to another person’s life.
Being in charge of this VIA project also trained my management skills in addition to character growth. My first time leading such a big project involving two external organisations was certainly an eye-opener. I had the help of three other schoolmates but even finding a common time to meet was a challenge due to our busy schedules. Through this opportunity, I also gained more confidence as I had to give a briefing in front of many people, which is not an easy thing for me as I am usually quieter in nature.
“This activity made me more aware of the needs of the community. Being able to help the less-privileged gave me a sense of satisfaction and happiness,” said Steffi Chan Min, Gymnastics, Secondary 2.
“It was meaningful to collect, clean and donate the shoes to those who are in need of new shoes, as well as reuse them for things like running tracks. Though it was quite tiring, I was happy to be able to do my part for society,” said Kho Tong-Yu, Gymnastics, Secondary 4.
“I was touched by the residents living in Woodgrove as they patiently gave their time to listen to us as we explained about our VIA project and kind-heartedly parted with their unused shoes. I was happy to be able to be part of this shoe donation drive, collecting old and unused shoes, knowing that it has a positive impact on society and less-fortunate children as they will have a pair of shoes for their daily use. I am definitely inspired by Dipna who started the In My Shoes initiative and hope I, too, can make a difference in future,” said Muhammad Aiman Mohamad Azhar, Weightlifting, Secondary 4.