400 youths geared up to be a voice for the voiceless


Citi-YMCA Youth For Causes 2018 (YFC) was launched on Wednesday 16 May 2018 with Mdm Halimah Yacob, President of the Republic of Singapore gracing the event as the Guest of Honour. To symbolise a flying start by the participants, over 600 attendees released spin-tops into the air of the launch ceremony.

Highlights of the evening include a special performance by the YMCA Special Talents, Arts and Recreation Society (Y Stars), and the screening of a video showcasing the best moments of the team selection interviews.

Mr Vikram Subrahmanyam, Head of Operations and Technology, Citi Asia Pacific, said the programme is more importantly a “platform to build youth leaders with a heart for others and be active contributors to society”, during his welcome address.

“True to this year’s theme of ‘Be the Voice’, we hope that you will be the voice, the champion for the communities that matter to you.”

A total of 117 of 131 registered teams participated in the Citi-YMCA Youth for Causes (YFC) Selection Interviews held on 28 April 2018, but only 100 teams were selected to “be the voice”and given a seed funding of $1,600 to promote and raise funds for their chosen social service organisation (SSO) for the next 15 weeks. Following the official launch, the teams will undergo a skills boot camp later this month, and a variety of workshops in June. These students will also be armed with skills such as marketing, event/financial management, video production and conflict resolution through a variety of workshops, so they can successfully execute their projects.

Some of this year’s projects include: a “Build-a-Seedling Project”, where the public are encouraged to reduce their carbon footprint through the growing of plants in support of Nature Society Singapore; a fashion show featuring models with cerebral palsy to raise awareness for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore; and a pop-up escape room incorporating interactive elements where participants are to “break out” from simulated situations faced by vulnerable children from Singapore’s Children Society.

Nan Chiau High School sent a massive 52-strong contingent to participate in this year’s YFC Selection Interviews, with 13 out of 14 teams making it through. “The YFC programme serves as an empowering and well-supported platform which promotes community leadership in our students.  It sets a realistic standard which ensures quality of students’ project. The provision of funding and license permit enables students to take up a project to make wider and deeper impacts on the community. With nine former students who are currently serving in the YFC Alumni and 12 leading their peers from their respective tiertiaries in YFC 2018, it is a testament that we have nurtured agents of change,” said Chney Chen, Nan Chiau High School teacher.

For the first time ever, a team hailing from YMCA Project Bridge Youth Centre came together in hope of providing a public platform for at-risk youths to participate in Project Bridge’s music intervention program to steer them towards a more purposeful life. “We not only want to touch them through music but through team-bonding, character building, to promote a clean image through music,” said team leader Rena Koh.

In commemoration of Citi Singapore and YMCA of Singapore’s centennial celebrations, Citi-YMCA Youth For Causes was piloted in 2002 with an aim to promote social entrepreneurship and community leadership development among youths, by combining the complementary qualities of a bank through providing seed funding and volunteer mentors and a charity with its strong community development track record and volunteer management capabilities. Since its inception, YFC has raised over $9 million, mobilised more than 150,000 volunteers and benefitted over 160 social service organisations (SSOs).

Here are more snapshots of the jubilant occasion.


President Halimah Yacob (third from right) lets fly a spin top at the official launch of YFC 2018. (Photo: YMCA of Singapore)


A joyous group photo taken towards the end of the event. (Photo: YMCA of Singapore)


 The YMCA Special Talents, Arts and Recreation Society (Y Stars) wowed the audience with their dance moves at the official launch of YFC 2018. (Photo: Han Wei Chou)


Neo Tahnya (second from left) and her teammates were very excited to meet President Halimah Yacob. (Photo: YMCA of Singapore)


A mentor gets a wefie with his team after giving them the symbolic seed funding cheque. (Photo: Han Wei Chou)