So Mark, what drives you?
“Great ideas that inspire change”
Mark started off his career in advertising and subsequently entered the education sector, where he taught drama for about four years. He eventually landed himself in the line of social work and he is currently transitioning from a youth worker to a social worker at The Salvation Army Gracehaven.
A typical day in social work is a busy one. Often, Mark feels like he has a lack of control. Time management becomes a growing challenge as responsibilities and work start to snowball. However, within this feeling of powerlessness, Mark continues to adopt a positive mindset by doing the best that he can with the circumstances that he is given.
As a Youth Worker, Mark not only acts as a mentor but also as a role model for the children. He played the important role of catering to the youths’ basic and emotional needs, developing their social mannerism and conducting programmes for them. Youth workers strive to have unity with the children by doing everyday activities together with them. This includes football, table-tennis and even video games. These activities may be fun but they also come with the task of resolving conflicts and imparting lifeskill onto the youth as inevitable disagreements do occur.
His favourite memories about being a youth worker lie in the times when he played football with the youths. The sport facilitated a great platform for connecting and bonding. It was pure, exhilarating and it made Mark feel young again. Now, Mark walks a different path as a social worker to be. To be part of life-changing moments, that is what being a social worker in the family reunification role is all about. His job scope revolves around providing intensive intervention and support to reunify children with an identified caregiver.
“The aim is to strengthen family relationships by improving communication, understanding parents and children’s needs and increasing opportunities for positive interactions.”
The greatest difference in the transition between a youth worker to a social worker would be a increase in responsibilities. As a youth worker, Mark’s impact would be just on the lives of individuals. Moving forward as a social worker, Mark will now be leaving his mark on so much more. He will be working not only with individuals, but also with families, communities and other stakeholders.
He wishes to see the youths that he has worked with grow into kind hearts who care for those in need. When asked about how he would encourage other youths to be an everyday hero like himself, he preceded with a recollection.
“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly, because if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”
Mark recalls reading a Roald Dahl book which carries lessons that still remain edged in his mind. That is, a person with good thoughts can never be ugly. A kind gesture could be as simple as fighting off ugly thoughts by replacing them with gratitude and positivity.
That could very well be your first step towards becoming an everyday hero.
Everyday Heroes is an online series that captures stories of youths creating impact and embracing possibilities to build a more positive community in Singapore. Most importantly, they help stand as positive reminders that doing good doesn’t have to look a certain way!
#EverydayHeroes #TheHiddenGood #sgyouthcares #nycsg