Speech by President Tony Tan at the Heartware Network 17th Anniversary Gala Dinner
Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee and Mrs Yu-Foo Yee Shoon
Advisors, Heartware Network
Bill Foo, Chairman, Heartware Network
Partners, volunteers and friends of Heartware Network
Ladies and Gentlemen
Thank you for being here this evening to support Heartware Network’s 17th Anniversary Gala dinner 2017.
We often say that youths are our hope for the future and the leaders of tomorrow. Indeed, young people are the driving force of change, building on the legacy of previous generations as they lead society. This is why character development in our youths is as important as the training of their minds. And this strikes at the core of Heartware Network’s mission.
Established in 2000, Heartware Network has been committed to shaping Singapore’s youths to become confident and resilient leaders, and community champions. I am heartened that many initiatives have been introduced by Heartware Network over the past 17 years to help our youths develop to their fullest potential. In particular, the Heartware Network’s Youthbank volunteer management system is an initiative that focuses on developing our youths’ compassion and empathy. Just like a bank, Youthbank allows youths to ‘deposit’ their Heart hours, or volunteering hours. This not only allows youths to build on their “volunteering bank account” but also helps schools track their history. In just three years, Heartware Network has worked with 155 schools and 14 community partners. To date, 3,728 youth volunteers have received Heartware training, contributing to more than 230,000 volunteering hours (or close to 10,000 volunteering days).
Heartware Network fosters an inclusive and caring society by encouraging our youths to help others in need. For example, through Heartware Network’s Support Our Pioneers Programme, youth volunteers provide socio-emotional support to the elderly through be-friending initiatives, including bi-monthly visitations and activities. A group of students from Raffles Institution Junior College also started a pilot tuition programme in 2009 to reach out to underprivileged primary school students.
Beyond engaging youths to be community champions, Heartware Network also develops them to be resilient and enterprising as they try out new ideas and opportunities. A good example is the Youth Business Singapore (YBS), a collaboration between Heartware Network and Courts Asia Limited to provide funding for youth entrepreneurs. As a springboard for start-ups by our youths to venture overseas, this platform provides mentoring and networking opportunities in 46 countries. Since its inception, the YBS has benefited many young entrepreneurs, including Mr Edwin Yeo, Managing Director & Founder of Opcon Ptd Ltd, who managed to bring his innovative underwater products to market despite facing many setbacks in the early days. Under the strong mentorship of Bill Foo, Edwin’s products are now sold to many clients in the defence industry worldwide.
Ladies and gentlemen, Singapore’s future lies with our youths. I am glad that Heartware Network is helping to shape Singapore’s future for the better through its work with our youths. Thank you to everyone present, for your generous support to this important work. Let us help to continue this mission of engaging, mentoring and involving our young people, so they can meaningfully contribute to Singapore, and grow into inspiring leaders.
Thank you and have an enjoyable evening.