Social enterprise co-founder scores… helping needy kids and studies – The Straits Times

Anglo Chinese School Independent graduate John Thng Wen Cong has been adept at juggling his studies and activities, including running programmes to help needy children, organising fundraisers and making time for hobbies.

He found out that he scored 44/45 for his International Baccalaureate assessment when he received his results yesterday.

The 19-year-old struggled to balance his commitments at first, but eventually did so with the help of a strict schedule and guidance from his teachers and peers.

In 2018, the teenager and two of his good friends founded The Youth Collective – a social enterprise aimed at nurturing children in need and empowering youth to become proactive in social work.

He said: “I was inspired to help children in need while volunteering in Meet-the-People sessions in 2017. I felt that children suffered the most when a family is in distress.”

He recounted how the three friends’ lack of experience, formal qualifications and academic workload led to difficulty in convincing organisations to support their idea as well as a lot of late nights.

They were grateful that their teachers gave them confidence to pursue their vision despite the challenges, and helped them to keep up with their studies.

His work is funded by Alliance Healthcare as a corporate social enterprise. It runs weekly mentorship sessions at a neighbourhood primary school and a community soccer clinic.

The teenager said: “What the children need most is someone to make them feel important and be positive role models.”

He has also been involved in other initiatives, including leading a team of youth volunteers to distribute masks and hand sanitiser amid the pandemic, and organising a triathlon in 2019 to raise funds and awareness for the Singapore Children’s Society.

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His team raised more than $5,000 that year.

Mr Thng is also an avid photographer, as the hobby not only serves to relieve stress but also to inspire more youth to join his enterprise.

He takes photos of the activities he and his friends run and presents them to ACSI juniors to show how they can play an active role in helping the community.

Mr Thng hopes to expand his social enterprise by collaborating with more primary schools, and see more youth show initiative in giving back to the community.

He also hopes to pursue a medical degree, and explore helping the community in the medical field.

Luqmanul Hakim



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