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Saturday, March 22, 2014

YouthPREPLink Batch 4 ~ First Meeting

SANDAKAN : YouthPREPLink, a program initiated by Good Shepherd Welfare Center (PKGS), designed and tailored to respond to the needs of youths moving away from home either to pursue higher education or to seek employment in bigger cities. The target groups would be those who have just completed their SPM or STPM. The program launched in 2005, started making inroads in the Diocese of Sandakan in 2010. It was first held in St Martin's Parish, Telupid in October 2010.

The 2nd YPL comprising 2 levels, was conducted at Our Lady of Fatima Church, Beluran in October 2011 and April 2012. The 3rd YPL also of 2 levels was held at St Mary's Cathedral and St Paul's Church, Ulu Dusun in April and May 2013 respectively.

Level 1 of the program focussed more on self-discovery and equipping them with the right knowledge and skill, including sexuality and pre-marital sex, when they pursue tertiary education away from home and level 2 focused more on living with the community, polishing their leadership skill, reaching out to those in need and giving them awareness regarding current issues. 

During the program, participants are given ample space to share with their companions, their experience on their personal life and faith journey. "Never judge a book by it's cover", they may appear happy and joyful, but deep within some are broken and there are hurts that need to be healed. Other than that, they will also have the opportunity to learn conversational English and to live out their leadership skill.

We find it very important to share about the issues  and equip them with the right skills so that they are aware and ready to face whatever challenges they may encounter when they are away from their families. At the end of the camp, the youths will be more aware of themselves, their situation and can make wise choices when they are living independently and away from home, always standing firm in the faith.

YPL is now an annual event of the Diocesan Youth Office. The next YPL will be held from 28th April - 11th May 2014 at St Mary's Cathedral, Sandakan and St Anthony's Chapel, Bukit Garam. Some 50 youths from across the Diocese are expected to attend the upcoming event. The Organizing Team, comprising graduates of previous YPLs held its first meeting on 14th March at the Diocesan Youth Office.

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