Gina Chan, Social Worker
Social Worker, CROSSROAD Youth Centre (Care Corner Singapore Ltd)
“At the end of the day, always keep in sight the purpose why you join the social service sector in the first place. This sector requires a lot of ‘heart’ work. Once you lose heart, it becomes hard work, and no longer heart work. See more of it as a vocation and calling, rather than just work.”
Indeed, Ms Gina Chan, a social worker at CROSSROAD Youth Centre (under Care Corner Singapore Ltd), continuously keeps her own advice in mind, the same advice she would also impart to new colleagues who just entered the social service industry. An adrenalin junkie who looks forward to skydiving as her next goal, Ms Chan’s day is spent doing more down-to-earth stuff. In the mornings, she catches up on her administrative work, case recordings or researching on resources on how to work more effectively with youths. In the afternoon, the youths then stream in for counselling, or she may head out to conduct home visits or attend school conferences. While teachers in the mainstream school may heave a sigh of relief during the school holidays, that period is the busiest for her. CROSSROAD Youth Centre organises a wide variety of programmes to keep their youths engaged, like outdoor based activities to bring in experiential learning so that they learn more about themselves and their values.
|“Everyone has a story. Our work is about discovering that story. To understand that story more, understand them as a person and love them as a person. And not see them as clients but as individuals, precious and valuable individuals whom other people love.”|
Despite her hectic schedule, Ms Chan recently completed the Leadership Milestone Programme – Lead Self. “The course challenged me to think about my strengths and weaknesses, and the challenges I faced at work. In terms of working style. I learned to be bolder in decision making, and to take on a leadership role in the team. True to its name ‘Lead Self’, I learned to manage myself better as an individual.” The programme also allowed her peers to provide feedback in terms of areas of improvement, and revealed the blind spots in her work.
Like many of the ambassadors featured in this publication, Ms Chan was clear of her calling towards social work. During her early schooling days, she already knew that she would be doing social work, so she enrolled in NUS to obtain her degree. Nonetheless, it was not always a smooth sailing process in her career. In one of her more memorable cases, she was challenged by a school of her own capability as a social worker because of her decision to stand by her youth client. The latter was having difficulties in managing relationships at school, had no interest in academics and wanted to drop out to take up barista skills. After many heart-to-heart talks, Ms Chan was thoroughly convinced by his conviction and decided to support him for what he truly believed in. Conflicts between her and the school ensued, but the school eventually gave in. After he dropped out, he took up a barista course, and is now gainfully and happily occupied in a supervisory role at a café. And after all these years, they are still in touch with each other. Ms Chan would like to share this quote she came across: There isn’t a person you wouldn’t love if you could read their story. “Everyone has a story. Our work is about discovering that story. To understand that story more, understand them as a person and love them as a person. And not see them as clients but as individuals, precious and valuable individuals whom other people love.”