Letting Aspirations Take Flight

Halogen’s dream becomes a reality with the launch of the national young leaders award as a platform to recognise young leaders. 

As Halogen encourages young leaders to dream and turn them into reality, we walk the talk. As Martin Tan, co-founder and executive director of Halogen recounts, “The National Young Leader Award is a dream that we had for some time. When we were planning our five-year strategic plan back in 2008, one of the things we identified was a need for an award that targets specifically a younger age group that we were impacting. We wanted an award youths can aspire towards that does not put a focus on academics or age. We wanted an award specifically designed to inspire youth at a young age to do so much more.”

This year, the Award became a reality as Halogen launched it on a national level. On 29 August 2013 at National Young Leaders’ Day (NYLD), guest-of-honour Minister for Education Mr Heng Swee Keat said in his speech: “I am pleased that Halogen will be launching the inaugural National Young Leader Award today to recognise young leaders who exemplify character, resilience, drive and leadership. This award aims to affirm young leaders who are involved, engaged and have conviction and courage in the things that they do.”

With so many good responses, sifting through the 49 application forms to select the five finalists was no easy task. Sean, Deputy CEO of Halogen’s sentiments were as such, “This shows that Singapore is not short of promising young people. Each of the applicants has very good stories of their own contributions in their community. It is heartwarming to hear that there is so much good being done out there by different young leaders”.

It is also with this same dilemma that the second panel of judges, including Mr Baey Yam Keng (GPC Chairman for Ministry of Culture, Community & Youth, Member of Parliament Tampines GRC) and Miss Sandra Davie (The Straits Times Senior Education Correspondent) had to face as they selected the final award winner from the five finalists.

These five finalists, aged between 15-19 years old, are actively giving generously of their time and energy for social good. As Halogen’s award coordinator Ivy, aptly puts it “I see something in common across all five of them. They show a strong passion in their belief or a cause, one that is rooted in a genuine love and appreciation for people. Through their own means, they choose to take action and devote time and energy to achieve their goals.”

Winners from other national youth awards in Singapore generally are from an older age group. By creating this award for younger people, Halogen seeks to share the message that youths do not have to wait until they enter the workforce before they are able to contribute. By starting young, Halogen hopes this perpetuates a culture of giving back as they grow up. Mr Ang Kiam Wee, Principal, ITE College Central, was very encouraged. He shares, “This recognition has given these fine young men further conviction and drive to continue to make a difference in the communities and the lives of those around them.”

“This recognition has given these fine young men further conviction and drive to continue to make a difference in the communities and the lives of those around them.”
– Ang Kiam Wee, Principal, ITE College Central

As Halogen lives out this dream, their aim is to bring greater attention and awareness to the good work these exceptional young leaders are aspiring towards and are capable of.

“By showcasing stories of young people, we hope that others will be inspired by their stories. Some of the finalists come from humble backgrounds. When others from similar backgrounds see and hear that their peers can make a difference despite their circumstances, it gives little or no excuse for them not to do the same. We want every young person out there to know that no matter what their circumstance or challenge is, they have the capacity for good, and they can work towards it,” says Sean.

This is testament that dreams can, indeed, become a reality.

Article by Jael Chng

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