I sat patiently in the magnificently decorated hall. Strangers all around were conversing between each other, introducing themselves to one another. The atmosphere was tensed. What exactly is lying ahead of me? And who are these four trainers who called themselves as Uncle Kang, Aunty Eng Eng, Ridvan and Sean Sean?.

This is the typical thinking in every of the participant on day one of the Self-Esteem Leadership & Service training course. It was a program of the YOUNG LEADERS INTERNATIONAL(YLI), initiated by Creative Personnel Skills Services. Everyone was quiet and reserved, and an occasional nod or shake of the head answers everything. An uneventful and quiet Wednesday was expected. However, as the first day of course slowly unfolded, youths got to know more of each other and became more familiar and comfortable with the surrounding. The blanket game helped us to remember each other’s name. Teachings helped boost self-confidence and self-esteem level through a journey of self-discovery. After 8 hours of fun and laughter, we went home with ear to ear smiles plastered on our happy faces.

For the next 4 days, we had a wonderful time discussing interesting case studies from newspapers, exchanging viewpoints, brainstorming for more ideas, working on projects, posters, singing and even dancing. Even in the mornings before the course began, most of us would meet up in the nearby teh-tarik restaurant to have breakfast but really more for bonding. All of these helped encouraged and inspired us tremendously and at the same time gained self-confidence. This not only prepared for whatever excitement that was to happen for the day but also for the bright future of the participants.

on the 4th day, after again another enjoyable bonding session in the restaurant, we finally reached the training centre. lo and behold, we were greeted with the noisy chatters of more youngsters. They were active, enthusiastic, happy youths just like all of the rest, and that concealed the fact that they were actually underprivileged from various Homes who are here to be motivated and cared for by guess who? We youths!. We became their facilitators this time, teaching and guiding our less fortunate peers for two whole days! This important role further boosted our self-esteem.

Finally all good things have to come to an end. Our program culminated in a performing arts presentation in a grand and expensive Italian restaurant, Modestos for our parents, partners and guests of YLI. 3rd December, 2005-- A memorable day for the participants (now members) of the Young Leadership International. Pouring with cold sweat, the young dancers slowly performed their African “ritual”, clapping and slapping in order to produce various rhythms and sound effects; the singers in a row, swaying along with their touching songs entitled “Hero” and “Take Some Time to Thank Your Parents”; some of the brave participants even went up stage to share a few words of their marvelous experience during the 5-day program. We also made New Year resolutions. Parents and relatives sat in front of the stage in awe, surprised at how much their children had learnt throughout the course. Then, guest of honor, Ms Poesy Liang was invited to give a talk on her amazing experience on how she managed to achieve so much in life even though she was weighed down by tremendous challenges. A coiling tumor around her spinal cord didn’t stop her from being successful and happy, but in a way made her stop to realize and appreciate simple gestures and things in life more.. Then it was graciously closed by Yg Bhg Datin Tina Ali. She is a visible supporter because YLI believes in growing youth leaders to serve their underprivileged peers. Last but not least, the founder of YLI, Ms Ong Eng Eng thanked key partners such as, Ti-Ratana, Lions Club of Cybercare, Modestos, MPH Bookstores and Unza Malaysia .for making this YLI program a success.

In simple words, these meaningful experiences inspire us, the future generation and leaders-to-be to not give up on ourselves and courageously reach for the stars.

Reported by Tan Swea Phin

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