Collegiate Youth Association
Sprouting Bodhi Seeds Soar with Love and Hope
The Tzu Chi Collegiate Youth Association was formed by a group of aspiring tertiary students (a.k.a. Tzu Ching) in Taiwan, and is currently established globally. When the association was first formed, Master Cheng Yen had three points of advice to the youths: firstly, do Tzu Chi’s work during spare time; secondly, cultivate a heart of compassion for people; thirdly, learn to get along with different types of people.
The future of world development depends on the values and directions of modern youths, and college is an important stage of professional and personality development. The ideals and ambitions of university students and their grasp of humanistic values will have considerable impact on the roles they play in the future. With the spirit of loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and selfless giving, and the goal of nurturing a generation of youths whose hearts are filled with human love and compassion, the Tzu Chi Collegiate Youth Associations around the world gather local tertiary students to take part in various Tzu Ching activities and serve the needy in society. These youths have also led many more of their university/college peers to unleash their youthful enthusiasm and work for the greater good of humanity.
The Tzu Chi Collegiate Youth Association in Singapore was established in 1996. Presently, it has members from the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore Management University (SMU) as well as students from various polytechnics, etc. The collegiate youths work hard at their studies in school and serve as volunteers during their spare time or school holidays, thereby training their minds through acts of service and gaining deeper insights into life in the process.
In the early days, the Tzu Chings in Singapore made regular care visits to the Singapore Leprosy Relief Association (SILRA) Home, a nursing home for leprosy sufferers. From 2015 to 2016, they served the elderly residents at the Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home, and in mid-2016, they started organising monthly care visits to the SASCO Senior Citizens’ Home. Through learning about the life experiences of the sick and the elderly, the collegiate youths gain an understanding on the impermanence of life and are prompted to reflect on the meaning of life. Such precious life wisdom cannot be gleaned from lessons in the classroom. Apart from making care visits to institutions, the youths also take on monthly duties at the Tzu Chi Free Clinic, helping at the registration desk and serving or assisting patients who come for appointments.
As the world suffers increasingly from the effects of global warming, Tzu Chings tap on their youthful creativity, to actively promote environmental awareness to the public. Besides taking part in monthly Tzu Chi recycling activities in the community, the youths set up booths within their campuses, organise tea gatherings, etc., to advocate environmental conservation. In 2011, they started the “Veggie Hero” (a.k.a. VERO) campaign, with many creative and fun activities to encourage more young people to practise vegetarianism, so as to help reduce the greenhouse emissions that result from livestock farming.
Through annual camps and monthly gatherings and book clubs, the students are given opportunities to explore, discuss and share about various social and world issues, listen to Master Cheng Yen’s Dharma talks, etc. As they actively engage in their learning journey, they awaken to life’s truths and principles, which help them to better understand the Dharma and live out the teachings in daily life.
1）Care Institution Visit
Date: 4th Sunday of each month (Except Feb & Mar 2019: 17Feb, 24Mar)
Time: 1.30pm – 4pm
Venue: SASCO Senior Citizens’ Home
Meeting place and time: Southview LRT 1.20pm
2）Monthly Recycling Day
3）Tzu Chi Collegiate Youths' Sharing Session
Date: 4th Saturday of each month
Time: 3.30pm – 5.30pm
Venue: Jing Si Hall
Undeterred by the social-distancing restrictions, National University of Singapore Tzu Chings and their seniors worked closely using various online platforms to arrange for Mentoring with Love 2.0.
With his determination to become a teacher, Chua Yong Le participated in Tzu Chi’s Online mentoring programme. Through the teaching of planned curriculum and interacting with the care recipient’s children, he discovered his desire to teach.
As the online mentoring program ended after 4 months, Tzu Chings met their mentee for a thank you session which further strengthened the connection between the mentors and their mentee.