Before joining any service projects, I never thought about what I could learn from them. But since, I've learned that all the knowledge, skills and personal feelings gained from service projects are irreplaceable. A lot of it can't be learned from school lectures or textbooks.
In my first university year at Lingnan University, my peer mentor introduced me to community service. One particular service project called Heart to Heart Big Brothers and Sisters Project left me with the most unforgettable memories.
The project was organised by the Cancer Fund Rainbow Club and the school. As soon as I read the introduction for the project, I was immediately interested to join because the target group of the project is children whose parents are suffering from cancer and I am one of them. I was not confident that I had enough experience to share, but I wanted to get to know the children as a friend as I felt a special connection with them.
From my own experience, I do not want to be labelled as “different” so I told no one about my mum’s sickness when I was as young as those children. That’s why I wanted to simply stay with the children and let them know I will be there to listen to them and help them relieve their stress. That was my attitude of how to treat my mentee, Brian.
Before joining the programme, I thought I would be the one who will always be taking care of my mentee, but it turned out that I was totally wrong. Brian was very smart, confident and outgoing. He chatted with me and told me about himself. He showed great interest in different places and my university life.
As our friendship grew, I felt that he liked me and cared about me a lot. Before Christmas, we went to a two-day camp with other participants of the project. It was really cold. He warmed up his heat pack with his thick clothing and exchanged it with my cold one to help keep my hands warm. This not only warm my hands, but also my heart.
At night, we went for a dark adventure trip. I was supposed to lead him by holding his hands, but I felt afraid since we did not switch on the torch on the way to the little hill. He did not say much to me or even asked me to walk faster, but he held my hands tight. I felt that he was really considerate which surprised me a lot. Throughout the whole project, we took care of each other and achieved personal growth together.
The project may only be a small part of our life, yet it brought me a lot of amazing moments. In my opinion, those children may need more attention and support than others as they are dealing with difficult issues at home but they are all simply children who need love and care like all any other.