‘I am unable to be strict now’: This powerful former platoon commander now lends a listening ear to distressed youths
Franklin Rajoo is on his bi-monthly duty in a “dungeon” alongside Somerset Road on a Thursday night.
Strolling throughout the open home at Re:flooring @ Dungeon at The Red Box, the 26-year-old, whose black t-shirt imprinted with the phrases “Youth Corps Singapore” makes him identifiable from afar, is searching for specific folks – people who seem like they could need any person to converse to.
In an interview with AsiaOne, Rajoo shared that the teaching he obtained as a volunteer with Youth Corps Singapore helps him decide these who need a listening ear – be it family or school-related factors, or just wanting to talk about their day.
What are the symptoms of a troubled youth? Those who’re inclined to tempo throughout the room, as well as to the “quiet ones” in a nook, in accordance with Rajoo.
Rajoo, a social media authorities, talked about: “I’ve to keep my sensors as a lot as see if [there’s anyone] who looks like he or she needs to converse to any person, nevertheless is hesitant to methodology a peer supporter.
“If they’re not comfortable sharing at first, I’ll ask them if they need time to think. But it’s assuring that they can always come to me if they are open to talk after a while.”
From healthful board video video games and books, as well as to taking part art work and craft actions, the cosy environment at Re:flooring @ Dungeon offers youths an space to loosen up.
This “well-being circle” is one amongst six prepare in Singapore beneath the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth’s (MCCY) SG Mental Well-Being Network.
Launched ultimate July, each “circle” has a particular combination of actions catering to the needs of the respective neighbourhood.
These embody one in Kolam Ayer that provides psychological properly being help for seniors, as well as to a “circle” in Punggol West that trains youths as “first responders” for people who may need emotional help.
The others prepare are: The Befrienders’ Network @ Zhenghua, Moulmein-Cairnhill (MoCa) Well-Being Circle and Bukit Batok East Well-Being Circle.
‘I wanted to rant’
Rajoo is on a regular basis desirous to lend an ear to people who want to talk about all of the issues beneath the photo voltaic – be it about their day or personal factors.
But the self-professed extrovert talked about that there have been events when he was youthful the place he “needed to rant”.
Rajoo recounted: “I didn’t get the score I needed in an needed examination. Cliché, but it surely certainly was truly kind of a downer for me.
“Most of the time, my friends would say, ‘You can definitely get over it. This is just a phase.’”
Call it lack of empathy or “harsh facts”, nevertheless Rajoo recognized that it was merely his mates’ “lack of support skills”.
After all, the youthful man found himself in an identical place some three years up to now whereas ending National Service (NS).
As a youthful platoon commander throughout the ninth Battalion Singapore Infantry Regiment (9 SIR), there have been occasions when troopers in Franklin’s unit would flip to him for suggestion regarding unit life or their personal factors.
But other than the “generational gap” the place “90 per cent of the men in his platoon were younger than him”, Franklin admitted that he was not “well equipped” with the required “support skills”.
“So it was more or less the baseline, like ‘Hi, how are you doing?’ The general check-ins,” he talked about. “I tried my best to be friendly, but sometimes I had to be firm.”
These experiences in NS fuelled Franklin to “come on board” Youth Corps Singapore 4 months after ending NS in May 2021.
He recalled coming all through a social media “livestream” put up calling for volunteers to the Community Peer Supporter Programme in the mean time.
After getting involved with Youth Corps Singapore by the use of emails, he formally joined the programme after an interview the place he shared why he wished to hitch Project Re:flooring.
“I’ve not seen anything like it,” he talked about. “I don’t recall coming across any project that’s advocating for mental wellness. I wish there had been such programmes back then [when I needed help].”
While he wanted to be a listening ear to his mates once more in NS and now with the youth at Re:flooring @ Dungeon, his methodology to his perform with Youth Corps Singapore is a little bit fully completely different.
“For Re:ground, I have to be approachable even when I’m down… but I think that rarely happens. And I can’t exactly be strict now,” Rajoo talked about.
“Not that I was [like that] in NS,” he quipped.
Creating small ripples of positivity
The authorities plans to strengthen psychological properly being and well-being within the neighborhood by the use of the SG Mental Well-Being Network throughout the yr ahead, in accordance with MCCY.
One event is with the well-being circles – their 400-strong volunteers and 30 companions such as a result of the Health Promotion Board, as well as to the Happiness Initiative.
Speaking in Parliament in the middle of the MCCY Committee of Supply Debate on March 6, Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Alvin Tan talked about: “These circles strengthen group and peer help by equipping volunteers with experience to deal with themselves and others.
“We will learn from these circles and scale up our efforts in other locations.”
For Franklin, he’s hopeful that additional youthful Singaporeans will now know the avenues they’ll flip to “when they are feeling down”.
Recalling a particular interaction with one such youth at Re:flooring @ Dungeon, Franklin talked about: “After that dialog, I seen her change from a moody expression to turning into barely happier.
“I didn’t exactly uplift her mood, but I felt like [I made] a change. Even though it was just a small ripple of positivity.”
Re:flooring @ Dungeon at The Red Box is open to most of the people free of price every Thursday from 7pm to 9.30pm. You may additionally get involved at [email protected] for additional information.
- Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444
- Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019
- Care Corner Counselling Centre (Mandarin): 1800-353-5800
- Institute of Mental Health’s Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222
- Silver Ribbon: 6386-1928
ALSO READ: Dad and daughter open up on her struggles with melancholy and suicide attempt
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