Written by Karthik, former PBP student, Junior Mentor and Volunteer with GG.
I believe that in life we always have to decide our next step. My life totally changed when I began my journey with Yayasan Generasi Gemilang (GG). I would like to thank my friends and fellow Pusat Bimbingan Pelajar (PBP) students, Iswaran and Vigneswaran, because they were the ones that told me about GG.
I was introduced to GG because I was looking for extra classes for my Form 4 and Form 5 studies. I used to take classes with an individual in my community up until Form 3. I scored A’s in my English and Mathematics as both subjects are my favourite. I could write and read well but didn’t have enough practice conversing with others in English. Because I wasn’t able to speak English fluently, I didn’t have much confidence speaking out and would usually speak in Tamil in my community and with my friends.
After joining GG, I was able to improve my speaking skills. I started to communicate with all the mentors, Ka Sen, Joy, Yat Seng and Charissa (GG volunteers & staff) in English. I had plenty of opportunities to communicate in English so that I’d improve my speaking skills and at the same time, continue doing well in my favourite subjects, English and Mathematics. My mentors also shared a lot about their own life experiences with me, giving me motivation and advice to overcome the challenges in my own life.
Serving as a class monitor during one of our PBP sessions
How did I become a Junior Mentor?
One day when Charissa, my English mentor, was marking Primary students’ test papers from our PBP program, I saw what the students wrote and told her how I felt. I could see that the students were very poor in English and Mathematics and that they needed help. I asked her if I could join her in teaching the younger students and she gladly agreed.
So every Tuesday and Thursday, after I came home from Secondary school, I went to the afternoon PBP session to teach these Primary school students. I wanted to give my best to teach these students although it was very challenging for me. I finally realized the challenges that the other mentors face when teaching. But I didn’t give up and continued to give my best hoping that they understood clearly. It paid off because I was able to see improvement in my students’ studies and the students really liked me.
Coaching Primary Students at PBP in my own community
I received a GG Volunteer Award for over 50 hours volunteering at PBP last year. It was a very proud moment for me and I decided to continue volunteering to help more people.
During my three month school holidays, I ran home tuition teaching maths for two students. Both my students made me feel so proud because they passed their mathematics test after three years! It was a huge achievement for them and I felt their joy. At the same time, I continued to be a Junior Mentor for PBP teaching both Primary and Secondary students. I was even able to see improvements in the Secondary students that I taught.
Receiving my first ever Volunteer Award
I had opportunities to participate at leadership camps provided by GG – it was unforgettable as it was unusual because I learnt and experienced many things with my friends, like working together as a team and learning to cook chicken curry for the very first time! I felt proud that my hard work, interest and leadership qualities helped my team to win two big prizes.
Enjoying our "home-cooked" dinner at Leadership Camp
At leadership camp, my friends & I were challenged to take up a task to improve our own community. So, we ran a workshop for parents who live in Taman Prima Selayang to help them understand the challenges that their teenage children face and how to better communicate with them. We worked as a team to prepare presentation slides for parents, promotion flyers and went house by house to pass them around. We put a lot of hard work to run this program and fifteen parents turned up at the workshop to participate with us.
Serving as trainer & facilitator at a workshop for my own community
My volunteer journey didn’t stop at PBP, I also volunteered for XLR8, a computer literacy program and Duit Right, a financial literacy program. I was part of GG’s first ever Duit Right Activator program, working part-time for a month visiting schools every day, mentored many groups of students and sharing my own learning experience with them. It was an unforgettable moment because through teaching I picked up stronger communication skills and learnt how to use Microsoft Word, Powerpoint and Excel.
Since young, my ambitions changed often because I have a lot of ambitions. I managed to score A’s in my Mathematics and English SPM. Today, I’ve decided to choose to study a course in English Education at UTAR. I chose this course because I can help society after I am done with my studies.
GG staff mentors: Simpson, Charissa, Caryn, Wy Lyn journeyed with me throughout the entire process from deciding what to study to the actual enrolment of my course. I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t decide my next step of my life. My “next-step” decision of joining a GG program has shaped me into a better person with good qualities and talents. Through GG, I’ve learnt that working hard is the key to success. I want to succeed in my life and contribute my time as much as I can towards helping society and being a catalyst to others.
Editor's note: Minor editing has been made to Karthik's written account & images have been shared upon his consent.
Karthik is a talented and outstanding young individual with a tremendous heart for serving his community & helping others. Karthik, we thank you for the privilege of mentoring you.
The GG tribe & volunteers believe without a doubt that you'll make an impact in many lives. We wish you every success in life!
Catch a cameo of Karthik sharing his thoughts here.