It is not an easy job for youths-at-risk to return to the right track and they need a "beacon" to show them the way. The volunteer team at New Territories South Regional Headquarters, comprising officers from the Airport Security Unit, has been playing the roles of the beacon.
In 2009, the team launched Project Sparkle to steer students of the Christian Zheng Sheng College on Lantau Island in the right direction with mutual influence and positive energy.
Services for students
The Christian Zheng Sheng College, situated at Chi Ma Wan on Lantau Island, is a service client of Project Sparkle. The volunteer team provides the students with training, such as foot drill, archery, distance running and rock climbing. In addition, the team runs an "assault course" for the students to beef up their self-confidence and self-esteem.
The assault course is a game in which participants need to overcome obstacles. As the Christian Zheng Sheng College is located in a remote and rough area, it was a challenging job to set up the course near the college campus. The volunteer team, together with the students, headed for the hill behind the campus to set up the site of the assault course.
Having found the "hardware", the volunteer team had to tackle the problems of the "software", the students. Some of them, because of having brushed with the law before, were reluctant to work with the police. Therefore, the team members showed their sincerity and love, and tried hard to earn their trust. Eventually, this approach paid off when the students became more receptive to instructions and more enthusiastic for the jobs assigned to them.
The police volunteers and parents were delighted to see the students make improvements. On April 27, the volunteer team organised an annual Activity Day for the school, with the students looking after planning and co-ordination of jobs themselves.
The success of the Activity Day proved that the students had made a big change in attitude, from being mischievous to being responsible and independent. "Mum Lo", a parent volunteer of the school, said Project Sparkle guided her son back onto the right track and made a contribution to society by converting "a bad guy into a good guy". This comment reflected the achievements of the volunteer team.
Fighting for the future
The volunteer team is a role model for the students. Some of them wish to join the local disciplined services some days. In 2012, the team incorporated the fitness tests of the disciplined services into training. As time goes by, the students have built up friendship with the team members and see them more as a friend than a police officer.
The success and change of the students have brought the volunteer team not only encouragement but also motivation. Inspector Poon Chi-ming, a volunteer of Project Sparkle, commented, "The students of Zheng Sheng College are good in nature. Given proper guidance, they would follow the right track." Inspector Poon is also convinced that with the concerted efforts of Project Sparkle and parents, plus those of the students, more contributions would be made to society.
(This article is contributed by Inspector Poon from Airport Security Unit.)