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Social Worker
NFTE Volunteer Trainer

What does influence mean to you?

Influence to me is knowing that my presence in someone’s life positively shifted their pathway, regardless of magnitude or whether the person is even conscious of the impact. To have them walk in a direction they otherwise would not be walking towards.

What are some memories/experiences of influence being exercised in your life? (If possible, do link it to an experience with Halogen Foundation)

I think more than having an influence in the lives of the students we interact with during our trainings, they have been a positive impacted me. I witnessed the resilience and hope they displayed through the course of the 5-day camp, overcoming various stereotypes they might face of not being in the best schools or the best class, showing me that it’s important to never give up on anyone because their best is hidden just beneath the surface.

In the course of my work as a social worker, I’ve seen shifts in people for the better because of the relationship we have with each other. This is especially important given that many of the families we work with come from troubled backgrounds and have not had many wholesome and positive role models. Therefore, my relationship with them, as a social worker, has a significant impact on them. Healthy relationships is the most powerful medicine and the most powerful motivator.  

How has your time with Halogen impacted the way you see/exercise influence in our youth?

The lens that the staff in Halogen had when viewing the child/ youth was one that was brimming with potential waiting to be tapped on. There was no bad child, no naughty child, no uncooperative and lousy child. Just one

who has not had the privilege of having good wholesome relationships, receiving good wholesome care and love, one whom we in our short time interacting with them was to be loved. I can say with conviction that my four years of volunteering with Halogen has transformed the way I view the youths I interact with and therefore transformed the way I interact with them.

What are some emerging trends in your sector that has an impact or influences youth and the next generation?

In the social service sector, it has become very clear that the “health” of a youth, how much he/she is living up to his/her full potential is strongly influenced by the “health” of his/her family of origin. It has never been more important and more urgent a matter to emphasise the importance of the role of parents and to empower them to raise their children as overcomers. There are more and more people get distracted by the allure of busyness, prosperity, career success and many other peripheries. However, we need to actively address this issue no matter how difficult or tough it may seem.

How do you recommend a young person navigate this new trend/future?

For the young person who has reached a season of volition, meaning you have the space to make significant decisions for your personal growth and well-being, do everything in your power to surround yourself with these three types of people.

  1. Dreamers (people who believe they can and should do greater things),
  2. Overcomers (people who believe that problems are simply launchpads and not sinking sand) and,
  3. Mentors who can teach and guide

If your family play these roles, treasure it. If your family does not comprise of these 3 categories of people, then step up and start to fill the roles yourself, but don’t stop looking for these people whether in your schools, among teachers or friends. Seek them out and stick to them.

In your personal view, what is the potential of influence?

To live a life of influence, to be influenced (learn and grow) and to influence (love and empower) is the only way to live a good life.