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ABOUT NYLA

The only nation-wide award reaching out to young leaders between 15 and 19 years old, the National Young Leader Award (NYLA) was launched in 2013 to recognise youths who are involved, engaged, and show conviction in the things they do, regardless of their academic achievements.

MEET THE FINALISTS

Click on their images to find out more about them!

Meagan Ho
Eli Stewart
Nazra Zafar
Raeanne Yap
Javen Lam
Felyn Chua
Nicole Sim
Kai Jun Lim
Alwis Lim
Tan Yun Xuan

ALWIS LIM

Championing Digital Inclusivity, Education, and Working with Vulnerable groups


Life in a tweet:
Passionate about all things tech, discovered my love for cybersecurity in upper secondary and together with it, a desire to be a part of and champion for education and digital inclusivity causes. Keen to give back and establish meaningful friendships along the journey!

More about Alwis
How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe in the idea of empowerment, empowering my team to take personal ownership of the various elements of a project, and give credit where it’s due. It’s through this that people will believe in what they’re doing, give it their best shot, which enables us to do amazing things together.


Are there any projects that you're involved in?

I love being involved in digital inclusivity and education-related projects! My journey has seen me take on leadership roles at youth organisations such as Cyber Youth Singapore, Youth Corps Singapore, and the Canberra Youth Network!

At Cyber Youth Singapore, a youth nonprofit, I focus on leading my team to drive and implement strategic policies to bring value-adding initiatives to the cyber youths. Here, I have had the opportunity to work with and lead youths from different backgrounds and ages to bring value-adding programmes that have impacted over 3,000 youths! In fact, we recently concluded the first ever youth-in-tech summit, bringing over 500 cyber youths together for 5 days of techtivities, networking, and fun.Together with Youth Corps Singapore and Beyond Social Services, my team and I have been running digital inclusivity workshops and programmes over the past 3 months for the youths in our vulnerable communities.

Finally, at Canberra Youth Network, we recently concluded the Budget Dialogue and Youth Day celebrations, where youths were able to provide feedback on national policies and engage in fun activities with their fellow peers!


What is something not a lot of people know about you?

I sometimes appear nonchalant, but it’s not because I don’t feel the gravity of a situation but rather it’s a way to manage the stresses and keep a cool head to make the right decisions!

ELI STEWART

Preserving Vintage Film and Advocating for Accessibility of Education.


Life in a tweet:

I’m a forward-thinking individual who believes in putting the pieces together to create something greater. As a people-person and a strong believer in the power of bringing together different perspectives, I endeavour to learn from others to maximise our potential together.

More about Eli
How would you describe your leadership style?

I'm a hands-on person who thrives in the thick of the action, always striving to understand the people that I work with to help delegate and leverage on our strengths and cover for our blind spots. I enjoy creative problem solving and coming up with solutions for issues alongside my team, and synthesising our views to create something cohesive for all of us and for the greater society.


Are there any projects that you're involved in?
I volunteer with the Singapore International Film Festival every year. I'm currently looking into broadening my horizons by volunteering with the National Arts Council and Singapore Writers Festival. I’ve also been a volunteer tutor with Project Shareducation, founded by a fellow NYLA finalist, and with StellarNova, a project hosted in my school.

What is something not a lot of people know about you?
I love vinyl records and spend way too much on them than I should, but I think it’s completely worth it. I’ve also dabbled in writing poetry, with the pipe dream of one day being featured or even published somewhere!

FELYN CHUA

Building Awareness for Environment Sustainability & Conservation, and Caring for the Elderly.


Life in a tweet:

I’m a highly determined person and I believe in treating others around me regardless of background with care & kindness. I have a rather easy-going personality, regularly interact with others, and love to lend a helping hand wherever I can & offer emotional support.

More about Felyn
How would you describe your leadership style?

I take an empathetic approach and believe in encouraging a caring & thoughtful environment. I also like to empower those around me to do the same, as well as take on responsibilities to outdo themselves so everyone can grow together in character. I advocate being objective and serious with tasks, separating work from leisure. I also encourage people to love what they do so they can do it better.


Are there any projects that you're involved in?

Recently, I have been involved in weekly Bread Runs by Food from the Heart with my mother, who influenced and inspired me - collecting extra bread from bakeries and sending them to a home for the aged sick. I have also recently volunteered with Food from the Heart to sort & pack food items, including those damaged and unwanted from supermarkets, which will then be distributed to the needy and welfare homes. I also intend to continue volunteering with them in the future.


What is something not a lot of people know about you?

I love all things green and nature, including the sky.

JAVEN LAM

Advocating for Inclusivity and Equality.


Life in a tweet:

I spend my days gaining joy from doing ordinary things. Playing football with my friends is how I define a good day. I count my blessings and embrace the challenges that I face. Who I was before makes who I am today and who I will be tomorrow, so make the most out of every moment.

More about Javen
How would you describe your leadership style?

I feel that my leadership style involves engaging and interacting with my peers when it comes to events. By leading by example, I would show them how to do things and help them realise the purpose of the activity through my actions. On top of that, my leadership also involves rallying my teammates together through regular heart-to-heart talks and fun sessions to not only lighten up the mood within the team but to inspire and motivate them to press on as well.


What is something not a lot of people know about you?

I love photography because it allows me to appreciate the simple things in life.

KAI JUN LIM

Building an Inclusive Society, Reducing Poverty, and Helping the Vulnerable.


Life in a tweet:

I am a student who loves being out in the community and serving. Being the president of my school’s Interact Club, I lead numerous service projects. I also enjoy volunteering as a first aider with the Red Cross to provide first aid to injured people in the public.

More about Kai Jun
How would you describe your leadership style?

I would say that my leadership style involves leading with passion and inspiring peers to serve with utmost enthusiasm.


Are there any projects that you're involved in?

Recently along with my Interact Club’s Executive Committee (EXCO) has been involved in leading a migrant outreach project, where we care for the welfare of migrant workers during this difficult lockdown period. To help them cope during these challenging times, we sent care packages to them with healthy snacks, handwritten cards and prepared Zumba videos to keep them active.


What is something not a lot of people know about you?

I really enjoy playing the piano as it is my relaxing mechanism and I find it helps me take a step back from my tasks and problems for a bit.

MEAGAN HO

Caring for the Elderly, Helping the Underserved in areas of Healthcare and Education.


Life in a tweet:

People call me auntie and I’m proud to be one! I love water sports, photography, and chasing sunsets. Contrary to popular belief, I’ve passed the 150cm mark! Also, my name is spelled with an extra ‘a’ which confuses everyone.

More about Meagan
How would you describe your leadership style?

I think I'm the opposite of what you expect of a traditional leader - charismatic, loud, and confident (although I'm trying my best to fulfill this expectation). Google says my leadership style is affiliative which I'm not sure what it really means but as a leader, I want us to dream together, to run together, and rise together. To me, leading by example is very important and it is the hallmark of a good leader because if you cannot even live up to your own expectations, how do you expect others to do so?


Are there any projects that you're involved in?

I am working on Belanja A Meal with my friends which is a resident-to-resident initiative in Canberra, where customers can pay it forward by paying for another person's meal. We aim to provide hot meals from neighbourhood coffee shops to underprivileged families.

I am also working with Access (although I'm taking a hiatus to prepare for A levels) which is a non-profit organisation that aims to provide non-academic opportunities to disadvantaged students. The Access team is made up of mainly university students with me being the youngest.


What is something not a lot of people know about you?

When I'm speaking, I try to sound confident and unafraid but I do get very nervous and I spend a lot of time rehearsing in front of the mirror before I speak to a crowd. I don't tell people I am afraid because I want to come off as a naturally good public speaker but behind closed doors, I put in a lot of effort trying to perfect my speech.

NAZRA ZAFAR

Providing Quality Education for all, Equality for Minority races, Women in STEM.


Life in a tweet:

I am a student and servant leader that advocates for the marginalised communities through education, awareness, and empowerment. I love singing/songwriting, Astrobiology, and learning about the world. I believe that my role as a leader is to be a champion for positive change.

More about Nazra
How would you describe your leadership style?

My style of leadership is service-centric and collaborative. I also take pride in my work through leading by example.


Are there any projects that you're involved in?

My primary involvement is in my non-profit initiative, Shareducation. I founded Shareducation in 2020, with the hopes of making academic help accessible to students of lesser-fortunate backgrounds during the Circuit Breaker period in 2020. Over 30 passionate youth from institutions all over the island have volunteered to offer their help. We then partnered up with Calvary Community Care and Alife Services Limited to offer free tuition to their beneficiaries before expanding our reach.

Shareducation is an ongoing project to this day — but since the inflow of beneficiaries has lessened, myself and the Core Team (consisting of myself, my co-founder Fibi and my secretary Maddie) have been continually working on a small social media campaign on Shareducation’s instagram page (@projectshareducation) to promote good work ethics, and offer tips and tricks for all students to maximise their productivity and effectiveness when studying.


What is something not a lot of people know about you?

I hope to work in Medecins Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) one day. I also happen to be the official recording of my school song that is played for assembly every Monday morning!

NICOLE SIM

Empowering Children & Youths, Advocate for the Environment, Elevating Lives of Disadvantaged.


Life in a tweet:

Putting smiles on the faces of others, especially children, is what makes life fulfilling for me. I delight in life’s simplest pleasures such as eating ice cream and believe in living with a heart of gratitude. I am unafraid to challenge the norm, as truly, “the sky’s the limit”!

More about Nicole
How would you describe your leadership style?

My people are the main characters. Though I can be a loud leader, I don’t believe in always being needed to be seen at the front, and prefer to take a supporting role. I value each and every team member and see them as equals.

As a leader, I equip my team with the necessary skills and give them the space to explore their own ideas while guiding them towards a common goal. I also strive to build strong support systems so that everyone feels belonged and loved. My goal as a leader is always to enable those around me to grow into confident and uniquely different leaders, who are empowered to spark positive change in our society.


Are there any projects that you're involved in?

As my ‘O’ Levels are upcoming, I am currently only involved in Longest Day 2021, which is a school project that aims to help the graduating cohort form lasting memories before they leave.

After my examinations, I am planning to continue to tutor children from disadvantaged backgrounds, and will also be volunteering through a local farm sustainability project. I also hope to be able to find more avenues to support children in our society and to become more aware of lesser-known causes in Singapore.


What is something not a lot of people know about you?

Though I have been jokingly called “the person with a scary resting face” in my netball team, I’m not as scary as I may seem! I’m a person who laughs a lot (and very easily), and enjoys making others laugh too!

RAEANNE YAP

Creating Awareness about Mental Health.


Life in a tweet:

I am someone who I’d like to say is passionate and empathetic and loves stories. I love listening to the stories of others because I believe everyone has their own unique walk in life and that every keen listener of someone’s stories will have something valuable to take away.

More about RaeAnne
How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe in first forging genuine connections with the people I need to reach or work with and to understand them as people, leaning in to empathise with their personal opinions and then bringing everyone to a common ground so that fruitful discussion can take place. I also strive to be a leader who empowers others and is encouraging and compassionate, not intimidating.


Are there any projects that you're involved in?

Unfortunately due to O levels for my team and I this year, I am currently not working on any projects related to my cause but what I am doing is to work within my circle and to understand more about those suffering from mental health conditions through conversations with people around me. I think that this is a valuable time for me to gain more insight into this issue which would be very helpful for my future projects!

As for school projects, I am currently working with my team on how our cohort can leave a good mark on the school as we graduate.


What is something not a lot of people know about you?

People who do not know me well would think that I am a very serious person who doesn’t joke around often but contrary to that, I love fun!!! I love making people laugh and hopefully putting a smile on their faces so, I am actually very chill once someone gets to know me well. I also think that making things fun is something very important when it comes to working as a team.

TAN YUN XUAN

Raising Awareness and Funds for Multiple Sclerosis patients.


Life in a tweet:

“Something that my life revolves around is the phrase “everything happens for a reason”. As I go about daily life, I hope to embrace life as much as I can, especially the setbacks. This has greatly taught me to appreciate the small blessings which fall upon me, making me extremely thankful to be able to live my life!”

More about Yun Xuan
How would you describe your leadership style?

I would like to describe my leadership style using the words "people oriented". To me, I believe that in leadership, what's most important is the people we serve. Often, when serving, I try my best to consider the impact of my actions on the various stakeholders involved. I hope that through my words and actions, I can create a more conducive, warm, loving environment where others can grow and learn. That is why I try my best to step out of my comfort zone to take the lead, to accompany those I lead in completing various tasks, in order to refrain from situations where they may feel uncomfortable.

With every decision I make, I hope to look beyond my personal needs, but rather at the bigger picture- the needs of the community. I keep my focus around the "people" and the choices I make revolve around their welfare or their good. With that, I hope that through their growth, they can be empowered to achieve more in the future, and even better, to create and spark change in the community.


Are there any projects that you're involved in?

I've been involved in Project Aeipathy, a VIA project to raise awareness and funds for Multiple Sclerosis patients. Students from various schools in Singapore are also involved in this project where we work together with NUHS Fund Limited to raise funds through the MS Assistance Fund for the patients.


What is something not a lot of people know about you?

Something that people might not know about me is that my goal for this year and future years would be to live a healthier lifestyle! (Have a healthy mindset and healthier habits, etc)

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