I signed up for Kidleidoscope (a CSP that targets children of low income families) during my freshman year and definitely didn’t live to regret it. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I decided to take part it again one year later – this time, as part of its subcommittee. Here’s why doing a local CSP can be just as fun and rewarding as any other OCSP experience!
1. You make new friends
As we all probably know by now, freshman camps are one of the best ways to mingle with your peers and find a SENSE OF BELONGING before school starts. If you’re like me and you have a crippling fear of not seeing friendly faces during your first class for your core mods, CSPs are another way of bonding with your degree-mates. Kscope allowed me to make great friendships that carried me through the hard times of school, and also got me to realise that life exists outside of Li Ka Shing.
2. You’re doing CSP in an area you enjoy
I personally enjoy working with youths and children, not just because they’re adorable but also because of their energy and enthusiasm for their interests. Teaching is another passion of mine, and Kscope also gave us the chance to mentor and tutor these kids – both artistically through the crafts as well as academically, with tutoring sessions. Hence, Kscope provided me with a convenient avenue to not only complete my graduation requirements (let’s be honest here, this is what we’re all about right?), but also a chance to do so while enjoying the process. I don't think anyone would enjoy forcing themselves to participate in an activity they dislike, especially if it’s a mandatory one, so you might as well join a CSP that works for you.
3. It’s a stepping stone towards altruism
As someone who has been an active member of various community projects and activities through the years, I personally believe that CSP/ CIP activities have meaning. As cliché as it sounds, knowing that you’re making a difference (no matter how small and in whichever way you can) is a really motivating factor to do well in the particular activity you’re doing. For me, all of this started because of mandatory CIP in secondary school, and I’ve never looked back since. While community projects tend to have a bad rep for promoting fruitless volunteer tourism and for not being all that effective in achieving their objectives, I argue that such activities can hopefully spark one’s interest in giving back to the community voluntarily.
4. You’re helping your own community
Sometimes we need to focus on re-shaping and solving our own problems before moving on to helping others. In this case, I think it’s a pretty worthwhile endeavour to help solve our own community problems and societal issues through our various CSP projects before looking towards other countries to do the same. Volunteering with a local CSP allows you to bond with members of your own community, and it’s arguably easier to do so given the similarities in language and culture. Moreover, sometimes it really helps to check our privilege and remind ourselves that there are still tons of ways to improve the welfare of our fellow Singaporeans, most of which are within our control.