Youth serve up Community Spirit in a Pot of Soup: Woodlands Secondary School and Woodlands Health Campus launch first Student-led Share a Pot® in Marsiling
UNTIL THE beginning of this year, Tharnosh S/O Jayashankar, 14, showed no interest in cooking at home. Now, the Secondary 2 student from Woodlands Secondary School can prepare a delicious pot of lotus root soup for his eager diners at the first student-led Share a Pot® kitchen in the North. The programme is a joint community collaboration between the school and Woodlands Health Campus (WHC), and supported by the Northwest Community Development Council.
Located at the Residents' Committee centre in Block 123 Marsiling Road, the Share A Pot® serves residents who live in rental units and studio apartments nearby. On top of preparing nutritious soup, students also engage residents in simple exercises or activities, to encourage social, physical and psychological well-being. The collaboration is the latest addition to the awardwinning Share a Pot® network, which has over 17 locations in Singapore, including Admiralty, Marsiling, Yishun, and Woodlands areas.
"The partnership with Woodlands Health Campus is a meaningful one as it gives our students the opportunity to serve and interact with our pioneer generation – to listen to their stories and gain a better appreciation of their sacrifices towards nation-building. We hope that this helps our youth bridge the generation gap between themselves and our elders, as well as fosters a strong community spirit within each participant," said Ms Tan Ke-Xin, Principal of Woodlands Secondary School.
Nourishing Community Care in the North From start to finish, the school's entire Secondary 2 cohort played an active role in the Share a Pot® set up, from identifying a suitable location and residents to support, from stakeholder engagement to securing a site, from purchasing equipment and ingredients, to developing activities for participants. They were guided every step of the way by teachers and supervisors from the WHC community engagement team.
"There is something magical about the interaction between students and older residents. Young people often want to make a difference, and are brimming with energy to contribute to their communities. There may be some awkwardness at first but when both sides step out of their comfort zones to interact and spend time together, meaningful relationships can form," said Dr Wong Sweet Fun, Clinical Director for Population Health, WHC. "We hope that such programmes can help build strong and compassionate communities. This is very much in line with Woodlands Health Campus' vision of developing a strong network of care in the North."
Since 2015, WHC has been actively working with various community stakeholders including schools, Voluntary Welfare Organisations, social and primary care providers to develop initiatives geared towards health promotion, education and engagement. The aim is to build a strong care ecosystem which will eventually support some 900,000 future residents in the North.
For Tharnosh, the programme has helped him develop a deeper sense of appreciation for his neighbourhood.
"This is something different from the usual activities in school, which are mostly held in classrooms. We designed flyers, distributed them to the residents around us. In the process, we also heard life stories from the uncles and aunties we interacted with. I hope that there will be more of such projects for us!" said Tharnosh.