SINGAPORE - 103 bubbly senior citizens, all donned in graduation gowns complete with mortar hats, received their life-long learning certificate from President S.R. Nathan during the YAH! Community College graduation ceremony held at the NTUC Centre auditorium on Nov 27.
During his opening speech, Archbishop Nicholas Chia spoke about the origins of the YAH! Community College and its goal to enhance the quality of life in the senior citizens in Singapore, as well as to give them the opportunity to go to school again.
The first batch of students, between the ages of 50 and 81, took up the challenge of completing the course started in July this year. They have since acquired knowledge about ageing and communication skills, enlarged their social circles, and ventured into many new activities which they have hitherto never done.
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Mdm Yeu Mui Tee receives her graduation certificate from Singapore President S.R. Nathan. Aged 81, Mdm Yeu is the oldest student of her batch.
The eldest student, Mdm Yeu Mui Tee, 81, was persuaded by her daughter to enrol in the course. During the past four months, she has made many new friends, where in the past she had kept mostly to herself. Although she has not yet made any plans to put her new skills to use, it was the joy of learning, even at her age, which counted most.
YAH! Community College is managed by the Marine Parade Family Service Centre, a joint community project by Catholic Welfare Services, the Brothers of St. Gabriel and the South East Community Development Council.
Catholic Welfare Service Director, James Chew, said that although the Marine Parade Family Service Centre received about 500 calls to register for the pilot project, the centre could only accommodate 100 participants.
"We are now waiting for MCYS (Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports) evaluation," he added, regarding the second intake.
(YAH! stands for Young At Heart!)