Arden Chua Wan Er is a passionate youth from the Senja-Cashew Youth Executive Committee (YEC) who had organised an Anti-Drug Art Competition at Senja-Cashew CC in 2016. Read on for what she has to say about anti-drug efforts.
What inspired you to become involved in the drug-free cause?
Arden: The main source of inspiration came from the disheartening news that an increasing number of drug addicts in Singapore are youth. Upon being aware of this, I felt the urge to do something and make a difference in the lives of youth who are currently abusing drugs, as well as youth who are considering doing so. In my opinion, the two most effective approaches to doing so were education and encouragement, and I felt that this could be best done through an art competition. Art, after all, has the ability to convey messages and invoke emotions. By engaging youth to compete in the art competition, we were effectively engaging youth to spread the message and encouragement required to our target group of youths. This was, in our opinion, very befitting as our Youth Executive Committee is after all, an Organization run by youths for youths.
In addition to educating and encouraging our target youth groups, engaging participants in the competition also serves as reminder to themselves to be committed to a drug-abuse free lifestyle. I hope that all the competition inspired the youth involved the same way we were inspired to organise this competition.
What has been your greatest satisfaction throughout your contribution(s) to the drug-free cause?
Arden: My greatest source of satisfaction so far was seeing how much effort each and every one of the participants put into their art work. Many of the art pieces were impressive and elaborate. It could be seen that a great deal of effort was put in, in spite of the competition period coinciding with the school holiday and exam period. The artworks also showcased our youth's creativity and techniques. This was testament to the fact that there are youths in our community who stand for the same course as us; to be and to remain drug-free.
Do you have any inspirational words for youths who want to do their part and contribute to the drug-free cause?
Arden: I would want to tell them to be brave and wild with their ideas. Anti-drug is such an abstract topic and it’s more important to help people relate to this topic. If you're going to start a brand new project, make sure that you have a team of people who share the same aims as you as these are the people who will brave through thick and thin with you just to make the project a success :) There is always the financial scheme from NCADA to tap on for your projects so feel free to go wild with the ideas. Approach your teachers in school or even organisations like the CC and they will gladly assist you in realising your concept :)
Do you have any advice for individuals who are faced with the temptations of abusing drugs?
Arden: Firstly, on behalf of my Senja-cashew CC YEC, we would like to reaffirm you that we are in no way judgements of the temptations you are facing. We know that the issues you are experiencing are very compelling ones for you to consider drug abuse.
However, we would like to encourage and affirm you that no matter the issue, there are always alternative ways to seek help. If you are experiencing such a form of temptation, I would like to encourage you to seek help from your parents, as well as professionals. Professionals can come in the form of your teachers, school counsellors, or any of the staff at NCADA, for instance. There is no shame in bringing up these temptations you experience. In fact, it is a respectable thing to do. Above all, remember that my YEC and I stand alongside you in your fight against drugs, and your commitment to a drug-free lifestyle.