A shared love for animals saw the youth members from VOX @ Children’s Society at the River Safari on 9 January 2021, their first outing of the year.

The group spent the day learning about the animals at Asia’s only river-themed wildlife park before sharing the knowledge they had gained – and honing their public speaking skills – in a 30-minute Instagram Live session. 

The interest group, named “Understanding Animals”, was formed last year when social worker Mr Benjamin Loo discovered their love for animals and decided to tap on this to help them develop the 5Cs of the Positive Youth Development framework – Caring, Character, Competence, Confidence and Connection. 

Since then, the group has visited the Jurong Bird Park and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, absorbing as much as they can about the animals they see. Beyond enjoying learning about something they are passionate about, presenting their knowledge during the Instagram sessions helps build the youths’ confidence, Mr Loo says. Among the knowledge they have shared: that not all birds in Singapore are native – they migrate to our island nation to feed during the winter before flying hundreds of thousands of kilometres back home.

“This unique interest group also allows us to reach out to other youth during our Instagram Live segments and entice new members to join VOX for outings,” adds Benjamin. 

During their trip to the River Safari, Benjamin conducted a groupwork session where the youth members explored their love languages. Our love language describes how we receive love from others and includes words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch.

One member completing the online quiz on his love language

The youth members completed an online quiz that revealed their primary love language, and then discussed creative ideas on how they could express this to their friends within healthy boundaries. The topic was chosen to help them understand more about the different ways of showing care and concern, and how this can help foster better relationships and build stronger connections.