The rain did not stop more than 40 youth from attending VOX @ Children’s Society’s annual open house event on 12 January 2024. The open house is part of VOX’s outreach efforts to introduce the physical drop-in centre to youth.

This year’s event saw special guest Mr Simon Khung (or more widely known as Simonboy), an ex-convict-turned-influencer and TikTok star, in a meet-and-greet session with the youth. During the four hour-long event, Simon shared with the audience about his difficult childhood; how he came to join a gang and his spiral into a 16 year-long addiction to drugs that led him to be in and out of prison three times. Through sheer determination and a shift in mindset, he eventually turned his life around by seeking professional help. He also attributed his new lease of life to his faith and the support from the community and his loved ones. His advice to youth – think carefully about what you want out of life as every decision you make will has its own consequences in the future.

“I’m blessed to join this event to do this sharing with the youth and it warms my heart to experience the welcome that they have shown me. I hope that by sharing the mistakes I’ve done in my life, it will help them avoid some wrong decisions in their life too. Thank you to VOX for giving me this time to spend with them,” said Simon.

Simon engaging a rapt audience with his life story

The meet-and-greet session also allowed the youth to ask Simon questions they had. Some of these were what he does during his free time, what was his greatest fear and whether he would change anything if he could turn back time. There was also a lucky draw where youth stood a chance to win shirts from Simon’s apparel brand.

One of our lucky winners posing for a photo with Simon

The participants went home with a goodie bag each and photos as keepsakes to mark the day. They also enjoyed sandwiches and drinks prepared by VOX members.

The instant photo booth was a great hit with all our guests!

Atika, one of our staff members at VOX, shared: “We were humbled to have Simon grace our open house event to share his life story regarding his struggle with drugs and gangs. It was nice to see the youth come together to help us facilitate the event and I must say that it was quite successful!”

Wrapping up the successful event with a group photo of Simon and his team, our youth participants and VOX staff members

VOX @ Children’s Society is a drop-in centre that serves youth aged between 13 and 18. In modelling its intervention on the Positive Youth Development Framework, the centre aims to impart the 5Cs – Caring, Character, Competence, Confidence and Connection – to the youth through developmental programmes and sports. Youth who require more targeted help will be given the necessary support through casework and counselling.

Click here to read the story in Chinese.

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