Disney Friends For Change Youth Grant Award Ceremony At Hong Kong Disneyland
Hong Kong Disneyland Resort hosted the Disney Friends for Change Youth Grant 2017 Award Ceremony in the park. The Walt Disney Company has awarded grants to 35 youth-led volunteering projects that serve the community and promote sustainable development. Secretary for Labour and Welfare Dr. CK Law attended the ceremony as the Guest of Honor, while a total of 500 participants were honored for their efforts in spreading happiness from HKDL to every corner of the society.
The Disney Friends for Change Youth Grant is a community project made possible through partnership with the NEIGHBOURHOOD First project from the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups. This year, the Disney Friends for Change Youth Grant has adopted the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals as its main theme, encouraging young people to begin creative projects that promote sustainable development in the community.
This year, almost 50 teams—made up of youth aged 12 to 23—submitted proposals for projects that would help reduce poverty, hunger and inequality through their volunteer services. As part of the program, HKDL granted HK$8,000 to 10 projects and HK$4,000 to 25 projects this year.
Secretary for Labour and Welfare Dr. C K Law said, “The program fully demonstrates the synergy brought by the cross-sector collaboration between business and social services sectors. I am particularly impressed by the design of the program which, through encouraging the participants to plan their own voluntary work projects, could enable youngsters to better understand community needs and put their thoughts into action with positive energy to bring care to those underprivileged in society.”
Nurturing happiness and care
Form Six student Poon Suet-ying was awarded a grant for her project that aims to raise awareness among the youth about the needs of the elderly. After noticing many elderly in her community being neglected, she began her project with about 30 other young volunteers. “Hong Kong has an increasingly ageing society where more and more elderly are living alone or are being forgotten due to the busy pace of city life,” she said. “Many of them feel lonely and neglected.” Poon and her team will visit these elderly folks from October to December, during which she will lead interest classes for them to help widen their social circles. The volunteers will also film a short movie and publish a brochure about the elderly to tell their stories to the world.
Another awardee, Ho Wan-tat, is studying to be a social worker and comes from a low-income family. As a child, he met many other children from low-income families and minority groups. He plans to engage children with a similar upbringing through his volunteer program. He said, “By organizing a training camp and community activities, we hope to enhance their sense of connectivity and positive thinking. We also hope to improve their ability to face different challenges.” In the long term, Ho wants these children to learn new skills and become the next generation of young volunteers.
Encouraging sustainable development and training future leaders
Lui Wai-lin, the deputy executive director of the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Group, said, “The NEIGHBOURHOOD First Project combines four special elements: leadership training, volunteer training, online connection and district cooperation. The program allows young people to lead and promote the culture of helping each other in their neighborhood.”
Lui highly praised the young participants for proposing many great ideas to meet the needs of the community while echoing international themes. She specially thanked HKDL for their full support, which helps encourage young people to make an impact and promotes positivity in society.
Samuel Lau, executive vice president and managing director of HKDL, said, “Our resort is celebrating its 12th anniversary this September. Over the last 12 years, HKDL has spread happiness to the public and invested its resources to bring the positive values and culture of Disney to every corner of Hong Kong. I’m happy to see lots of young people creating Disney magic and contributing their positive energy to the community.”
HKDL will continue this spirit of positive community outreach in the future and will continue to support and encourage creative young people to be passionate about caring for society.
Since 2013, around 150 projects were initiated by youth through the Disney’s Friends for Change program, mobilizing over 3,200 young people to serve more than 18,000 beneficiaries.