It was a momentous time for the seven students of S.T.A.R. Youth attached to the Living Skills Training Centre programme at the LTC Graduation Ceremony on November 8th, 2015. Witnessed by their parents, these precious ones graduated after two years of training in living skills.
The eight students, two boys and six girls aged between 14 to 21 years, first began their course in January 2015 and were trained in coping and living skills including cooking a simple meal, sewing, table manners and reading the newspapers. Following their graduation, the clients have the option to extend their training should they so desire.
Our lives were enriched
"We have definitely enjoyed the close to two years your children have been with us. There is no denying that there has never been a dull moment. Our lives have been enriched because of them," said Tracey Chan the Head of Ministry to the proud parents.
"Just like you, it is also our desire to see them living with dignity and independence, having a certain quality in life and be a contributing member to the family and society. The journey is not easy ... But nevertheless, it is worth our every effort," she added.
"I believe the few hours spent with your child each week has made us realise the demands of parenting a person with special needs. We want to acknowledge the parents sacrifice - some of you have to drive many kilometers and through heavy traffic traffic to send you child to Dream Centre," she said, herself a parent of a special needs youth.
Made in the image of God
The ceremony was officiated by Pr Margaret Loy, Director of CES who also gave away graduation certificates.
In her speech, Pr Margaret highlighted the driving force behind the S.T.A.R. Youth programme, which is the inherent value of a human life made in the image of God, which is greater than gold. Part of this value as human beings is the nature of autonomy in decision-making and choice, which gives dignity to a person when exercised. In this respect, children and youth with special needs have equal rights to life and liberty.
The graduation ceremony ended with a photography session and a meaningful time of dance between parents and children. As the year draws to a close, S.T.A.R. Youth looks forward to another meaningful year in giving special needs children autonomy of life.
"Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members -- the last, the least, the littlest."
~Cardinal Roger Mahony, In a 1998 letter, Creating a Culture of Life
The greatness of America is in how it treats its weakest members: the elderly, the infirm, the handicapped, the underprivileged, the unborn. ~Bill Federer
"A society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members and among the most vulnerable are surely the unborn and the dying,"
~Pope John Paul II
For more information on STAR Youth, click here.