Staff Stories, October 2020


Ms. Sheila d/o
Selvaraju


Senior Youth Worker,
Residential Services




You started as a Youth Worker with our Residential Services after graduating with a Social Work Diploma, how has the journey been for you the past 3 years?


Sheila:

I joined Boys’ Town after graduation. It’s my first full-time job and it has been a great experience which has grown me personally and professionally.

The journey has been really rewarding for me and I have learnt a lot from the boys I work with. Their experiences have humbled me and made me more appreciative. This has motivated me to do my best for every boy I work with.

Admittedly there may be challenges working with such clientele groups who manifest their experiences in different ways and ideologies. Sometimes what we want for their best interest may not be what they want. Hence, being patient and starting every day afresh with an open mind is important. If given a choice, I would still choose Boys' Town as my experience here is as exciting as a rollercoaster ride that I truly enjoy.

As the first female Youth Worker for our Residential Services, can you share with us how is your experience like working in a largely male-dominated environment?


Sheila:

Coming from a social work diploma background, I was inspired to work with youths, especially young males. I believed in my goal to become a social worker and felt that working at a residential home would be a valuable experience to me as not many have the opportunity to do so. Many friends of mine felt that Boys’ Town would not hire me as they would most likely seek male staff to handle the boys. Being the determined person I am, I applied and to my surprise, I was allowed a one-week work trial at Boys’ Town which led me to stay here.

My whole experience was interesting. When I joined, most of the staff even from the other departments were excited to see me and were very welcoming. I still remember the great support my colleagues provided and I'm thankful for them. However, some wondered if I could do the work. It was initially tough to interact with them and eventually it got easier once I proved myself. I appreciate the support I received from my then Shelter team though we were a small team of 4.

I am very happy that another female staff has since joined us. This goes to show how far we have come. Ultimately, both genders have strengths and limitations, and both can bring different dynamics to work in harmony to better the boys' lives.

As Boys’ Town prepares for our annual Thanks Giving, can you share with us what this event is about and your experience thus far?


Sheila:

Thanks Giving Night is a night where we thank all our volunteers, foster parents, benefactors and stakeholders who played a significant role in the lives of our children and youths. I love how we honour and appreciate these important people. While we appreciate those who have played a part in the youths’ lives, we also took the opportunity to celebrate our boys' achievement.

My favourite part of the event is to see families receiving a token of appreciation, as well as when they have their sharing which is very touching and inspiring. We also have old boys returning to share their gained wisdom with our younger boys. Their achievement stories boost our boys' confidence, giving them hope for a better future.