YOU CAN! Empower Taiwan Youth for Social Impact

by The Mustard Seed Mission
YOU CAN! Empower Taiwan Youth for Social Impact
YOU CAN! Empower Taiwan Youth for Social Impact
YOU CAN! Empower Taiwan Youth for Social Impact
YOU CAN! Empower Taiwan Youth for Social Impact
YOU CAN! Empower Taiwan Youth for Social Impact
YOU CAN! Empower Taiwan Youth for Social Impact
YOU CAN! Empower Taiwan Youth for Social Impact
YOU CAN! Empower Taiwan Youth for Social Impact
YOU CAN! Empower Taiwan Youth for Social Impact
YOU CAN! Empower Taiwan Youth for Social Impact
YOU CAN! Empower Taiwan Youth for Social Impact
YOU CAN! Empower Taiwan Youth for Social Impact

Confused about the future? Not sure what kind of job you want? Can't find the job you want?

These are the common questions in the minds of many young people these days.

 "Yes, I can! The youth Employment Empowerment Program" provides a set of training courses for young people aged 16-24. It accompanies young people to prepare for future employment opportunities.  Through self-exploration, career exploration, multi-skills preparation and  many other classes,  young people are not alone while being taught, using effective communicate to express themselves thoroughly and to find the direction of their careers.

In the past four years, we have accompanied more than 500 community teenagers and directed them toward the right career path through cooperation with schools, churches and communities. By cooperating with Hualian occupational school, Andrew is a student of our training class.  In addition to self-exploration and career exploration, we have added an action plan to help them achieve dreams to come true. We hope that through the action plan, young people can cultivate teamwork ability, organizational planning ability, and adaptability etc.

Andrew said: "During the Dream Action project, the social worker spent a lot of time discussing the course content with us. At the beginning of the discussion, we listed a lot of people we wanted to serve, including children and stray animals.  At the end of brain storm process,  we select the elder people as our targeted service group. Nevertheless, the social worker urged us to go further and engage more in-depth conversation and take a deep dive on plan execution. Therefore, we carry on to discuss more details such as the ingredients suitable for the elderly, how to cook, how to share the work load among classmates,  and cost control, etc.  Moreover, we also have to plan for the flows and itinerary to be carried out on the day as the dining activities is launched.  All of these details are not easy task and indeed really tiring!

As we were shopping at the local market, one thing surprised us most was we were running out of budget! Given lack of financial control, we had to urgently look for a solution for this tough problem. Whether to delete one dish or two or work out any other alternatives.  The social worker let us discuss and decide on our own.  We had no other choice but bargained on the price.  Luckily, the shop owner was very kind and agreed to make a deal so that we can get through this issue and move to the next step.

On the day of the dining event, I danced, sang with the elders, and chatted with them over the dining table. The elders truly felt warm because they were accompanied by us. Seeing them cheerful, I felt full sense of happiness and believed this was a meaningful and wonderful thing for me to do.

Many things in life are not taught at school. "Dreams Action project" is not a class that the school provides for us to learn. For example, we were taught how to deliver the proper attitude when serving needy people. More interestingly is the social worker lead us to play cards and board games in the class which are all a very special way of teaching and learning. 

Now Andrew, completed the training and is joining the workforce to start his career. Andrew is very grateful with the what he has learned from training courses, which allow him to pick up knowledge and skills that are not taught in school. He also expressed to the social worker that if there is a chance in the future, he would also like to become a social worker and help more people.

"Yes, I can! The youth Employment Empowerment Program" is not only about the cultivation of abilities and skills, but more about the companionship that social workers give young people during the training process and as they enter the workplace, to accompany them through the phase of confusion and help them search for the suitable career path.

Support underprivileged youth can explore life and discover one's uniqueness!

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The Walk One More Mile College Student Empowerment Program focuses on empowering young people with the abilities they need. In this Dream Realization Action, the students focused on a specific social issue and discussed what they thought, saw, and observed about the issue and how to implement concretely to bring changes.  

The students brainstormed, discussed, and observed the social issues they wanted to solve together

When students realize the environmental issue - there is a lot of garbage on the seaside, they find that "more than 200 kilograms of plastics are dumped into the ocean every second in the world, and more than 8 million tons of plastics remain in the ocean every year", and these plastics or garbage cause many animals in the ocean died, leaving only rubbish in their stomachs. After knowing the seriousness of these rubbishes that could not be decomposed by nature, these young people decided to arouse the public's awareness of reducing plastic and not littering by actually going to the beach to clean up the beach and recording the process of beach cleanup. The beach cleanup location they chose is the Qigu Guosheng Lighthouse in Tainan. The reason for the spot is that there are fewer tourists here, so the youths can have self-dialogue and connect with one's own life during the process.  

Group photo before the beach cleanup, the poster made by the students - Protect the Ocean

During the beach cleanup action, the young people were very excited and divided in groups of 2-3 people to bag the plastic and glass garbage they saw on the beach. Seeing their enthusiasm and seriousness for the beach cleanup action, their heart of caring for the environment is touching. Unconsciously, those young people filled four to five bags of garbage, and the seaside is full of man-made garbage such as plastics and tires, including the waste that we carelessly pay attention to in our lives.

The beach is full of plastic, tires and many other peculiar garbage, all of which have caused a lot of pollution in the seaside

After the beach cleanup, we went back to the MSM Tainan service station to discuss the gains and advantages of today's Dream Realization Action, what needs to be improved and how to apply it in our daily life. A student shared "Due to beach cleanup, I realized that I use too much plastic bags, straws, bamboo chopsticks, etc., and I want to change it afterwards, and I have to bring my own reusable tableware." 

Some teenagers also mentioned that "Because of this Dream Realization Action, I fell in love with beach cleanup, and I always wanted to participate in beach cleanup, but there was no chance. This time, completed this Dream Realization Action together with the team, I found that beach cleanup is super meaningful, and I still want to sign up for another beach cleanup! " Seeing that young people have a lot of reflect for themselves or their lives because of the Dream Realization Action; I feel that this action is very meaningful!

Sharing feedback and reflection after cleaning the beach

When they finished this Dream Realization Action, the young people saw things that need to be adjusted in their lives, and also found that too much garbage had caused a lot of pollution to the ocean and the environment. so that the young people realized that the Beach Cleanup - Dream Realization Action is meaningful, not only can have a deep connection and resonance with the community and the environment, but also can affect the environment and change the community through their own small effort.

Huge success on Dream Realization Action  

Through the actions together, the young people discuss, communicate, plan, think and be empowered, and have a common goal to do a meaningful thing, everyone feels happy!

Let us love the earth together and protect the environment, there is no planet B! 

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The Mustard Seed Mission's "Walk an Extra Mile" training program is designed to recruit university students to provide companionship to MSM sponsored children and students. This will help to equip them with the necessary skill set during their 4-year university life. The tasks they are given in the second semester of their first year would be to encourage the children to brainstorm as a team, to collectively come up with an action plan to realize their dreams and to implement such plan.

The teacher would guide the students to think, reflect and observe the social issues
The teacher would guide the students to think, reflect and observe the social issues

"Playing" is like a dessert for young people to learn and no one doesn't like it! Through the game of "Social Issues In Ten Seconds", each group write the social issues they observed on post-it so they can share the topics observed by other groups and allows them to actively participate in discussions. The "Social Observation" game allows them to focus on the formulation of an action plan to realize their dreams. During the discussion, it is apparent that every young person is unique. Some are good at thinking, some are good at integrating different opinions, while some are good at expressing themselves who are the types suited to be leaders. They showed diversity and work collectively to achieve the goal of "strengthening ability" of the course. Everyone's potential is fully utilized, and passion ignited. There is a sense of hopefulness!

Through the game, students learn to share and discuss the social issues observed by each group, they then select from the whiteboard the topics that the team wants to change and discuss an action plan to implement it. When students realize that the society is full of issues which they can make a difference, through the guidance of the youth trainer, the group leader lead the discussion and reach consensus so they can discuss the effectiveness and significance of the action plan with more focus. "What are we going to do to realize the dream?" "What can we do?" "Can someone help us?" We saw how the students evolved from directionless to what they want to do at the beginning, to gradually focus and started an action plan and the energy spread within the group. We saw the unlimited potential of these children!

Share their goals and give feedback to each other
During the pandemic, members gather and discuss online, continuing to work towards an action plan to realize their dreams.
During the pandemic, members gather and discuss online, continuing to work towards an action plan to realize their dreams.

Through numerous team discussions, it started bringing changes to these silent young men. Some began to provide their own ideas, some exercise their talents of arts. They learned to communicate with each other, teamwork, collaboration, management and how to pitch their dream-realization action plan to other team members, to respond to the questions raised by teachers and students about their proposal, the ability to write a proposal, to think and react on their own, to communication, etc., these are the soft power important not only in their university coursework but also in their future career!

"To change the world, start with me", small dreams can change the world, whether it is "I want to reduce plastics and garbage in the ocean to protect the environment", or "Start with your own community to raise the awareness of environment protection of the general public." Through the actions of young people, we hope that they will influence the community and the society alike, to connect and interact with the outer circle, to change society from where they are. We also hope that this will help young people to see their own advantages and value.

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Amid life transitions, walk one more mile with the young people! The Mustard Seed Mission (MSM) launches "Walk One More Mile!" initiative, a 4-year empowerment program for college students. MSM has long devoted to poverty issues of underprivileged children and served more than 4,000 disadvantaged Taiwan children via child sponsorship program. For those underprivileged teens graduated from high school and pursuing for higher education, "Student Leadership Camp" was held to develop their capacities and self-efficacies, aiming to equip future leader through a positive interaction environment and empowerment courses.

Chang Hong-En, Director of MSM Youth Development Department said, " When Bill Gates shared about wealth gap, he mentioned environment has huge impact to personal interaction." That is the reason why the "Student Leadership Camp" brings in the concept of critical thinking of John Dewey, an American educator and philosopher, guiding students to practice thinking, perceive problems, and bring out the possibility of problem-solving and innovation.

Attendees experiencing the strength of having a same goal.  

Chen, a freshman in a university, has received MSM's help for 6 years, said he got a breakthrough by the critical thinking training through listening, nonviolent communication, teamwork and cooperation during the camp. He hopes he could apply what he learned to make changes and is willing to share with others. Kevin, another freshman, receiving MSM's help since 13 years-old, is also impressed by the critical thinking training. He was a team leader in the program and he is thankful that he could experience how to handle the pressure, face the problems, and overcome the difficulties in a safe environment even though he didn't lead the team to reach the goal.

The Mustard Seed Mission empowering college youths to be future leaders.

The four days "Student Leadership Camp" guides students to create positive connections through a video "Homeless reversed her life - a miracle in Brooklyn, New York" and then leads students to organize a charity action for the community which builds the student's capacities during the implementation, such as making a plan and raising fund. By serving people in need in the community, students are transformed into givers from takers, and becoming influencers with social impact and are able to walk forward in life.

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When Kai first joined in the class, he was very quiet and didn't talk much. He just showed hospitality with a smile, listening to the social worker and lecturer teaching courses silently aside. Under the continuous guidance and encouragement of social workers and lecturers, and activities and relaxed dialogues have narrowed the distance with Kai, he gradually opened his heart and shared that he had been learning pour-over coffee.

Social worker: "Why do you want to join the training class of coffee brewing stall?" 
Kai: "Because I really want to have my own small stall, but I don't know how to start." 

Kai was not good at expressing his inner thoughts, but now he can talk naturally. He has taken a big step forward his dream of having a coffee stall. Finally, before the end of the training class, Kai will go to the first stop to fulfill his dream: set up a coffee cart stall at the gate of Chengching Lake, with expression of tension, excitement and expectation on his face.

The first time riding on his own mobile coffee cart and move forward to the dream.
The first time riding on his own mobile coffee cart and move forward to the dream. 

"Kai, it's okay! Don't be afraid of being rejected"  "Bravely invite passing people to the stall and enjoy the process of introducing pour-over coffee!"  The social workers continued to encourage and accompany Kai. After interacting with the customers once, twice, and three times, Kai gradually overcame his fears and began to open his heart, and shared with us: "It seems that being rejected is not so scary. Every rejection is to prepare for the next opportunity!"

Breaking through himself and interact with the people, and inviting people to taste the coffee brewed by himself.
Breaking through himself and interact with the people, and inviting people to taste the coffee brewed by himself.

In the class of pour-over coffee stall, Kai not only learns the practical operation of coffee beans knowledge, brewing skills, the trick of water temperature control, and the conditions to note when setting up the stall, but also allows himself to be transformed from the original introvert and bad words, become a "dream practitioner" who has the courage to face fears, overcome difficulties, and work hard to solve them.

On the path of dreams, be determined and keep moving forward! 
On the path of dreams, be determined and keep moving forward!

Now Kai can naturally invite people who passing by to taste the coffee brewed by himself, and actively communicate with customers as friends to share brewing knowledge and entrepreneurial history, and establish friendly relationships. He makes his future life like a cup of coffee brewed by himself, through step-by-step breakthrough and high-temperature quenching, the most mellow and beautiful life charm can be realized.

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The Mustard Seed Mission

Location: New Taipei City, Taiwan - Taiwan
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Twitter: @MustardSeedTW
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The Mustard Seed Mission Taiwan
New Taipei City, Taiwan
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