SYB：One year to change the life of 32 young adults!
Coming from disadvantaged backgrounds, most the SYB students have all been through extremely difficult times: from the loss of one or both parents, the responsibility to support their family, brothers and sisters, the sacrifice of aborting their studies in order to make a living and survive… All of these have left a deep impact on their personality, the way they react to their environment today, and the fact they had lost hope for a brighter future before entering SYB.
Thus since the launch of our program in 2009, our team has set itself a very challenging goal: to change the life of 32 young adults in one-year time. By helping them gain back confidence into themselves and their future, our aim is to facilitate their integration into society while having them set their own values and goals.
What is important to you in life? What do you hope to be in 5 years from now? What family situation would you like to have, what position? All these questions are part of the content of their “life skills” classes, conducted on a weekly basis by two volunteers, professional in the psychology field, Ms He and Ms Gao. At SYB indeed, we believe that not only the skill of baking is extremely important to the students, but the “soft skills” are equally important for them, to better integrate the society and their professional environment upon graduation.
But providing intensive training is not enough. As most of their past experiences have left them with a lack of confidence and self-esteem, the students would often have issues communicating with others, whether with their classmates or colleagues, and not only. For a young adult who had to survive on his own for the past 5 years, making a living today just enough for the next day, the respect of simple rules and the feeling of belonging to a community would become major difficulties for him. A left-behind son who has grown up seeing his parents only once a year, might have trouble setting values for himself, and perhaps, recognizing love. This is why throughout the year we try to emphasize on the feeling of solidarity, especially as belonging to a great network will be a very important tool in the future of the Young Bakers.
The Young Bakers are accompanied on a daily basis by a social educator, Ms Zhu, who has been doing an amazing job following, advising and supporting each one of them on a daily basis, despite the huge workload and stress it represents. In addition, this year we have sought-after the help of expert psychologists, who have been volunteering as counselors to give one-one-one support to the students during their training at SYB. Thanks to our volunteer Ms Luna He, we have now a team of more than 20 professional counselors, who commit their time and expertise, and meet to exchange about ongoing issues together on a regular basis. Surprisingly, more than 2/3rd of our students volunteered for this coaching program, which shows how motivated they are to make great progress during this one-year at SYB.
Our best reward is seeing the impact that the program has on each of the students: having a student extremely introvert and shy, becoming a confident smiling and laughing young baker by the end of the year truly makes us the happiest!
Here I would like to take the opportunity to warmly thank our volunteers, including Ms Luna He and the team of expert psychologists who have been dedicating their time and knowledge in helping the Young Bakers to become responsible and independent adults!
Emilie Rigaud, Program Director