“My confidence is the greatest achievement I have made this year,” says 18-year-old Sarvinderraj Tamizhselvan.
Having recently completed his Nitec in Fitness Training at ITE College West, Sarvinderraj has actively helped out at many SINDA events, the most recent event being the 2018 Back To School Festival.
Of his experience, he says, “As a volunteer, I guided parents and children to the appropriate venues. While doing so, I had to ensure that I knew the necessary information, and that I was also confident enough to talk to people and make them feel comfortable. I feel happy that I was able to put a smile on the children’s faces.”
“My interests are in dancing, acting and football – I love sports, such as badminton, sepak takraw, floorball and basketball. From time to time, I lead my juniors in the NPCC (National Police Cadet Corps) as a cadet inspector. I also regularly help out in SINDA programmes, such as the Peer Leadership Programme and Guidance and Mentorship (GAME) Programme,” says Sarvinderraj.
Sarvinderraj’s involvement with SINDA began when he joined STEP tuition as a Secondary 1 student. Once scoring Ds for Mathematics and Science, Sarvinderraj improved by leaps and bounds after attending STEP – his grades improved from Ds to Bs, and he also won an award for being the most improved student in his class. “I’m thankful for my friendly and approachable tutors, who conducted group discussions regularly, so that everyone could learn together.”
Concurrently, Sarvinderraj came to know about the Half-Time Camp, where participants would learn about the training regime and lifestyle habits of professional soccer players. “During the camp, I was offered the opportunity to join the SINDA Lions as a goal-keeper. I went on to play in many tournaments. It’s been four years since I joined the SINDA Lions,” he reminisces.
Soccer turned out to be the best outlet for Sarvinderraj to channel his energy and passion towards a meaningful outcome. In secondary school, he was peer-pressured, having succumbed to negative influences. Eventually, he chose to turn his life around by joining the SINDA Football Club. “I made the effort to discipline myself and get onto the right path by focusing on trainings and tournaments.” Sarvinderraj’s team went on to win one of the 6 championships won by the SINDA Football Club thus far, at the MOF Soccer League in October.
Sarvinderraj credits his improved confidence and leadership skills to the experiences at SINDA. “In the past, I didn’t have the confidence that I could play as a goalkeeper, and I kept belittling my abilities. That’s when my team-mates, manager and coach kept motivating me. I didn’t know how to demonstrate my leadership qualities back then. But now, being involved in SINDA programmes has given me the experience I need to become a more effective leader and communicator.”
In the future, Sarvinderraj wishes to continue volunteering at SINDA events. “In my opinion, I think everyone has the ability to help others,” he says. It doesn’t have to be anything big – even a simple act of kindness can put a smile of people’s faces.”