Continuing the “Spirit of Peer Helping” in SMU

24 Feb 2017

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As part of SMU’s effort in alumni outreach and engagement, the SMU Peer Helpers Alumni (PHA) Group was launched successfully on 24th February 2017.

The PHA group was formed with an aim to continue the “spirit of peer helping” within the SMU student and alumni communities. It hopes to continue mentoring and providing guidance to the SMU Peer Helpers student body and fostering closer bonds within the already closely knitted group of friends and fellow peer helpers.

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Founded by Dr Timothy Hsi, a former faculty of SMU, and Associate Professor Low Aik Meng, former Dean of Students and current Director of Office Alumni Relations in 2004, the SMU Peer Helpers has actively promoted, trained and developed undergraduates to serve alongside professional counsellors as peer helpers. They play a key role in becoming the “eyes and ears” on the ground, looking out and extending a helping hand for individuals who may be distressed by the challenges and struggles of student life.

The club, formed under the Mrs Wong Kwok Leong Student Wellness Centre (WKLSWC) also conducts mental health and wellness programmes to the student community and continually seek to make a difference in the lives of students through innovative campaigns with a focus on topics relevant to the wellbeing of the SMU community as a whole.

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On starting the SMU Peer Helpers Alumni Group, Assoc. Professor Low shared with the group on the importance of alumni returning and giving back to the university through myriad of ways. One of which is to continue being the “eyes and ears” between what happens on the ground among the SMU student and alumni community, and the University. Assoc. Professor Low ended his speech by sharing with the alumni on the possible expansion of spaces within the campus for the alumni community, and hopes that the PHA members will join us in our alumni engagement events.

To kickstart the alumni engagement and learning, Dr Hsi shared on the elements of making informed career decisions using V.I.P.S. - Values, Interest, Personality & Skills. He encouraged the alumni to continuously improve these four areas and holistically develop one's career in life roles, leisure activities, learning and work itself.

Ms Ada Chung, Head of WKLSWC, shared, “It is very exciting and encouraging to witness the formation of the newly formed PHA group. From discussion to implementation, I see the excitement and commitment of the Peer Helpers Alumni. I’m encouraged by their love for this community and keenness to do more. PHA group would not have formed without their efforts and initiative. Good job guys!”

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Mr. Teo Te Wei, who graduated in 2014 and serves as a member in the first Executive Committee of PHA group said, “Sometimes, a listening ear and emotional support is all we need to tide through a difficult period. At some point in our life, we would have received some help from others. I am no exception.”

“As a peer helper alumnus, I’d like to pay it forward by helping as many people as I can, be it the SMU community or anyone that I may cross path with. Small gestures can have a big impact. Some decisions that you make now may seem insignificant, but it may have a huge impact in your life many years later.”

If you were once a part of the SMU Peer Helpers and unable to join us for the launch, you can look forward to the SMU Peer Helpers Homecoming in August 2017. Please do not hesitate to contact Ms Ada Chung to find out more information.

For more information on the SMU Peer Helpers Alumni Group and its Executive Committee, visit their Group's webpage. Click here for more photos from the launch event.