When Hope of the City hosted our first SSP Xperience in February, 2015, our goal was to raise awareness of the many needs of people living in poverty in Sham Shui Po. We hoped to inspire others to join us in using their time and talents to make a difference in the lives of those on the margins of society.
One of our guests that evening was inspired. During a late-night meal at a smoky cha chan teng after the event, this recently retired business executive asked what he personally could do to help. The first thing that came to mind was, ‘Well, there are a lot of kids from low-income families who are really struggling in school. Why not come down and help them with their homework?’
That very night, David Ho asked me to direct him to the J-Life community centre, where he became one of Hope of the City’s volunteer tutors the very next week. And he’s been going strong ever since.
David has been tutoring primary students at J-Life for more than a year now, faithfully offering his time twice a week from 3.30pm - 6.30pm to help the children with English and Math. Even though this Taiwan native doesn’t speak Cantonese, he hasn’t let that stop him from developing a strong bond with the regular bunch of kids he works with.
“I’m very happy tutoring the kids,” he says. It’s obvious that they are equally happy to have his help, as they eagerly look forward to seeing him on tutoring days.
David recalls how he would find his eyes tearing up in the beginning when one young boy he was tutoring would pack up his school books at 6pm sharp each day and go to sit by the door, where he’d stare out anxiously as he waited for his mother to pick him up. David had learnt that the boy’s mother (a single parent) suffered from depression and had once told her son that one day she wouldn’t be around to care for him anymore. So every day, the boy worried that this might be the day she didn’t show up to collect him.
Tutoring kids has been rewarding for David, and also a learning experience. He told me that spending time with the children has taught him to be humble and patient. He’s also learnt that what’s most important is to let them know that God loves them and that someone cares about them.
Even though David has taken up some professional work again, he continues to devote his time each week to the kids, going so far as to tell his clients that he’s not available on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, because those are his tutoring days. He also actively encourages his friends to join him in tutoring the children, and several of them have already become involved as well.
We are truly grateful for faithful volunteers like David, who have stepped up and committed themselves to helping us fulfil our vision of transforming our city, one life at a time.