Students from low income or new immigrant families often suffer from low self-esteem and see little hope in the future. Their horizons are often restricted by lack of resources and connections. On the opposite of the pole are the high achievers who participate at our Meridian courses. Their stories are likely to give the students from disadvantage families ideas that they cannot find in their circles.

This was the thought that spurred Rebecca Ng, Agency Director of the Hong Kong Children and Youth Services, Common Purpose Hong Kong Meridian 2013 participant, to propose during a Common Purpose course that fellow participants band together to mentor teenagers from disadvantaged families; a project she called ''Building Dreams, Sharing Realities".

To date, four events have been held with great success and more are in the pipeline. At the Police Tactical Unit, Chief Superintendent and Commandant of the PTU, spoke to the students about the difficulties and adversities he encountered and how he overcame them.

Philip Ho, Manager (Public Affairs) of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, spoke to the teenagers on how to communicate and read body language. More important than that: how not to put people off with their own body language.

Charlie Chan, Social Work Supervisor, of Caritas Hong Kong, took the kids to a social enterprise bakery where they learned that you could succeed and give back to society from any background.

From Simon Lee, KPMG Audit Partner, they learned the importance of planning; of learning and improving oneself; of not worrying about what other people think of them nor comparing themselves to others but to focus on the improvements they are making. They said Simon helped them understand the importance of being independent thinkers and not to be unduly influenced by others nor succumb to temptations.

Above all, the social worker organizer said that the visits raised the kids' self-esteem as they felt being valued by the speakers. Even the normally withdrawn students felt encouraged to speak up.

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