My family and aspirations kept me going

“I left home when I was 12 years old and dropped out of school after Primary 6. My parents often quarreled because of me. My mother had always sided with me but I knew deep inside she was always concerned about my future.

I was imprisoned four times for different offences – theft, housebreaking, pimping and substance abuse. In 2003, my mother passed away due to cancer while I was in prison. The news broke my heart but I shut out all memories of my mother to survive prison. At 55 years old, it finally dawned on me that my mother is no longer around and I could not make amends for what I have done.

As compared to my siblings, I was the black sheep of the family. For the longest time I thought my family did not care for me because I was a big disappointment and a failure. It was only after coming out of prison on my fourth and last time that I realised my family had stood by me all this time. In December 2017, I admitted myself into Highpoint. Anson (former Highpoint director), whom I first met while in prison, also encouraged me to share my life story with others in similar situations.

I have always been interested in cooking and used to work as a kitchen helper for 10 years after my National Service. I signed up for the culinary training course at HCSA Academy as I hope to be a qualified chef someday. I love to cook for others and always welcome feedback on how I can improve my skills. After completing the course in May 2018, I am now a Culinary Assistant at HCSA Academy. I am extremely grateful to the Chefs at the Academy for giving me the opportunity to learn and turn my life around for the better. This course has changed my life – it has taught me self-discipline, stopped me from mixing with bad company, and helped me pull away from my past.

My family has also been a great support. Every Sunday, my second sister and I accompany my 84-year-old father to church. I have four brothers and three sisters. My youngest sister calls me regularly from Australia where she migrated to recently. My relationship with my family keeps me going and spurs me to achieve my dreams.”

Testimony by Colin, Graduate of HCSA Academy

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