The birth of the YouthPREP Centre (YPC) was inspired by the experiences of the Sisters who were involved in the migrant apostolate in the diocese of Kuala Lumpur since 1995. There was an influx of Sabah youths going to work in West Malaysia.
I was then assigned to the Madonna Heights community in Kuala Lumpur, and being from Sabah, I could not ignore the plight and the cries of my fellow Sabahans in Kuala Lumpur. I met and talked with many of these youths and learnt of their struggles and problems with culture shock, inadequacy in language/communication skills, loneliness, living in guilt/shame for not being able to keep the family values, alcohol or drug abuse that resulted in HIV/Aids, STD, mental illness, joblessness and homelessness. Leaving home for the first time from a rural community to the capital city, without any preparations beforehand had put many of these youths in a vulnerable position.
With this insight, in 2005 a few Sisters and lay people started the YouthPREP Link program which was designed to prepare youths, mainly secondary school leavers, leaving home for the first time for another place to live on their own. Very soon we realized that we needed a dedicated place and space to develop and enhance this program further. In 2010, with a shoplot generously provided to us by the Sabah Credit Corporation under their corporate sponsorship program, our Youth Centre was set up in Alamesra, Kota Kinabalu. “Knock and you shall be given, ask and you shall receive”!
On 25 March, 2010, the YouthPREP Centre (YPC), a youth drop-in Centre was set up to provide a safe place for youths to seek professional assistance and support on issues which matters most to them – education, relationship, work, family, financial stability and ultimately, a better future.
Truly, God works wonders. “The Lord hears the cry of the Poor” - God hears the deepest desires of those who sincerely want to reach out to the needy.
By Sister Jossie Sili