Slam Dunking to Make Dreams Come True
Cheuk-hang grew up in Cheung Chau. A fiery introvert, he only had one or two classmates that he could get along with. Outside of Cheung Chau, he didn’t have any friends at all. With a very small social circle, he preferred to play basketball in Cheung Chau after school and on weekends. Gifted with a tall body and good basketball skills, the smug Cheuk-hang frequently found himself clashing with other basketball players. At one stage, he was even ostracised by the island’s young basketball players.
In 2014, Cheuk-hang, who wanted to become a professional basketball player, found out by chance that Mr Ho, a social worker with a Cheung Chau-based social welfare agency, was forming a youth basketball team for participation in the Slam Dunk Challenge organised by Changing Young Lives Foundation and now supported by the Chest. At the age of 13, Cheuk-hang offered himself to the team and became a founding member.
When studying in Form 1, Cheuk-hang already stood out among the teammates due to his height. Together with his superior physical strength, he often ran into arguments with teammates over tactics, and this greatly affected the team’s performance in the tournament. On the other hand, Cheuk-hang’s arrogance prevented him from achieving breakthroughs in his basketball skills. Mr Ho, who was also the team’s coach, understood very well that Cheuk-hang had to improve his sports ethos in order to play better. Therefore, Mr Ho encouraged Cheuk-hang to join the social service and leadership training activities, as well as the life planning course, offered by the programme.
Year after year, Cheuk-hang finally realised why Mr Ho asked him to do this and that. Mr Ho was hoping that through helping the disadvantaged, Cheuk-hang could learn to become a humble and compassionate person so as to improve his interpersonal and communication skills. The leadership training helped Cheuk-hang to understand that being humble and accepting others’ opinions are essential for building a good team. The life planning course enriched Cheuk-hang’s life through setting different personal development goals. These non-basketball experiences opened up Cheuk-hang’s mind. As a result, both his basketball skills and chemistry with teammates advanced by leaps and bounds. In 2016, he helped the team to bag the overall junior men’s championship in the tournament.
As it turned out, Cheuk-hang was inspired by a guest speaker in the life planning course he attended during his last year in the programme. Since then he has wanted to become an outstanding firefighter. Although the dream has yet to come true, Cheukhang persisted. He said: “In those days I thought I was in such a good shape, but I have twice failed due to not meeting the physical requirements. I actually feel rather embarrassed of it. That said, I can now fully appreciate the indomitable spirit that I learned from the programme. I will continue to work for it until I become a recruit firefighter!”
The Chest cares deeply about young people’s personal growth. It has funded the project and renamed it to Community Chest Slam Dunk Challenge since 2018. The project aims to enhance teenagers’ self-confidence, broaden their horizons and nurture their positive values and attitudes.