Meet Alvin:

Hi there! My name is Alvin, and I am a high schooler studying in Hong Kong. I have a passion for music and science, and I often like to combine both of my interests to promote social justice. I advocate for youth disability inclusion, as I believe that the inclusion of special needs students will create a more diverse future generation. Scientific studies have shown that music greatly aids communication for those with special needs. As a result, I have founded March to Your Beat, as a music initiative to help build an inclusive youth community.

Recently, I have partnered with fellow youths Aden Wong, Alpha Ngai, and Natalie Chan to form the Coalition for Disabilities Inclusion for a World Economic Forum showcase. An inclusive society is the vision we are all striving for. I would like to thank KIDsforSDGs for offering us continual support in the development of our organizations.

What was the first moment of enlightenment that encouraged you to take action for the society you live in?

When I was still in elementary school, I grew up together with special needs students. We were good friends, and studied in the same classes. As I grew older, however, I noticed that the special needs students weren’t in my classes anymore, as they started to fall behind academically and struggle socially. I figured that if this pattern continued, the special needs students would drift farther and farther apart from us. That’s why I decided to create March to Your Beat, an initiative that strives to rebuild an inclusive youth community through music.

What are the projects you are currently working on? What are the challenges you and your organisation are facing today?

In 2020, I founded March to Your Beat, which started as a music therapy sole-proprietorship. I started drumming with special needs youth in my school, as well as in local organizations. After a few months, I started doubting that my small-scale initiative would be able to catalyze change in Hong Kong. That’s when I realized that music therapy alone wouldn’t be able to make a huge impact. To facilitate the expansion of March to Your Beat, I have recruited fellow youths, each specializing in a different form of therapy, such as counselling therapy and occupational therapy, to collaborate on this initiative, with the hope of accelerating impact and reaching out to wider audiences.

What is something adults do not understand about youth? What is a common misconception they have about young people?

The first thought that comes to many adults’ minds when thinking about youths is that they are inexperienced. In fact, as a youth myself, I do agree with that. We, as youths, aren’t as experienced as adults when it comes to spearheading global change. However, the youths are the adults of tomorrow, and it is crucial that youths get involved from an early age. The youths’ lack of experience in global action could be made up for by support from adults. At the same time, the youths can give a fresh perspective on innovation that many adults may lack. Intergenerational support between the adults and youths is crucial to foster a bright and promising future generation.

What is your advice for young people who want to make a positive impact? How should they begin?

Service begins at home. My advice is before we even think about creating global impact, we must first impact our family and friends. Actions as simple as recycling waste at home is already a step forward in protecting our ecosystem. Participating in community fundraising is already a noticeable stride towards reduced inequality. Our global champions of childhood literacy must have had prior experience teaching English to their closest peers. In my initiative, I started serving special needs students at my school before scaling up my impact regionally. My advice is that we should all begin by making small, tangible changes to our immediate community before going on to change the world.

Copyright: Alvin Wong; image courtesy: Alvin Wong