SPENDING two years to coach a child to count from one to 20 - that is the kind of commitment Mr Eugene Teo, 38, showed while befriending children who come from homes with family problems.

Since joining the befriending volunteer scheme under the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) in 2005, the engineer has given academic and emotional support to three such children.

Mr Teo was one of three outstanding volunteers honoured by MCYS in an award ceremony at *Scape at Orchard yesterday.

Sharing his experience, Mr Teo said he used colour pencils to teach one of the children who has learning difficulties. 'You need to be very patient. You need to repeat again and again.'

He was elated when the child managed to count to 20 after repeated coaching over two years. 'I felt like I had struck Toto,' he said, referring to the lottery.

One of his former charges, now 19 and a polytechnic student, said Mr Teo was the first person he called when he received his O-level results. His mentor, he said, had helped him a lot, tutoring him and imparting studying techniques.

MCYS volunteers honoured