Since her secondary school days, Ms Selvakumar Sujatha excelled in oratorical and debate competitions.
The outspoken youth often heard that one should approach a lawyer for assistance when faced with a challenging situation.
It sparked her interest to pursue law and help others.
But The University of Manchester law graduate almost didn't make the cut.
To get called to the Singapore Bar, one had to obtain a second upper-class bachelor's degree.
Her second lower-class honours meant that she couldn't start her practice after graduation and had to work for two years as a legal executive to submit her application to be called to the Singapore Bar.
"My graduation was my saddest day. I felt that I had failed my parents especially. My parents flew to UK for my graduation ceremony but I could sense that there was a bit of pain in them.
"They did a lot to provide me an overseas education and I had to realise the dream somehow," said the 34-year-old.
Her persistence and determination eventually paid off. She went on to complete her Masters of Law (with merit), returned to Singapore in 2007 and started working for Drew and Napier as a legal executive. Subsequently, her application to the Bar was accepted and Sujatha switched to another law firm to focus on her interest in litigation work.
"In the pursuit of your dreams, you are likely to encounter many obstacles along the way. The experiences that I went through reminded me not to give up on my dreams and I thought I could inspire other youths with my story," said Sujatha, who is the chairperson of the Sinda Youth Club.
As a chairperson, she organises programmes that develop the leadership capabilities of Indian youth.
Her voluntary work extends to other areas of society.
In 2015, she joined the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme Fellowship assisting the needy who required legal representation.
She served as a grassroots leader in Chong Pang and a district councillor at North West Community Development Council and was appointed as a Legislative Assistant to help an MP in 2016, a channel which she believes could help raise policy concerns.
She continues to provide assistance at legal clinics at the Community Justice Centre and has served more than 4,000 hours on pro bono cases.
She shared a memorable pro bono case where she assisted a Malaysian security officer who works in Singapore. The Malaysian was charged with voluntarily causing grievous hurt to his girlfriend during a heated argument.
During the consultation with Sujatha, the Malaysian man claimed that he did not slap his girlfriend.
He was about to plead guilty and was lost on what to do next.
While the court case was ongoing, he was unable to work and return to Malaysia and his four siblings and his ailing mother were dependent on his sole income.
It took Sujatha and her team six months to prove that the victim had inconsistencies in her statements to the authorities.
For her work in helping the community-at-large such as victimised foreign workers, women subjected to family violence and youths subjected to cyberbullying, Sujatha was awarded the Singapore Youth Award last month.
Organised by the National Youth Council, the Singapore Youth Award is the nation's highest youth accolade.
The award recognises exceptional Singaporean youth who have thrived in their fields of pursuit and significantly contributed to society.
This year seven individuals were conferred the award.
"This is recognition for a decade-long work and it inspires me to continue doing it," said Sujatha.
"In the pursuit of your dreams, you are likely to encounter many obstacles along the way. The experiences that I went through reminded me not to give up on my dreams and I thought I could inspire other youths with my story."
- Ms Selvakumar Sujatha