Come what may...

Come rain or shine, caregivers of our children will always stand by their little ones.

Why should we step back when haze and rain came upon us on the Saturday morning of Celebrating Heroes 2019? All the more to put our best foot forward in acknowledging their admirable efforts and to celebrate these unwavering everyday unsung heroes.

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We hosted close to 1000 participants this year, which includes our children, their families and volunteers. The event was held at the Singapore Zoo, amongst nature – both flora and fauna. We are happy to have our guest emcee, Mr Gurmit Singh who has been supporting Club Rainbow (Singapore) since our humble beginnings.

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Two programme tracks ran concurrently. One for caregivers with various activities such as yoga, self-massaging techniques, ways to manage stress and anxiety, etc. while the children's programme managed by the NTU team – treasure hunt and fringe activities both of which received an overwhelming response from our little ones and caregivers!

We were blessed to have volunteers from FTI consulting, Andaz, Singapore Healthcare, Young Living, NTU, NUS, SIM and our ardent regulars. With these passionate volunteers coming together to brave the hazy and grey morning with us helped to bring the event through to a sunny afternoon for everyone.

We received both thanks and positive feedback from families and volunteers! Awesome day for all!

 

Taking a cue from our caregivers, don't let the bad weather outlook get you down. Here are ways to keep healthy, take a B.R.E.A.K and stay on top:

  • Build deep connections by staying connected with support groups, friends and family.

  • Reconcile with yourself daily with tips from wellness and mindfulness workshops.

  • Eat healthily and rest regularly.

  • Always seek help when needed.

  • Keep hydrated at all times, most importantly.

A Social Worker's Journey - Interview with Nurul

Interview with Nurul, Senior Social Worker

 

Children supported by Club Rainbow are diagnosed with a wide range of conditions and can have quite different needs.  Every child is assigned a social worker when they join us. The social worker will assess the needs of the child and come up with a holistic care plan to support the family during their journey with us till the child graduates at the age of 21.

 This round, we spoke to Nurul, our Senior Social Worker, to give you more insights into the work of our social workers.

 

What makes you decide to be a social worker? 

Nurul (seen left in picture)

Nurul (seen left in picture)

Nurul: Ever since I was young, I already knew that a desk-bound job is not for me. Being able to relate to people and helping people is what I always wanted. I graduated with a degree in Human Resource and I used to be a HR practitioner. Previously I was in a Human Resource role and very early on in my career I moved on to become a Case Manager at a statutory board. At the same time, I studied part-time to complete my post-graduate diploma, after which I went on to do my Masters Degree in Social Work. I have been a social worker for nearly 11 years, out of my 15 years in the social service sector.

Nurul and her team of social workers from Club Rainbow (Singapore)

Nurul and her team of social workers from Club Rainbow (Singapore)

Can you tell us more about your role as a senior social worker in Club Rainbow (CRS)?

Nurul: Since I joined CRS in Jan 2017, I was appointed as a Senior Social Worker and worked very closely with the Head of Department. I am leading a team of social workers focusing on neurological disorders, renal and gastroenterology. In September 2017, I collaborated with another Senior social worker and colleagues from Client Services  department to start the ASD parent support group initiative which we have carried on till today. My team has recently embarked on a youth support group project led by one of the Social Worker under my care. The needs of youths and what they are interested in, are quite different from that of a younger child so our programmes have to be able to cater to beneficiaries at different stages of their lives. 

 There was a period of time when we did not have enough social workers to support the growing number of beneficiaries. At one point, I had to handle 180 cases! Now with the expansion of our team, I handle about 30 over cases. Apart from that, I supervise the social workers in my team with the cases they have on hand. 

 

What do you do on a day-to-day basis? 

Nurul: On a typical day, I will supervise and go through/ discuss with my team members on their cases, on top of case manage my own clients. My time is also spent on the planning of programmes for ASD support group, preparing of proposal papers, supervising interns and managing on-going projects. As Social Workers we work with Beneficiaries and families as well as their systems, be it school, HDB, town councils, hospitals and many other agencies to journey with the families with their struggles. 

Caregivers turned friends

Caregivers turned friends

Have you done anything extraordinary for any of our families? Nurul: If the families need help, whether it is a weekday or weekend, day or night, I will not hesitate to help them. It is important to reach out to them whenever they need help.  Crisis can happen on any day or any time.  

Healing Horses, a pilot initiative to launch the ASD Parents Support Group

Healing Horses, a pilot initiative to launch the ASD Parents Support Group

Are there times when you feel down due to your work? How do you pick yourself up?Nurul: Yes, work can be tough at times. I am glad that I can always count on the support from like-minded colleagues as well as from my family. Their emotional support helps me through difficult times.  

What motivates you?
Nurul: While journeying with the families, there will be times when we start seeing improvements in their situation, they are thankful to me. Seeing the positive impact that I am making keeps me going. Being able to share my knowledge with junior social workers and see them bloom, also gives me a sense of satisfaction and makes me want to do more.

 

BRIDGE 2019 X Oh Glorious Clay

As part of our BRIDGE programme, our youths aged 13 to 20 year old will embark on various learning journeys in Culinary, Design and Marketing, Entrepreneurship and more. Through the experience, they will discover their strengths and interests, and under the mentorship of our community partners, they will be guided to achieve various learning milestones. We have also secured various employment opportunities with the partners for committed participants who have shown an interest to pursue a career in that particular field. 

 One of the learning journeys was co-designed together with Oh Glorious Clay, a local artisanal company specialising in customised polymer clay creations and jewellery dishes. During the workshops, our youths learnt about air dry clay and created their own clay trinket dish. Apart from that, they get to learn about basic marketing principles and techniques, and eventually graduating with a marketplace sale. The youths have the opportunity to produce items that will go into goodie bags specially prepared for our families who will be attending Celebrating Heroes 2019 in September.  

 

We caught up with Charlotte (C) from Oh Glorious Clay recently to learn more about her experience in mentoring our youths. 

Yi Xiang (in blue tee-shirt), a BRIDGE participant with Charlotte (second from right)

Yi Xiang (in blue tee-shirt), a BRIDGE participant with Charlotte (second from right)

Q: How is it like working with our children? 

C: It has been a FUN experience art journeying with them through the sessions.  

Q: What steps have you taken to ensure that the children feels comfortable working together with you? 

C: It is important to be accepting and inclusive of every individual. The continual weekly lessons over 3 to 4 weeks enable our relationships to develop for more purposeful interactions. We were able to understand them much better over the weeks. And the youths also get to know us more gradually.  

 

Q: What is your biggest takeaway from working with the children? 

C: They taught us how to find joy in simple things. Anyone can enjoy art.  

  

Q: How would you encourage our children to pursue their interests? 

C: There is no limit to how much improvements can be made from practice and learning from a good mentor. Keep working on your passions! 
 


Q: A word of advice for the children. 
C: Never give up. 

 

Welcoming our new Council Members...

This year, our management council bids adieu to some members, thanking them for their contribution. At the same time, they extend their welcome to a couple of new members coming on board who also share the same values as Club Rainbow. We are happy to speak with some of the new members and get to know them better.


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Miss Wong Qin Lei joins the Management Council of Club Rainbow (Singapore) for a term of one year as the Programmes Director. Before coming on board, Qin Lei found herself drawn to humbly giving back to the community through the form of supporting the elderly group by helping to create awareness on elderly living in solitude to all walks of life. Over ten years of devoting her time, she experienced personal nourishment in the process of developing empathy and patience for this group of pioneer generation who contributed to the building of our nation.

Loving her profession in the industry of early education by day and giving hours of volunteering when she can, one may say that community work is in her blood… We catch up with Qin Lei recently for a chat and uncover her secret of what keeps her driven in community work.


Q: What about CRS mission and work motivates you?

QL: Working with children of varying needs, I believe that children shape our future to the type of society we would see moving forward. The key highlight of CRS’s work that impresses me lies in its holistic ecological approach in offering services to the children and their families across the spectrum with the aim of uplifting the quality of life for both the children and their families. This, in turn, translates to child-centric solutions that would bring greater and more significant impact on the beneficiary and the family.

Q: What do you reckon the difference would be compared to your previous experience with charity?

QL: Go along with me on this one; imagine the philosophical view of the Circle of Life.

The elderly and the child stages are the closest to one another. They are at the phases of a typical lifecycle where they are at the most vulnerable.

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A child potentially has to learn how to fend for him or herself, acquire certain life skills and also how to navigate when they eventually become a contributor to our society in their own ways. I think it’s the same thing for the elderly where after going through the whole journey of life, and they are at the stage of life where they have become frail and the same thing being vulnerable. They are at the mercy of their body, people around them, caregivers, etc. I think at the end of the day, these two groups of people need care and attention.

In my opinion, I don’t see much difference, except for the difference in the types of care and attention required between the two groups.

Q: Juggling between work and volunteerism, what challenges did you face, and how did you manage it?

QL: In the pursuit of a career path in my early years, both satisfaction and purpose were not achieved easily at work. Through committing time to community work over the weekends is when I feel recharged with a sense of purposefulness and joy. Among the ups and downs that I faced during this period, the thing that challenges me most was the lack of understanding from my family on my decision to dedicate time to volunteerism.


“Through committing time to community work

over the weekends

is when I feel recharged

with a sense of purposefulness and joy.”

- Qin Lei -


Due to the difference in views of community giving, Qin Lei shared that she does face occasional disagreements with her family. Setbacks such as children not turning up for the arranged tuition sessions certainly did not help to make situations any better. Still, she held on to her resolute belief of ‘a simple act of giving brings joy’ which kept her connected to social service regardless of being surrounded by negativity. 

QL: So some of these things do happen at the same time. I guess that there are just little things that may occur throughout, and in life, whenever you run a project, there could be a setback. You’ve got to ask yourself then why do we want to do this? Why do I want to do it? So let’s say today my outreach failed and I can’t help this person but can I help the second person? Can I try again for the second person at all? This persistent prompting is what kept me going towards community giving, bringing me happiness, and that is important to me — my way of self-care.

Q: What advice do you have for fellow professionals in considering volunteerism?

QL: I like to share that regardless of whichever juncture of life you are at and if you have a moment with yourself, to take a step back and reflect on what you have done and achieve in the past years. Asking yourself, would you count it as a blessing? Feeling blessed, would you be able to give some and if yes, then how would you like to give and what would you like to give? So I guess it’s not an advice, it’s more of a question that you could ask yourself. It is not easy for people to tell themselves ‘I am blessed’. I don’t have a perfect life and not a religious person, but I dare to say that I feel that ‘the guy up there’ has been rather kind to me in general. The key thing here is not ‘I need to give’ but ‘I want to give’. When you want to give, you will give wholeheartedly — the intent.

 

The key thing here is not ‘I need to give’ but ‘I want to give’.

When you want to give, you will give wholeheartedly.

THE INTENT.

- Qin Lei -

 

Q: Qin Lei, thank you for sharing with us so much! Before we go off, please do tell us one thing about you that would surprise us and Club Rainbow followers.

QL: I walked around with a bone fracture in my foot for 15 years without realising it. I was advised by a medical professional to leave the broken piece alone since it did not interfere with walking. So I walk around with a bit of a broken bone in my foot these days!

Follow us on our social media channels – Facebook and LinkedIn for the latest updates! You may also support our mission by contributing through this link - #Clubrainbow.

Social Giving: Part I

Doing our part within the little red dot

On 25 September 2015, more than 150 countries came together to agree on 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), also known as Global Goals at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit #UNDP.

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Singapore’s contribution to the SDGs goes way back to 1992 working with over 170 countries, specifically on sustainable urban management and water management. In more recent year, she undertook her first Voluntary National Review (VNR) of the SDGs at the 2018 UN High-Level Political Forum.

A snapshot of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

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Aspiring towards a fair, inclusive and caring society where there are equal opportunities for people from all backgrounds, Singapore seeks to create the conditions of growth and opportunity. Empowering and enabling Singaporeans to improve their lives through various community-led initiatives. One of the many initiatives includes comprehensive support for families through affordable healthcare and innovative health technology. Another focus is on ensuring quality education for the people of Singapore, where there is an emphasis on maximising the potential of students with Special Needs.

Hearten to see that Club Rainbow Singapore is on the right track of addressing the human capital pillar (identified as the first 4 SDG goals) in the last 26 years through three of the core aspects – Financial Support, Educational Assistance and Emotional Support.

Please do continue to support our mission through this link - Be their rainbows with us!

 

The first of many to come!

esplanade theatre

Claps of welcome broke through the silence of the theatre as our lovely and gentle Ms Tan Zhi Lin walked to the stage to take place by her soulmate, the Grand Piano.

Audiences immediately fell in love with the first presentation of the instrumental piece and needless to say more, they were captivated not only by the beautiful masterpieces but more so the sheer courage and calmness which our children displayed as they walked on the stage with such self-confidence.

In the weeks working up towards the day of self-actualisation in achieving the moment of displaying their talents before a hall of instrumental enthusiasts, there were ups and downs no doubt.

Club Rainbow Singapore & Concert

One of our young talent who is aspiring to be in the field of Linguistics Pathology have been playing the guzheng for more than ten years - Samuel Lim. We managed to speak with him just before his performance where he cheerfully shared, ‘Exhilarating moment for me because although I have performed before but never once with an orchestra.’ Samuel also took the opportunity to express his thanks and love for his family’s unwavering support over the years. He encourages and wants to affirm the children of Club Rainbow – ‘Do your best! But don’t forget to have fun!’

Definitely will be a memorable evening for Samuel and not only his parents but all the parents of Club Rainbow’s young performers as we caught up with Anastasia’s mother, Mdm Kim.

Almost overwhelmed by emotions and holding back a teary look, she gasped ‘We are blessed to be part of Club Rainbow Singapore (CRS), and that she (Anastasia) could get a chance to perform at the Esplanade theatre. Thank you, RedHat too.’ Expressing that her daughter loves drumming so much that she had to always remind Anastasia of other priorities like her studies. Much like Samuel, Anastasia’s 1st performing opportunity was at the Dreamseeds Art Fest 2016. No stopping this young girl as she drummed passionately, expressing her feelings through each beat that evening.

A proud moment not only for frontstage but also for Felicia Lee, the Senior Executive from our Programmes Development Department working behind the scenes. She has been helping to coordinate the weekly rehearsals since the start of the year, and highlighted ‘their efforts were truly paid off by their outstanding performance.’ One of the best moment for her was witnessing their improvement – ‘some of them have not had experience playing with a large orchestra before/or on such large stages, but they looked like pros!’

Jun Rong’s (another of our young talent whose passion lies with the harmonica) dedication of his performance to Felicia came as a sweet surprise for her to which she smiled in acceptance of his appreciation for her continued support and encouragement.

Our Council Member, Ms Karen Tan and Deputy Executive Director, Mr Teo Siang Loong, were both present to cheer on our children as they crossed an impressive milestone on stage. Overall, the event was one to remember for a long time to come. We hope that our children will have many more opportunities such as these to bring them further in their passion for music.

For more enquiries on organising similar events with our children, please reach out to us –crscpm@clubrainbow.org.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Generally, CSR is an avenue for companies to contribute back to society by engaging in various aspects – medical, environmental, the marginalized, etc. I wonder if there could be more connection than that…

After much deliberation, my interpretation of CSR has gone in a more digestible way of looking at corporate as a community of like-minded individuals working towards the vision and mission of the company. With this, curiosity led me to thinking:

Community coming together in a Social environment and Relating to their peers who could or know someone who might be facing challenges beyond the norm.

This could be one way of looking at CSR at eye level (employees) apart from a top view (corporate).

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What is the difference?

One is a corporate initiative as part of the business directive to inculcate a business and social giving culture, while the other approach is to encourage the employees to take the lead of social giving culture within an organisation, thus, forming an integrated CSR approach making the corporate and employees within into a CSR partnership for the community beyond the company.

Article by
Rachel Valerie Fernandez

Contributing Way & Beyond

Norashikin (Pictured Left), seen smiling at last year’s Ride for Rainbows

Norashikin (Pictured Left), seen smiling at last year’s Ride for Rainbows

Hello Shikin! How many editions of Ride for Rainbows have you done?

I have been involved since Year 2013 and this year will be my 7th year!

How do you feel about helping out?

It’s still work of course but most importantly.. I enjoyed the experience wholeheartedly as it gives me the pleasure of helping the families in need.

Somewhere along the way, I learnt that there is nothing greater than to do something for others. “Only by giving are you able to receive more than you already have”.

What is your biggest motivation to do this year after year?

My biggest motivation will still be the beneficiaries, seeing them kept me going year after year.

And not forgetting all the riders who participated and fundraise for our children and their families. Without their effort and strength, RFR will not be a success.

“A person's most useful asset is not the head full of knowledge, but a heart full of love”.

Shikin is taking her inaugural ride at this year’s Ride for Rainbows! Show your support and encouragement to her here

Mr Henry Lim will be riding his 7th Edition of Ride for Rainbows this year

Mr Henry Lim will be riding his 7th Edition of Ride for Rainbows this year

What motivated you to take part in Ride for Rainbows since its inception in 2012?

 Since young, I have always enjoyed cycling as it provided a form of recreation, mode of transport, exercise and  sporting pursuit. Back in 2012, I came to know of Ride for Rainbows through a former school mate and a fellow cycling enthusiast.

Their idea of initiating support of Club Rainbow and its beneficiaries through a cycling fund raiser event resonated with me. I roped in a few of my colleagues from our company’s Sports and Recreation Club, to cycle, sponsor our ride and others to help with photography efforts.

Completing each consecutive ride was tough on the mind and body as we covered distances of 100km, cycling all round Singapore and in the middle of the night. I derived a huge sense of satisfaction and fulfilment from each completion of the long ride, knowing that the funds raised will help alleviate the plight of the children and their families as they cope with their illnesses. I look forward to continuing my efforts in combining cycling and fund raising for a worthwhile cause.

Do you have anything to tell our children or other fundraising riders?

 For the children and families of Club Rainbow - We want you to know that we are with you in spirit. Keep up the fighting spirit and stay positive. For my fellow fund raisers and riders – Let’s band and ride together as a caring community and do our best in our fund raising activities. Let’s look out for each other during the ride, ride safely and with due consideration for our fellow riders and other road users.

Ride for Rainbows 2019 is now open for registration. For more information, please click here