Children scrambling for a seat and parents settling down in the hall, what better way to end the beautiful closed-door event of Celebrating Heroes (CH), than with the Disney movie – Moana.
This year’s installment of CH held at Enabling Village, an integrated, all-accessible community space, welcomed beneficiaries and their families, volunteers, Council members and staff coming together to recognise and salute the 7 tireless caregivers and siblings for their unfaltering energy and determination with their loved ones on the journey of chronic illnesses and special needs.
Overcast with showers in the early morning which subsided slightly past 9 am, a sigh of relief superseded with excitement as it was just in time for the team to complete the final set up of the event site and to prepare for the commencement of the celebration of our beneficiaries’ (super) heroes in their lives.
To kick-start the event, the audiences were called to stand and join in some morning stretches, relaxing their muscles and warming themselves slightly in the cool weather. After introductions done by the emcee, all recipients of the Exemplary Caregiver Award (ECA) were invited up on stage for the sharing session, where we had the pleasure of having Miss Annette Chua who was an award winner from CH2017 to participate in the forum as a moderator and contributor.
The awardees and Annette were able to exchange their experiences as caregivers with the audience who benefited from the sharing. Catching up with Annette after the event, she expressed “I feel very inspired by this year’s winners as they have gone beyond the boundaries as a caregiver to give their time and energy in taking care of a person who is of no relation to them. It’s just amazing how big their hearts are. It’s truly an act of big love!”
Annette also pointed out that apart from the challenges faced by caregivers, beneficiaries and their families, they do need to feel as part of the community too. She calls for the public to come together as supportive and inclusive oneness.
For this year, we have added a new award category - Exemplary Sibling Award (ESA) to recognise the siblings who also played an important role in our beneficiaries’ everyday life.
Being a beneficiary of CRS himself did not stop Muhammad Saifullah Bin Ghazali from stepping up as a responsible elder brother to his sibling who was affected by a neurological disorder. Apart from clinching the ESA, he was also awarded the Admirable Award for his strength and determination.
Our own little way of giving hugs to the caregivers and siblings is by dedicating this day of celebration to them, sharing their stories, spreading their positivity and strength to all out there who are feeling despondent and in challenging situations; letting them know that ‘You Never Were Alone’.
Whilst caregivers were having a respite break, sitting back and enjoying the immersive sharing session, picking up useful tips along the way, a collaboration with NTU Operation Hope saw a room setup with various inclusive game stations like Stick-Tac-Toe, Where’s my match?, Test your strength, Bin the bag, Super Launcher, Matric Maze for the beneficiaries.
Besides these game stations, children were also seen bouncing away happily on the bouncy castle and having their go at the outdoor sport games, some of the many fringe activities that brought smiles and laughter to faces of the little ones and those young at hearts.
A couple of CRS partners like Shatec, Speech Academy and Karate had booths to present their programmes, services and trial lessons by Karate.
Looking back on the last CH event, we saw the number of families coming forward doubled at this year’s CH. According to Programmes Development (PD), out of a total of 570 attendees, 105 were our beneficiaries, accompanied by 310 other family members as compared to 82 beneficiaries and 158 family members from CH 2017. Organisers of the event, both Khloe Lee and Tay Zhizhong from PD were happy that the event went as planned and shared their sentiments, ‘This year’s event ended with the highest turnout of beneficiaries ever recorded for a Celebrating Heroes event. We had a total of 105 beneficiaries who attended the event this year. Overall, parents were satisfied with the activities that were provided for them and the kids’ said Zhizhong and with Khloe adding on, ‘It was nice to see the families gather together and enjoying the activities planned for them. The stories of our award winners are also inspiring and refreshingly positive.’
In ensuring there were ample serving hands for the event, we had a pool of committed volunteers, many from Micron, NUS, NTU, and SMF came forward as befrienders and to help out in various areas. As the saying goes, ‘Many hands make work light’, thus, we like to take this opportunity to extend our thanks to all who took time from their other priorities to support and celebrate the event with us.
Some of the many happy faces captured during the event!