awareness

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 - http://bit.ly/2MVzppC

 

Life is just a Test or an Obstacle

Like one of the many lovable preschoolers joining Club Rainbow (Singapore) yearly, Loh Yi Jie who likes to be known as Leonel now, came to CRS many years ago in light of a blood disorder condition. All grown up with a strong passion for nursing whilst still harboring an aromatic subtle interest where it’s a daily dose of energy for all its lovers – Coffee! 

Leonel have been practising his barista skills since 2016 and was given the opportunity to pick up a Coffee Master Course, and eventually succeeded in attaining the highest level as a barista at Starbucks Coffee. A black aproned coffee master, he brewed some tasty coffee with the Starbucks flagship store at United Square until 2018.

His rainbow days as a preschooler to young child…

Apart from signing Leonel up for the various workshops, participating in CRS signature events and community partner organised shows over the many years, his mother was able to access the tuition support for him through the form of study awards.

The Education Awards is one area where it was very useful for the family. When applicants performed well academically, they will be rewarded with the cash award which helped with motivating individuals to focus on their studies and to excel beyond.

As Leonel got more involved and focused on his early years in education, CRS events held during school holidays made it so much easier for him to be able to join and have fun with these activities.

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Black Apron Coffee Master

A non-coffee lover, started out on his first part-time job with a local F&B outlet at the age of 16, to earn some pocket money. He went on to a fast food chain before discovering the seed of his interest buried deep within him through Starbucks. In fact, it was already ‘planted’ when he was doing his N levels as the popular coffee hangout was where he usually goes to for revision of subjects. There, he notices the way the coffee baristas were creating designs on the coffee foam which piqued his interest.

Now at 20, Leonel is able to tell the difference between the beans and the flavours. He shared, “During my training with the F&B coffee giant, I was expected to pick up the various methods of coffee brewing and barista services. From the use of espresso machine, Pour Over, Siphon to Chemex, etc. The training also helped to calibrate my palate and smell for identifying different tastes.” Just a book, one month and an assessment was what stands between him and a black apron (the Coffee Master title). Generally, it takes about 6 weeks, but Leonel took longer than others due to his studies and other commitments but he managed to pull through and now stand tall with pride, a proud owner of a black apron and presented as a qualified Coffee Master.

Being a skilled coffee barista is an interest where he hopes that in the near future with extra funds, time or as a retirement plan, he would be able to set up a café and share coffee appreciation with like minds. 

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A Gentle touch of Passion

An outstanding barista he may be but his heart still lies with nursing and the reason for such a passion was partly because of his growing years where he is constantly in and out of the hospital, being able to witness first-hand the nurses and doctors doing their best for every patient that come through the Specialist Clinic. He could empathise and understood how the other patients felt.

Nursing became his passion since his teen years, he had a caring heart. Teachers have also attested to his caring nature, sensitivity and the ability to empathise with his peers was evident. Leonel openly shared, “I feel that there are others out there who are in much a worse predicament then I am”. He added, “I would always use myself as a form of motivation to my friends by sharing about my condition and encourage them when they feel discourage and lose faith in themselves.”

 

“Like standing broad jump, aim further, you will go further

but sometimes you fall short and fail, don’t Get Upset. Get up and dust yourself.

There are always other chances.”

 

To him, life is just a test or obstacle; it’s a matter of how you manage the obstacle. He is contented that he is able to pursue his goals and that he will keep pushing forward to achieve his dreams.

#GivingWeekSG

A national movement from the U.S. which started in 2012 sparked off a global collaboration of communities and sees corporates coming forward to participate likewise, to give back to the society in various ways – volunteering, donation-in-kinds, fundraising and monetary donations. 
 
Being part of the global movement, National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) has once again organised the #GivingWeekSG awareness which started from 27 November (Tuesday) and goes on till 5 December.
 
With heartstrings tugged and in the spirit of Giving, we like to invite you to be part of the Giving Week movement with us and reach the target amount of SGD10,000 as a community. You may contribute to this through the link below.

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Join our movement in
Giving Week.

Click here

 
 

$150 to offer 1 child with cerebral palsy 3 sessions of weekly swimming lessons.

$250 to help 1 needy family with two months of food supply.

Every little donation counts, no matter how small. It is the heart that matters.

SOME IDEAS FOR FAMILY TIME TOGETHER...

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5 things to do together as a family during #GivingWeekSG

1. Sorting out toys which are still in good condition to share with the local communities.

2. Join us as befrienders for our upcoming events. xposing your children to a giving culture at a tender age helps with character building

3. Keep a chart on accumulating brownie points and track it.

4. Using recycled items from home to create pieces of art for sale to your community, giving sale proceeds to charity organisations.

5. Taking part in a food drive for the needy.


Home School: Is it a wrong approach?

Forget about the naysayers! Forget about comfort zones!

This is about YOU doing what is right by your children. By Parents for their Children.


Statistics from a recent survey seen by 500 families shows that home schooling is prevalent in households with 2 children with at least one child if not both being home schooled regardless of the presence of medical conditions. About 81.5% expressing that they would still choose home schooling again if presented with the choice once more.

In a broad view, Home School (HS) is nothing more than just another avenue of allowing children an opportunity to gain knowledge and be educated through unconventional ways.

So how does Home School work? What does it entails?

Reached out to 2 different families who are home schooling their children. Mdm Sandra Chan, a mother of two and Mdm Annette Chua, a mother of one both shared some of the similar pros and cons of taking this approach with their children’s education.  

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Being responsible for their children’s learning journey, HS parents take on the leadership role, much like the ‘Academic Director’ in an education institution. They will review, combine and complement different curriculum to cater to the child’s interest and pace. Specially crafted monthly schedules which incorporate various forms of learning from individual exploration to group learning with other like-minded parents and their little ones.

Every child learns differently at different pace and main stream schools cannot cater to the individual child’s needs.

“Life (Home School) is like the ocean. Waves (Challenges) will try to knock you down and push you back to where you started but once you fight through them, the entire ocean is yours.” (1).png

As the 'Captain of the Ship’, an outgoing and friendly personality combined with leadership and a positive outlook are qualities required much like parents who home school manage the challenges that come their way. Some of the HS families do share common challenges as they openly expressed through the survey, one such indicated “Family and relatives are against the idea, there are friends who disagree and feel that school is better.” Another “Staying motivated and not getting overwhelmed.” The top 3 challenges that resonates most with HS parents is social integration, time management and social stigmatisation being the top.      

While families recognises the benefits of home school for their children and the value of interpersonal relationship bonding amongst family, we do see families adopting the home schooling approach not by choice rather due to medical conditions of oneself or their family member. After all, time is the only thing that money cannot buy, let alone any variation of achieving education.


Quoting and unquoting our Patron and Speaker of Parliament, Mr Tan Chuan Jin from a separate message:

“Public perception should be shaped by facts.”

However, this statement is very apt and applicable in all aspect of our lives. Have we been more objective or subjective today on home schooling?


Sandra openly shared a proverb close to her heart which she constantly reflect while on her HS journey, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it”.

Understanding how important it is for HS families to constantly support each other emotionally and spiritually in this uphill and discriminated journey in Singapore, both Sandra and Annette encourages HS parents to persevere on regardless of the social stigmatisation they faced on daily basis.

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Reflecting and couldn’t agree more with Sandra’s view, she asserted ‘If we are called to homeschool our children, go for it! Homeschooling is not just about doing academics at home. It is about parenting and life. The most important thing is not about how to homeschool but why we want to homeschool.’

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While this article does not provide full information of resources on home school but it serves to shed some light in this area where it is overshadowed by the norm in Singapore. 

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Parents whose curiosity are piqued about home school and like to know more, HS families have kindly shared some of the available sites for more information:

The Whys And Hows Of Homeschooling In Singapore

Homeschool Singapore

Homeschooling Series

Exploring Homeschooling SG (Facebook Group)

 

Educational Resources / Materials:

Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool

HomeCampus

Sparklebox (UK)

Hands On Homeschooling

Not all chocolates and candies for Sherman, he wanted more…

Having a placid disposition such as Sherman Low, anyone would be quick to pass a personal judgement on the limit of what this young teenager is capable of with good support and I wasn’t spared of being considered as one such person.

The Low family came to know about Club Rainbow (Singapore) [CRS] through a recommendation via our satellite office in Kandang Kerbau Hospital (KKH) back in 2011. Sherman was 15. At that time, he was diagnosed with Neonatal Encephalopathy, suffering from epilepsy and the function of his right arm was not good.

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Greeted with a warm smile, Mr and Mrs Low Kim Kai and their son Sherman were very happy to be invited back to CRS for a chat.

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Sherman felt good to see that his humble contribution at the heart of CRS – the Reception area where he had jointly decorated the piano and the beautiful wall mural, capturing subtle attention of whoever enters the facility.

Mrs Low shared, “Before CRS, there was nothing for Sherman. We didn’t really know what to do for him in terms of his personal and social development.” and Mr Low added, “We do give him pieces of paper for him to do some scribbling and drawing at home”. Sherman would sometimes break down and cry, not knowing how to occupy his time. “This certainly made me felt at a loss because I wasn’t able to help him”, and Mrs Low shook her head as she relive that moment. She feels that CRS was the foundation which helped to expose her son to many opportunities for him to explore his potentials and to inculcate the importance of constant learning and self-development.

Recalling back together with the Low family on their initial encounter with CRS, was Miss Sylvia Mak. Sylvia, a proficient Principal Social Worker with CRS commented, “From the first time I met Sherman when he was 15, I knew he had great potential to be more than what others perceive him to be!” Subsequently under her persistent encouragement, Sylvia managed to convince his parents to take a leap of faith in their son; to invest in his future. She helped them with application for the CRS Talent Development Fund (TDF), a fund that supports our beneficiaries in their endeavor of pursuing their passion.

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With the TDF, Sherman was able to pursue his first interest in a stringed instrument – the Ukulele but took a liking to the Classic Guitar through an introduction of a friend. He received his guitar from CRS, used it for his practice sessions and enjoyed playing during his cell group’s weekly meetings. The challenge he faced being a left-hand, his coach conducted lessons using his right hand but despite of such a barrier, he rose above the challenge and continued improving his skills and went on to perform at some of our concerts.

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From then onwards, there was no stopping this young gentleman. It was as if he was scaling mountains after mountains, uncovering the many interests he possesses and trying out everything possible, disregarding his medical condition. He also dabbled with roller skates and rock climbing; even with safety precautions in place, both parents were still worried for his safety. At the same time, they knew that they had to let him go, allowing him to scale the heights and be himself. He was like any regular teenager of his age, facing the world with curiosity and unfaltering faith.

“My daddy and mommy are my greatest inspiration!”

As a returning recipient of the TDF, his interest took him indoors to the lanes of bowling pins where he received a customised weight bowling ball to complement his feeble arms. Mrs Low’s persistence of appealing to the bowling trainer and her son’s endurance, Sherman was able to build up strength in his right arm which later proved to be helpful in his career.

As the years pass on, Sherman took up swimming which was quite unthinkable for a person with a weak constitution but continued to push his limits. After training rigorously, he took part in the 9th Special Olympics Singapore National Games 2017 and emerged as the first runner-up. On this note, Mrs Low also took the opportunity to show her pride for Sherman by thanking him. Why? You may ask…

Before Sherman took up swimming, his father had never gone to the pool. And now with Sherman going for his personal self-training sessions, his father starts to join him and before long; the whole family find themselves looking forward to this activity as a way of having quality family time together. Well done, Sherman!

Some of the achievements he collected from swimming during his stint with CRS are National Inclusive Swimming Championships 2017: Gold Medal, participated in SPH Foundation National Para-Swimming Championship in August 2016. For now, he only swims for leisure but still continues to challenge himself by recording his laps during each session and occasionally getting into friendly competitions with his elder sister.

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One of Sherman’s art piece.

One of Sherman’s art piece.

Most children have an insatiable desire to increase their knowledge through their parents and from the people surrounding them. Sherman is definitely one of them as he sought to feed his curious mind constantly and sees him venturing into the Arts. Mrs Low proudly shares that Sherman goes to Very Special Arts (VSA) where he was able to further develop his drawing and painting skills.

Over the past few years, Sherman’s masterpieces have been displayed at several Club Rainbow ARTitude+ exhibitions and one of his works (not shown here) was presented as a token of appreciation to the Singapore Turf Club in 2012.

Sherman with his elder sister, Xin Tian on the cruise.

Sherman with his elder sister, Xin Tian on the cruise.

As the family was reminiscing on memories, I was filled with curiosity “How was your experience with CRS like?” Mr and Mrs Low replied with gratefulness “It’s just too many unforgettable experiences to mention over the last six years. Family Day, Anniversary, TDF, Camp Rainbow, etc. and the list goes on.” However, one particular beautiful experience which they held close to their hearts was the Family Cruise organised by CRS. This was etched deep in their minds as it was the first time the whole family went on a trip together since Sherman was 3 years old. The cruise trip in 2011 was certainly a rainbow in their life; it brought joy and created many beautiful memories for them. 

Apart from receiving educational and social integration needs for Sherman, his parents were also glad to receive financial support through various forms like subsidies, grants, bursaries and daily necessities from donations in-kind which help the family to deflate the cost of living to some extent. Most of the rations are sponsored by corporate partnering with CRS as part of their social responsibility to the community.

“Knowing I was going to graduate, I felt excited. However, after receiving the certificate of graduation, I felt sadness and a moment of emptiness because I miss CRS.”

Playing back his time with CRS, the joy he had during the various events and challenges he faced in his self-development journey. All the years of bonding with CRS family and now that he had graduated, he wants very much to be able to come back and support CRS. However, a full-time employment with the sheltered workshop by Bizlink Centre would pose as a challenge. Sherman’s wish is that he is able to come back to participate and perform in CRS events, to volunteer his hands, to give back to CRS community as much as possible. This is the only way he strongly feels that he can show his heartfelt gratitude and love.

Looking back on the journey both Sherman and his parents have come this far, everything was worth the while. Mrs Low strongly expressed, “It was all possible because of the core services (Educational, Financial, Social, Emotional and Informational Support) provided by CRS and firm belief of their staff. Not only workshops are relevant and affordable, CRS also offers financial support too.”

“Thank you, 彩虹俱乐部!”

“Thank you, 阿姨!”

 

(An actual account of Sherman Low and Family, one of Club Rainbow’s graduated beneficiary by Rachel Fernandez)


Some food for thought

You are not defined by your circumstances;

You are defined by how you handle the circumstances.


Dyslexia Awareness

The month of October is dedicated to Dyslexia across the globe.

What is Dyslexia? How does it affect a dyslexic daily?

Dyslexia is a type of specific learning difficulty identifiable as a developmental difficulty of language learning and cognition. It is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling. It can occur in people coming from all backgrounds and intellectual levels.

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What is so often taken for granted like going around with daily routines, a simple act such as taking a newspaper to read could prove to be a daunting task for a dyslexic.

Based on an international research conducted and shared by Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS), dyslexia affecting Singaporeans falls within the international range of 4% to 10% of the population. It is a lifelong condition with no cure because it is not a disease but with the appropriate reading specialist and therapeutic trainer, a dyslexic can successfully learn to read (and even to spell). It is a condition that does not limit one’s success in life as supporting organisations of Dyslexia around the world shows a strong link between entrepreneurs and dyslexia.  

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Today in Club Rainbow (Singapore), about 1% of our beneficiaries diagnosed with dyslexia are recommended by doctors through our satellite offices in KKH (Kandang Kerbau Hospital) and NUH (National University Hospital). Through the efforts of our teams from Social Work and Client Services, beneficiaries will have access to different types of therapy and our core services depending on their overall medical condition. Cases of dyslexia without other chronic or rare illnesses will be referred to Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS).

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Sources: Dyslexia Association of Singapore, Austin Learning Solutions, Dyslexic Advantage