CSR

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!

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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.


A year of rainbows for our little ones with Micron Foundation

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As part of their Diversity and Inclusion efforts, Micron Foundation has adopted Club Rainbow (Singapore) [CRS] as one of the charity organisations to give back to community this year.  

An alignment in vision between Micron Foundation and CRS on enriching the community sees Micron supporting our mission of empowering families with children having chronic illnesses and special needs, to provide them an enriched and quality life. Teaming up with CRS Community Partnership, Micron was able to reach out to majority of our beneficiaries through the various events such as Celebrating Heroes in September and third edition of the upcoming Dreamseeds Arts Fest in November by offering many volunteer hands, warm hearts and big smiles.    

This year also marks the 40th anniversary of Micron Technology Inc., where hundreds of employees were invited to enjoy a night of celebration with the company in Sentosa. As employees filled up the foyer outside of the ballroom, they were invited to pen their well wishes for the company on pieces of coloured papers. These were then used to form a rainbow, inspired and in recognition of us, Club Rainbow (Singapore) their adopted charity, along with a donation drive.

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One other activity of Micron’s anniversary celebration was extending invitations to 42 of our beneficiaries and their families to enjoy an evening at the Universal Studios with them.

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We are very grateful and blessed to have Micron partnering with us, in choosing to support our little ones. Their valuable contributions to our organisation through volunteering efforts and monetary donation truly helped in many ways. 

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