It is an honour and my privilege to work with the Special Needs community. Be it the children and adults with special needs, their care-givers, their trainers, their bus drivers, and all those who, in one way or another, have contact with those who are less fortunate or less able-bodied than themselves.
They have taught me patience, compassion, gratitude, helplessness. They have given me smiles, thank-yous, hugs, sense of achievement, rejections, tears, heartaches, backaches, the occasional bruise and scratch. They have taken away my time, my money, my stress, my headaches, my selfishness.
This website is being re-vamped to be friendly to the visually challenged, where all images have accompanying text descriptions. I seek your patience and understanding. Do contact me if there are places that I have missed out or where I can do better.
The children in APSN (Association for Persons with Special Needs) schools are the more fortunate ones. They have support from family, school, government and society. They are happy with simple things like pasting stickers on paper. But I'm sure there are some who have slipped through the social net. If you know of someone like that, try to inform the relevant authorities or let me know and I'll try to help.
How many of our own children are willing to spend an hour making a birthday card for a friend ? And how many recipients can appreciate the thoughts and effort that are put into that home-made card, as opposed to an expensive store-bought gift ? Next time your child talks about a friend's upcoming birthday, encourage him/her to make a simple card. Google for ideas or drop me an email and I'll be most happy to brain-storm ideas with you.
I would like to specially commend the trainers at SUNDAC Bedok, selflessly taking care of their adult charges, whom they called clients. It is heart-breaking to see the clients unable to lead full-filling lives because of either mental or physical challenges, or both. They have lessons on cooking, gardening, craft, music, exercise, etc. But most of the time, its just a couple of the clients and the trainers themselves completing the tasks. The others are either unable to do or afraid to venture out of their 'world'. It is an uphill task that the trainers have to face every day they go to work.
Kudos and salutes to all of them.
PS. They are always on the lookout for donations (cash, in kind, time). Please check out their links above. Thank you for your kindness and generosity.
A friend who is a CDAC (Chinese Development Assistance Council) volunteer reached out to me in 2015 to take part in a project to make 50,000 Chinese knots. I readily signed up, and has not looked back since.
They have many very good programs, with beneficiaries from all walks of life, regardless of race and age. From Back-to-school event for the young, to Project Care for the elderly. If you do not have time to join the long-term programs, you can always choose to volunteer for the ad-hoc projects. Just like their motto, "A little from all, together it's more".
Many people comment that I volunteer at various causes because I am too ‘free’. I usually give them a smile in return. I may occasionally try to explain that volunteering is part of my life, as important as visiting my parents at least once a week. For both, I had to sacrifice time meant for myself, my family or my work.
If you wait until you are 'free' before you spend time with your loved ones, you may find that they are no longer there. Same with volunteering.
Don’t wait, do it now.