Another Week Beyond – 1833

Dear Friends
After 6 weeks of training, 35 children and youth together with 5 volunteer buddy skaters collectively bladed more than 350km around Bishan Park last Sunday morning. This is the second year we are a part of Charity Bike ‘n’ Blade, a volunteer driven fund-raising effort where funds collected are equally shared with the Salvation Army’s Peacehaven Nursing Home. In 3 weeks, some 24 cyclists will be covering more than 300km in Malaysia and our young people’s effort was a gesture of solidarity.

For the past 7 weeks, some parents accompanied their children for training and they were delighted by the entire experience. Madam Yati who had 2 children participating commented, “It makes me so happy to see my children and my husband having fun. At first, I kept worrying about my children hurting themselves, but I stopped when I saw how well the volunteers took care of them.” Like the parents, we are grateful for the volunteers from JP Morgan who have been such an encouraging presence throughout.

Learning to skate was a totally new experience for almost all our young people and so on Sunday, it was more grit than competence than got them through the distance. However, as I wobbled along the route, I saw a different type of competence; the competence to care. Several moved as a group, waited for each other and encouraged those who struggled. Perhaps, they had learned it from the volunteer skate buddies who were great role models, but I believe this considerate behavior was what our young people and their families brought to the park. I say this because when we are in the neighbourhoods, older children entrusted with the care of their young siblings is a common sight.

As an organization that works at enhancing people’s agency to address their challenges, we have a tendency to share best practices and problem-solving methods. There is certainly a time and place for clear directive instructions and processes but helping people to build on what they are already doing may be more helpful than insisting they learn something new. I am grateful for this blading experience as it has reminded us that we are always more than what we are not good at.

Enjoy your weekend.

Gerard

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

PAST AWB POSTS

Community, a place to care and grow (Another Week Beyond – 2424)

By Grace Yew, Community Worker “Pergi, jom” (Let’s go!). We go back to office with you to help you carry all these. You one person, how to carry all alone?” Fauziah insisted as she walked to the side of the lorry, ready to jump onto the passenger’s seat. Her husband who had helped her to hoist two huge tables and fifteen stools onto the lorry followed.  I laughed in disbelief.   It was 6 pm and Fauziah, had been out since ten in the morning, supporting 15 children to set up a community gathering below their flats that boasted carnival-style games

Read More »

Another Week Beyond – 2423

“Oh no, more bee hoon,” a mother uttered half embarrassed. “We need to coordinate better the next time,” she added. Our colleague who was present at this children’s birthday party organized by neighbours quickly responded, “Hey, we are having a been hoon feast prepared in 3 different ways and it’s great to have 3 flavours!” The generosity, hospitality and ownership displayed by the organizers were the indicators of success that we sought, and these were already in abundance. For example, a young man appeared in his military uniform to check that the cake his mother had baked on his behalf

Read More »

Reconnecting with Gratitude 

2 weeks ago, our senior advisor Gerard received an email titled “Reconnecting with Gratitude” from someone who volunteered with us 20 years ago.  She told Gerard that she got his email from a friend of a friend and wanted to thank him in person for what he had said to her then. “I recall what you said to me that has impacted my life to this day,” was how she had put it.  She wrote that she was helping with a juggling programme where she accompanied the children to performances and as she was driving them back to the Centre

Read More »

Another Week Beyond – 2421

“Don’t bring your hooligan attitudes from your neighbourhood into ours!” A mother screamed at a teenager as he continued taunting her from a distance. Just a few minutes ago, the teenager and his friends were enjoying a game of street soccer against opponents below 12 years old.  His friends and he were visibly bigger and those watching were rooting for the “home team” of younger boys.   When spectators accused one of the older boys of unsporting rough play, play stopped, and angry words were exchanged all around. Recognising that they were not welcome, the older boys left the court grudgingly,

Read More »

Another Week Beyond – 2420

Community offers the promise of belonging and calls for us to acknowledge our interdependence. To belong is to act as an investor, owner, and creator of this place. – Peter Block In 2021, as we were trying to get activities in the community up and running again following the gradual relaxation of the COVID-19 safe-distancing rules, we met 10 youths who were mighty pleased to see us. They were bored stiff and were ready to join any activity that we introduced. Initially, they helped with the distribution of food and other household essentials, and they surprised themselves when they concluded

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Another Week Beyond – 2419

Change is hard. It is not something everyone deals with well.   We discovered this when we spoke to 4 young people who had to relocate to new homes (AWB-2417 dated Friday, April 26, 2024}.  They had to leave their ageing flats in Henderson and move to new homes. It was a change they were not looking forward to.  But such change is not only often necessary, but it is also a good way to shake things up and create a better life situation.  To help spin what was to some a negative experience into something positive, we took it upon

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Another Week Beyond – 2418

As Wednesday was Labour Day, we thought we’d share Salleh’s story in honour of all workers. This is also a timely reminder to ourselves to value and appreciate those among us whose hard work has made our lives easier in one way or another.  53-year-old delivery rider Salleh used to be a Chief Steward at a hotel, supervising the cleaning of crockery… While the job was stable, it was not fulfilling, “No matter how hard I work and how many problems I solve, my hours and pay never change.” So, when the health of his parents started failing, he quit.

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Another Week Beyond – 2417

Four friends aged 17 to 20 years old were telling us that their flats would be demolished in a year or so and they would be relocating to a different public rental neighbourhood. One of them seemed rather distressed but when we asked if he would be badly affected by the move, he clarified that he was living a few blocks away and was not affected. He was troubled that his friends were moving away and was thinking that it would only be a matter of time before he had to move to a different neighbourhood too. These young men

Read More »

PAST AWB POSTS

Community, a place to care and grow (Another Week Beyond – 2424)

By Grace Yew, Community Worker “Pergi, jom” (Let’s go!). We go back to office with you to help you carry all these. You one person, how to carry all alone?” Fauziah insisted as she walked to the side of the lorry, ready to jump onto the passenger’s seat. Her husband who had helped her to hoist two huge tables and fifteen stools onto the lorry followed.  I laughed in disbelief.   It was 6 pm and Fauziah, had been out since ten in the morning, supporting 15 children to set up a community gathering below their flats that boasted carnival-style games

Read more >

Another Week Beyond – 2423

“Oh no, more bee hoon,” a mother uttered half embarrassed. “We need to coordinate better the next time,” she added. Our colleague who was present at this children’s birthday party organized by neighbours quickly responded, “Hey, we are having a been hoon feast prepared in 3 different ways and it’s great to have 3 flavours!” The generosity, hospitality and ownership displayed by the organizers were the indicators of success that we sought, and these were already in abundance. For example, a young man appeared in his military uniform to check that the cake his mother had baked on his behalf

Read more >

Reconnecting with Gratitude 

2 weeks ago, our senior advisor Gerard received an email titled “Reconnecting with Gratitude” from someone who volunteered with us 20 years ago.  She told Gerard that she got his email from a friend of a friend and wanted to thank him in person for what he had said to her then. “I recall what you said to me that has impacted my life to this day,” was how she had put it.  She wrote that she was helping with a juggling programme where she accompanied the children to performances and as she was driving them back to the Centre

Read more >