Another Week Beyond – 1834

Dear Friends
This week I was asked about how we have kept our fund-raising efficiency ratio relatively low. Last year it was 4.1 % and the previous 2 years were 2.1% and 2.4% respectively. This is a benchmark established by the Charity Council which is the total fund-raising expenses to the total gross receipts from fund-raising and sponsorships during a financial year. All charities are expected to keep their fund-raising efficiency ratio below 30%. I did not quite have the words then except to say that being a charity we are constantly mindful of our expenses which was just one part of the answer. The more significant part though is the whole of society approach we take that welcomes everyone to have a stake in the wellbeing of the community. As goodwill is welcomed, cost is defrayed.

Come Saturday, 22 September 2018, our main find-raising event Fairground for All will be running for the fourth year. This year it will be at SCAPE and our Guest of Honour will be Mr Baey Yam Keng, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and Ministry of Transport. It is also the fourth year in which we are co-organising the event with the Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML), a corporate volunteer who has been helping our children read since 2003.

Four years ago, as we were looking for fund-raising opportunities, we learnt from Jessica Khoo a long-time volunteer from BAML that her colleagues enjoyed running events with fairground games and they already had much experience doing so. They also had a modest budget and we thought that by adding a flea-market and some food stalls, we would have a carnival to raise funds. We receive pre-loved items all year round and sometimes the supply outpaces our ability to redistribute them and so a flea-market to help us clear our “stock” and to defray our operating expenses seemed like a good idea.

This year, we are most heartened that various volunteers have been helping our children and youth to contribute toward the success of Fairground. Volunteers from Hall 13 of Nanyang Technological University who support our children with their homework, ran an additional class to show them how to create earrings, pendants, keychains and figurines from clay. It was a welcome change from school work and the children were delighted with their creations when they were taken out of the oven. Now they look forward to manning their little stall at our Fairground and we are proud that they are part of a whole of society effort.

Successful fund-raising is a partial indicator of society’s active interest and involvement. Hence, our fund-raising efforts are also designed to communicate our cause, our work and why it is important. Fairground for All brings people from different social strata and background together to play, make friends and engage with the issue of inequality. Lots of games, food and bargains at the flea-market to explore and there are community theatre performances for the audience to interact and reflect on the inequality in our midst.

“Today’s Fair Ground is Tomorrow’s Level Playing Field” is a call for all of us to be a little more mindful that there are many around us who have many challenges and are feeling a little excluded and isolated. Going about our day with a little kindness, fairness and friendliness takes little time and a little effort but it adds up to a better community for all of us. www.fairgroundforall.sg

Enjoy your weekend.

Gerard

The first step in the evolution of ethics is a sense of solidarity with other human beings. – Albert Schweitzer

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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 >