Another Week Beyond – 1944

Dear Friends,
In our attempt to bring about communities where its members can thrive, we bring the gift of connection. We focus on relationships and it is not just how well people are connected to their families and friends but what ties they may have beyond their immediate circle of support.   A   nurturing family and loyal friends would provide a sense of stability but to develop in the broader sense of the word, one also needs to be in touch with others who can link them with resources and opportunities. So, we are constantly connecting our members to programmes and resources as a means of equipping them to address their challenges.

After mapping out the resources in our neighbourhoods, we would say that there are probably adequate social services and programmes to meet needs but perhaps, their take-up and participation rates could be better.   Most of these services and programmes, including our own were initiated in response to identified needs but it appears that an ongoing challenge is getting the “needy” to access them.  Thus, programmes no matter how well intended, cannot succeed without the buy-in from its intended participants.

Involving participants when designing a programme increases the chances of their buy-in but I would say it starts by how we perceive and describe them.  I imagine that I would not feel very good about myself if I was constantly being referred to as “needy” and I may wonder about the intentions of those who are   helping me.  If they are paid, compelled or rewarded in other ways to support me, I guess I am not much more than a project or job for them. Sure, they are nice to me but so is the person at the fast food counter serving me my burger.

So, whatever the reason that brought us into the service of others, we need a shared   understanding and agreement with those we support about our presence in their lives.  This is not exactly an understanding described clearly on paper, but one cultivated on the basis that everyone matters and has an important story that deepens our understanding of the world we share. Stories of success and failure, joy and pain, fairness and unfairness and basically anything else are listened to and valued.  When this happens, there is a deep connection among people   which we believe leads to cooperation.


Local entertainer Kumar has been a volunteer with us for more than 4 years and   families and youths warm up to him quite naturally whenever he comes by. Perhaps, it is because he is a celebrity or maybe it is because he makes them laugh.  But I think it is really because he holds a space where all stories are valued, and our families and youth walk away from the conversation experiencing   a   connection with others and the issues discussed. They may not know each other very well but they certainly enjoyed each other’s company.

On 6 November, Kumar and Sharul Channa will   be helping us raise funds with a show that challenges us to examine the quality of connection in our lives. “Kumar Connects” will be a one-night only performance at the Capitol Theatre and you may get your tickets on SISTIC by clicking here or on the poster at the end of this message.

Many of our social ills stem from the lack of human connection and even receiving a smile or a warm greeting brightens our day.   Hence, thank you once again for connecting with what we do and if you come to the show you will be greeted warmly and I guarantee, see many smiling faces.

Enjoy your week.

Gerard

In the tapestry of life, we are all connected. Each of us is a gift to those around us, helping each other to be who we are, weaving a perfect picture together. – Anita Moorjani

PAST AWB POSTS

Another Week Beyond 2428 – The Making of a Youth Leader

By: Nina, Community Relations I met Atiqah ten years ago when I was a Community Worker. It was at a photography workshop we had organized for youths. She was a shy, soft-spoken 16-year-old. Her family had only recently moved in, so she didn’t know any other youths in the neighborhood yet. Throughout the few sessions we held, she mostly kept to herself, except when she offered to help me with minor tasks. Despite her discomfort being around others, she always showed up when invited to our programmes. I always admired Atiqah’s quiet determination and was pleased to see her slowly

Read More »

Another Week Beyond – 2427

No Wealth, No Health? Written by: Pei Ling, Community Relations How often do you find yourself in this situation? You’re unwell or in pain, and it’s been going on for while. But you choose not to see a medical practitioner because you feel you cannot afford it. This is a common scenario amongst Singapore’s financially-challenged – families living in rental public housing. And this is what happened to Ismail. When I visited Ismail on a routine follow-up, he was limping and clearly in pain. He told me he had a slipped disc. I asked about the medical treatment he was

Read More »

Another Week Beyond 2426 – Grizzly to Teddy

by Wilson, Community Worker Grizzly to Teddy During one of our recent learning programmes, one of the kids who attended was an often moody, sometimes truculent 8-year-old.  Let’s call him “Teddy.” Our expectations of Teddy were, from experience, tempered. How well he participated in our activities and interacted with others depended on his disposition from week to week. At this particular session, Teddy was what we had come to describe as “his usual self” – shouting vulgarities and being disruptive. He risked injury by playing with a sliding door, even after being asked by a volunteer to stop. In fact,

Read More »

Another Week Beyond 2425 – Do you see me? Do you hear me?

by Nina, Community Relations Do you see me? Do you hear me? Last Saturday, we held a Learning Journey for members of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO). This is an immersive journey we offer to interested parties who are keen to understand how   communities in public rental housing live, work and play. Our 19 YPO guests were led on a Community Walkabout by 11 Community Guides – each a resident of Lengkok Bahru of varying ages. Their task was to lead our visitors through shared spaces in the neighborhood, while revealing the purpose and character of each area visited. After

Read More »

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 »

PAST AWB POSTS

Another Week Beyond 2428 – The Making of a Youth Leader

By: Nina, Community Relations I met Atiqah ten years ago when I was a Community Worker. It was at a photography workshop we had organized for youths. She was a shy, soft-spoken 16-year-old. Her family had only recently moved in, so she didn’t know any other youths in the neighborhood yet. Throughout the few sessions we held, she mostly kept to herself, except when she offered to help me with minor tasks. Despite her discomfort being around others, she always showed up when invited to our programmes. I always admired Atiqah’s quiet determination and was pleased to see her slowly

Read more >

Another Week Beyond – 2427

No Wealth, No Health? Written by: Pei Ling, Community Relations How often do you find yourself in this situation? You’re unwell or in pain, and it’s been going on for while. But you choose not to see a medical practitioner because you feel you cannot afford it. This is a common scenario amongst Singapore’s financially-challenged – families living in rental public housing. And this is what happened to Ismail. When I visited Ismail on a routine follow-up, he was limping and clearly in pain. He told me he had a slipped disc. I asked about the medical treatment he was

Read more >

Another Week Beyond 2426 – Grizzly to Teddy

by Wilson, Community Worker Grizzly to Teddy During one of our recent learning programmes, one of the kids who attended was an often moody, sometimes truculent 8-year-old.  Let’s call him “Teddy.” Our expectations of Teddy were, from experience, tempered. How well he participated in our activities and interacted with others depended on his disposition from week to week. At this particular session, Teddy was what we had come to describe as “his usual self” – shouting vulgarities and being disruptive. He risked injury by playing with a sliding door, even after being asked by a volunteer to stop. In fact,

Read more >