Another Week Beyond – 2318

Dear friend, 20 months ago, a colleague was knocking on doors to meet students taking their “N” Level examinations and to wish them well. It was her way of establishing a relationship with young people in the neighbourhood that she had not met and reconnecting with those already on our database. 

Amy, 16 years old, was not at home but she was already in our database and a day later, my colleague sent her a short message asking if she was well. “I am coping but it is not a good day!” was her short reply and the conversation ended after a brief exchange of pleasantries as both were strangers to each other.

My colleague found Amy’s answer concerning and she made a note to text Amy at least once a month. Gradually over the next 4 months, Amy responded to our messages a little more warmly, dropping bits of information about school, friends, and home.  Then one morning, we received a message from Amy’s phone asking, “Who are you?”

Upon verifying our identity, Amy’s mother informed us that she was hospitalized at the Institute of Mental Health and enquired if we would be able to help her daughter after she was discharged. So, on the day Amy was to be discharged, my colleague accompanied her mother to pick her up. That was the first time both Amy and my colleague met face to face.

The hospital co-created a safety plan with Amy against self-harming behaviors and linked her to relevant therapeutic programmes.  However, stabilizing Amy’s situation would take time and Amy was readmitted a few more times.

Last week, my colleague received a call from Amy that she wanted to return to IMH because she needed to feel safe. It was not clear what was the “danger,” but it sounded like she wanted space away from her mother.

Amy was calling from a public place where there were people around her and she told us that she was going to cut herself. Despite our best efforts to keep her calm, she proceeded as informed. She sent a photo of where she was and assured us that it was a minor cut and she would clean and dress it up. A few minutes later, she told us that she was in an ambulance on the way to IMH. She elaborated that besides talking to us, she was also in touch with a friend who had called for the ambulance to pick her up.  

We have been in touch with Amy and her mother these past days and Amy told us that she no longer thinks that getting into an ambulance and ending up at IMH is a good way to regulate her emotions. Mother seemed tired and expressed that maybe Amy would not be having such problems if she had been able to provide the family with a bigger flat because “when mother and daughter need some personal space, we can still be under the same roof.”

Hearing this, it seems timely to offer Amy and her mother an opportunity to restore their relationship and to invite them to consider how they may rally the support of relatives and friends to help them both live well despite their personal and relationship challenges. We hope they take up our offer.

For peace, family, and community, 
Gerard

We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community. – Dorothy Day

PAST AWB POSTS

Another Week Beyond 2428 – The Making of a Youth Leader

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Another Week Beyond – 2427

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Another Week Beyond 2426 – Grizzly to Teddy

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

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Another Week Beyond – 2423

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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

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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,

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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 >

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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 >