Another Week Beyond – 2409

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

Yesterday, lunch for 22 neighbours was prepared by our members of our community, at our premises with the harvest from our very own vegetable garden. While it was not quite a harvest festival celebration, it was nonetheless a joyous occasion. We were commemorating the end of an 8-session programme-cum-pilot study to explore the positive effects of urban farming on the physical and mental well-being of those aged 50 and above.

With the support of the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health (National University of Singapore), participants were introduced to basic gardening skills. Over the past 2 months, they learned to prepare organic compost and pesticides. They also enjoyed tea-tasting and art therapy.

While awaiting the results of the study, I can say with confidence, that the newfound sense of belonging and friendships have enriched the lives of our participants.  For a start, they are now very much at home at our premises. They walk in freely to tend to the seedlings, and they check on the growth towers placed near our porch daily.

We are heartened that our facilities are experienced as a place that belongs to them.  

A sense of belonging is not just an association to a place, but that it’s a place that belongs to us, a place we care about. It is also where we have mutually satisfying relationships with the others that share the place.  

This week, a participant extended a warm gesture of belonging when he presented us with a treasured framed poster of the movie First Knight. He was delighted we found a place for it on our office walls. He bought the poster in 1995 after resonating deeply with the values of “duty, honour and courage” that were portrayed in this film based on the legend of King Arthur. He hopes the poster will serve as a reminder of those values to anyone who visits the Beyond office.

As a community development agency, we are not building strong individuals, although people do become stronger with our support. We are building strong relationships, celebrating mutually beneficial inter-dependency and cooperation, and honouring people’s commitment to their community.  A community’s well-being is from the quality of these relationships and the cohesion that exists among its members. It is about how much people trust each other and rely on each other to make a place better.

I leave you with this announcement: This is the last instalment of “Another Week Beyond” I write as Beyond’s executive director. From Monday 4 March, Ms. Chia May Ling will assume leadership of our organisation. I invite you to learn more about May Ling and the vast experience she brings to us by clicking here. Needless to say, Beyond will be in good hands.

That said, please know that my relationship with Beyond is not at an end. After 42 years, I feel a deep sense of belonging with this community. So, I will continue to serve the best I can in an advisory role, For the foreseeable future, I will also keep penning these weekly AWB updates. 

We look forward to your continued support of the important work we do.

For peace and community,

Gerard

PAST AWB POSTS

Another Week Beyond – 2413

Yesterday, I had a discussion with some colleagues about how we may get residents in the neighbourhoods we engage to present themselves “better” to volunteers especially those from corporations who provide funds and other resources. This discussion was triggered by feedback that these residents do not brief the volunteers well enough on their tasks or explain to them how their time and efforts add value to their neighbourhood. The goodwill from corporations is important for the sustainability of our work and obviously, we want to create a positive experience for these corporate volunteers lest we lose their support. However, this

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Another Week Beyond – 2412

Ignite! Is a group of youth studying in institutions of higher learning who share resources,encourage each other and serve as role models for children in their neighbourhoods. It has been in existence for about 2.5 years and at its peak there were 25 members. 2 weeks ago, when a meeting was called, 3 members showed up and they were concerned that the group would no longer exist if there were no new members. Quickly, they discussed what a recruitment drive could look like and they drew up a collective list of friends they could invite to attend an introductory meeting.

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Another Week Beyond – 2411

An elderly person contacted us and told us that he would avoid engaging with a colleague I shall call Jane. He told us that Jane had a demon within her. The message via WhatsApp to a few of us left us perplexed. We thought that keeping the conversation going on the phone would only lead to more confusion and so we told him that we will chat over coffee. As I sat with him together with another colleague, this elderly person spoke in an agitated fashion, and we sensed his fear. He related his experiences of how friends have been

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Another Week Beyond – 2410

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PAST AWB POSTS

Another Week Beyond – 2413

Yesterday, I had a discussion with some colleagues about how we may get residents in the neighbourhoods we engage to present themselves “better” to volunteers especially those from corporations who provide funds and other resources. This discussion was triggered by feedback that these residents do not brief the volunteers well enough on their tasks or explain to them how their time and efforts add value to their neighbourhood. The goodwill from corporations is important for the sustainability of our work and obviously, we want to create a positive experience for these corporate volunteers lest we lose their support. However, this

Read more >

Another Week Beyond – 2412

Ignite! Is a group of youth studying in institutions of higher learning who share resources,encourage each other and serve as role models for children in their neighbourhoods. It has been in existence for about 2.5 years and at its peak there were 25 members. 2 weeks ago, when a meeting was called, 3 members showed up and they were concerned that the group would no longer exist if there were no new members. Quickly, they discussed what a recruitment drive could look like and they drew up a collective list of friends they could invite to attend an introductory meeting.

Read more >

Another Week Beyond – 2411

An elderly person contacted us and told us that he would avoid engaging with a colleague I shall call Jane. He told us that Jane had a demon within her. The message via WhatsApp to a few of us left us perplexed. We thought that keeping the conversation going on the phone would only lead to more confusion and so we told him that we will chat over coffee. As I sat with him together with another colleague, this elderly person spoke in an agitated fashion, and we sensed his fear. He related his experiences of how friends have been

Read more >