Stories Of Impact
Leading Foundation Teacher Award – Recognising outstanding teachers in early childhood and special needs education
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Stories Of Impact

Stories Of Impact

Leading Foundation Teacher Award – Recognising outstanding teachers in early childhood and special needs education

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a group of teachers posing with their awards

Winners of the 2016 Leading Foundation Teacher Award together with representatives from the Leading Foundation, National Education of Singapore, Ministry of Education and Community Foundation of Singapore.

The Leading Foundation Teacher Award was established in 2014 by Lim Siong Guan and Joanne Lim – co-authors of ‘The Leader, The Teacher & You’ and ‘Winning with Honour’ – to honour passionate and dedicated teachers in early childhood and special needs education. 

Organised by the National Institute of Education (NIE) and managed by the Community Foundation of Singapore, the Leading Foundation Teacher Award is the first award in Singapore to recognise excellence in early childhood and special needs educators. To date, a total of 25 teachers have received the award. 

Said Joanne Lim, co-founder of the Leading Foundation: “Coming from a family of teachers, we knew firsthand how much hard work, dedication, sacrifice and passion educators put in to make a positive impact on the lives of their students so we wanted to honour those who embody these values. After we published the first book, we established the Leading Foundation with the Community Foundation of Singapore. CFS went on to identify the lack of recognition for teachers in early childhood and special needs education and so the Leading Foundation Teacher Award was established to plug this gap.”

It is often said that the best teachers teach from the heart, not from a book – and that is exactly what has motivated recipients of the Leading Foundation Teacher Award who often go beyond the call of duty to make a difference in the lives of their students. To date, 21 teachers have received the award.

For allied educator Tutek Alauyah Amir who won the award in 2015, she makes the extra effort to put in place a comprehensive support system to ease special needs students’ first step into primary school.

As for fellow award recipient preschool teacher Jenny Tan, she believes that every child is different and hence tailors her teaching instructions to cater to every child’s learning style, needs and pace.

Another allied educator – 2016 award recipient Jeyaram Kadivan – laboured tirelessly with his visually impaired student to overcome daunting learning hurdles in secondary school. His support enabled the student to score seven distinctions at O levels.

For these exceptional educators, it is hoped that the Leading Foundation Teacher Award will spur them on to greater heights in their field of work, as well as inspire others to excel like them.

Photo: National Institute of Education, Singapore

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News

The Straits Times: From school to workplace: Help for disadvantaged youth

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Two young people sitting on a couch, engrossed in a box of games, enjoying their leisure time together.

By Rahimah Rashith

2 new programmes offer vocational training and workshops under 3-year ITE initiative

To help disadvantaged youth transition smoothly from school into the work environment, a three-year initiative was launched at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) yesterday to offer them workshops and vocational training.

It is made up of two programmes.

The first, Youth Forte, is offered by Shine Children and Youth Services. It targets 17-to 21-year-olds who are not in school or training and have problems finding work.

They will receive evaluation, individual coaching, employability skills training, internships or project-based experience and vocational training leading to a Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) certification. The programme aims to help young people learn more about various career fields through exposure to the industry. They will also receive individual life coaching.

The second programme, called A.P.T.I.T.U.D.E, is offered by Touch Community Services in partnership with ITE. It works with industry partners to provide students with structured training and certification for a particular job, such as coffee making or outdoor camp facilitation.

Called the Singapore Youth Impact Collective, these programmes come after the social service sector recognised that, while education can help bridge social gaps, environmental factors – such as negative social influences or the home environment – can hinder youth from reaching their full potential.

Changi Foundation, the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), Credit Suisse, Octava Foundation, Shine and Touch are behind the initiatives.

To date, Changi Foundation, Credit Suisse and Octava Foundation have pledged close to $1 million towards the programmes.

CFS deputy chief executive Joyce Teo said the collaboration will help to address the complex social issues facing young people.

Last month, 17-year-old Natasha Chan, a first-year digital animation student from ITE College Central, learnt the art of coffee-making over two days through the Touch programme. She was trained by the Dutch Colony Coffee Co chain and is now thinking of becoming a barista.

“I learnt how to grind coffee beans and brew a cup of coffee,” she said.

“It is a skill I would not be able to pick up in my course. Learning this has widened my skills.”
Read more.

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The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

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Stories Of Impact

The Goh Soon Tioe Centenary Award: Creating opportunities for future generations of musicians

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Two musicians, a man and a woman, engrossed in playing the violin and guitar.

An accomplished violinist, conductor and impresario, Goh Soon Tioe was one of the greatest pioneers of Western classical music in post war Singapore and among the country’s earliest music teachers. 

A prodigious student of Spanish classical guitarist Andres Segovia, Goh taught a generation of musicians who went on to become established figures in Singapore’s music scene. Some of them include household names such as singer-songwriter Dick Lee, and National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Concert Orchestra Music Director, Lim Soon Lee.

Wanting to pass on his great love for music, Goh’s family established the Goh Soon Tioe Centenary Award in 2011, an endowed fund administered by the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS). His daughter Vivien Goh, a Cultural Medallion winner and talented violinist in her own right, wanted to honour the memory of her father and help deserving individuals to achieve their dreams.

The Goh Soon Tioe Centenary Award grants scholarships to musicians with a consistent track record of outstanding musicianship and performance. Some of the past winners of the Award include Theophilus Tan, Mathea Goh, Joey Lau and most recently Kevin Loh, the first guitarist to win the Award in 2018 and Joelle Hsu, winner of the 2019 Award.

As the seventh recipient of the Award, an accomplished musician at just 22 years of age, Kevin Loh is no stranger to winning awards and achievements. The graduate of the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin School in Britain has also received accolades such as the HSBC Youth Excellence Award for Musical Excellence in 2010, and first prize in the 34 th Volos International Guitar Festival and Competition in Greece in 2017.

The young musician fondly recalls his childhood, when his parents presented him with a violin when he was four years old. He had no interest in the violin then, and his music teacher responded to his lack of concentration by locking him out of the classroom.

His father decided instead to teach him the guitar, and a young Kevin took to the instrument like a duck to water. He would record videos of himself practicing in the living room, and cultivated his passion along with a very supportive family.

Looking back on his storied career as a musician, the 22 year old acknowledges that it was an eye- opening experience. ‘I’ve performed for some very high profile people,’ he recalls. ‘No matter how many performances I play, I always feel nervous. The nerves never go away. I’m very thankful that I’ve gotten this far with the guidance from my teachers and parents.’

‘The Award has definitely enriched my life and I am very grateful to have received it. It has afforded me the financial opportunities to perform around the world and at different music festivals,’ Kevin says. ‘It has given me room to grow and it is my dream to encourage and set up other budding classical guitarists to grow as well.’

For Joelle Hsu, her musical journey began on the piano at the tender age of four. At eight years old, when she saw how much fun her younger sister had on the violin, Joelle requested for violin lessons. Even though friendly sibling rivalry saw to it that she practiced hard, it didn’t feel like the right instrument for her.

It was then when she was introduced to the soulful sound of the viola by her violin teacher. ‘It really drew me in, possibly because of how similar it was to the human voice,’ Joelle says. ‘I fell in love with the instrument and decided to continue my musical adventures on the viola instead.’

Many musicians know that the key to improving one’s skill at an instrument is through hours and hours of practice. It was a challenging feat for one so young back then; having to balance going through the rigour of secondary school and junior college while still finding the time to practice constantly.

All of Joelle’s efforts eventually paid off when she won the Singapore National Youth Orchestra (SNYO) Concerto Competition in late 2017. ‘I was glad and extremely grateful to be given the
opportunity to debut with the SNYO. It helped me to experience what it is like to work with a conductor and orchestra as a soloist. I did not have prior experience as I had always just been an orchestral player,’ Joelle explains.

‘Winning the Goh Soon Tioe Award has certainly made me a more confident musician, especially as a violist. The viola is usually seen by other instrumentalists as the underdog; as we always get the parts which are less interesting, unlike other instruments that often have the melodic line,’ says the young violist.

‘Being able to put up a recital featuring the viola was really an honour and it was not something I expected that I could do. I am really glad to have shown the audience present what a soulful sound the viola can produce, and I hope that it touched their hearts as much as it touched mine.’

Now into its ninth consecutive year of commending promising musicians, the 2020 Goh Soon Tioe Centenary Award winner will be announced soon. Do keep an eye out for our story on the upcoming winner.

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The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

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Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

Stories Of Impact

#MyGivingJourney x Hauw Soo Hoon: Insuring the future for vulnerable students 

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portrait of hauw soo hoon

#MyGivingJourney is a series by CFS to celebrate women and their work in philanthropy. This story features Hauw Soo Hoon, Programme Director at Ulu Pandan Stars and a member of CFS’s Programmes & Grants Committee.  

Hauw Soo Hoon has always loved mathematics. So when she discovered some students in her estate were struggling with the subject, getting just 15 marks out of 100, her heart plummeted. She wanted to help them and even get them to love numbers. An opportunity came through her grassroots contacts who were looking for someone to helm a programme to tutor children from rental flats and troubled families.  

That was in 2008 and the qualified actuary had just retired after a 30-year career in the insurance industry, which included senior roles at the Monetary Authority of Singapore and Great Eastern Life Assurance. Together with five volunteers, Soo Hoon started up Ulu Pandan Stars (UP Stars), an initiative of the PAP Community Foundation and Ulu Pandan Citizen Consultative Committee.  

UP Stars began with maths tuition but classes have since expanded to reading, phonics, science and computer applications. It also runs non-academic activities such as sports, social-emotional learning and digital literacy. Every year, UP Stars have about 60 students and its pool of volunteers has swelled to 110. Most are youths from tertiary institutions.  

Soo Hoon was blown away by the commitment and big-heartedness of these young Singaporeans. “But having a good heart is not enough. You need to equip them with skills or you will have volunteer fatigue,” she says. She brings her wealth of public and corporate sector experience of managing teams, developing talent and running an organisation to UP Stars. Volunteers, meanwhile, come away learning about project management, human resources, leadership – as well as empathy. 

“Our youth volunteers truly understand what poverty means and how education is no longer a social leveller,” says Soo Hoon. Her fervent hope is that her volunteers become future leaders who are compassionate and that the ones who choose public service roles will create sound policies that benefit the vulnerable in society. 

Aside from UP Stars, Soo Hoon is on the board of the Special Needs Trust Company (SNTC), a charity that provides affordable trust services for people with special needs. She also serves on the Medishield Life Council and the CPF Advisory Panel, besides being a partner at iGlobe Partners, a venture capital company. For her services with SNTC, Soo Hoon received the 2019 MSF Outstanding Volunteer Award.  

Soo Hoon and her husband also give back regularly with the help of CFS. The couple decided to donate via CFS as it can pinpoint causes that best fit a donor’s area of interest. “CFS can also identify charities which are under-resourced as they will check on reserves and funding and do the necessary due diligence,” she adds. “When there is proper matching, giving back becomes more fulfilling and effective.” While education is the focus of their giving, they have also donated generously to support needy families.  

Begin your own journey of giving with CFS. Read more stories about the #MyGivingJourney series here. 

This article was written by Sunita Sue Leng, a former financial analyst and journalist, who believes that the written word can be a force for good. She hopes to someday write something worth plagiarising. 

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Events

CFS Donor Learning Trip Series: Empowering ageing well at Yong-en Care Centre

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Charitable Business professionals standing before a screen.

This initiative is part of CFS’s Donor Learning Trips, a series of engagement opportunities that enable donors to personally connect with charities and gain insights into how they support communities in need.

Several seniors were playing a game. Seated in pairs, they were passing a large ball around. The challenge? Don’t drop the ball! There was laughter and cheers as the ball wobbled from one pair to another. This is one of many therapeutic activities at Dementia Day Care, a keystone service by registered charity 
Yong-en Care Centre.

Yong-en Care Centre’s Dementia Day Care is a lifeline for 31 seniors – all with moderate to advanced dementia – and their overwhelmed caregivers. The programme is funded by the generous donors of CFS.

In May 2023, 11 donors from 7 donor-advised funds (DAFs) took the time to join our first Donor Learning Trip this year, to Yong-en Care Centre, to meet with the charity and discover how it cares for the vulnerable elderly. Ageing Well is one of CFS’s five focal areas for grantmaking, where we curate programmes that enable our senior generation to remain active and purposeful for a better quality of life in their golden years.

Yong-en Care Centre began 27 years ago serving the destitute elderly in Chinatown. It has since expanded its outreach to the Chin Swee, Outram and Bukit Merah areas. Its services have also gone beyond food security and befriending to a full suite of support for low-income families, single mothers, home nursing care, dementia, and active ageing. It is an under-the-radar charity that is quietly and steadily making an outsized impact.

During the visit, donors learnt how music therapy is being embedded into dementia care, as well as the support and workshops offered to caregivers, many of whom are also old. The Dementia Day Care runs daily activities that engage the beneficiaries’ cognitive functions and improve their motor skills, including the pass-the-ball game witnessed by our donors. Such multi-sensory activities are specially curated to help persons with dementia manage their condition.

Donors also received updates on Home Care, another programme that receives grants from CFS donors. Yong-en Care Centre is one of the 24 home care service providers in Singapore and its nurses visit homebound seniors to provide personalised medical care.

Yong-en Care Centre is rapidly expanding its dementia care services and introducing more active ageing programmes. It is also collaborating with other community care providers to set up an integrated services hub for seniors and their caregivers at Chinatown Point. To accomplish these initiatives, the nonprofit relies on government grants and public donations. It does not use commercial fundraisers.

Through CFS, Yong-en Care Centre has managed to grow its donor base. “CFS connects us with donors who are truly aligned with our mission,” says Ms. Griselda Ong, director of Elderly Services at Yong-en Care Centre. In 2022, almost a third of funding (32.8%) for home care and 27.5% of funding for dementia day care came from CFS donors . “This support is significant as these critical services help the vulnerable age in place,” says Griselda.

“I have always been interested in supporting elder care,” says June Chia, a donor who set up a donor-advised fund (DAF) with CFS. “But there are many charities doing such work that I do not know of.” Through CFS, she learnt about Yong-en Care Centre.

June is inspired by Yong-en Care Centre’s impact on marginalised communities and its commitment to continuous progress. “I feel that my money is being well-utilised,” she shares. June appreciates CFS’s meticulous vetting of charities and our dedication to groundwork. Giving through a donor-advised fund (DAF) is also hassle-free, as CFS handles all the administrative work and provides regular updates on her fund.

I have always been interested in supporting elder care. But there are many charities doing such work that I do not know of. Through CFS, I learnt about Yong-en Care Centre and having seen first-hand what they are doing, I feel that my money is being well-utilised.

For Yong-en Care Centre, meeting donors face-to-face was a valuable opportunity to deepen their understanding of its unique care model and to engage with them on any questions they may have, says Griselda. In addition, it is also an opportunity to thank CFS donors who have been supporting the charity and build a lasting relationship with them.

CFS assists charities and their underprivileged communities by connecting them with donors who are seeking to support causes and crucial needs that resonate with them deeply.

To find out more about the causes we support, please visit www.cf.org.sg/what-we-support/.

The competition was organised by City Harvest Community Services Association and received support from FUN! Fund, a Community Impact Fund jointly established by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the Agency for Integrated Care, with the aim of addressing social isolation among the elderly.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of National Development Mr Tan Kiat How attended the event. He encouraged the elderly to stay physically and mentally well, as well as urging them to participate in community activities and enjoy their golden years together.

Learn more about FUN! Fund at https://www.cf.org.sg/fun-fund/.

 

The programme provides the children with a non-threatening platform to connect with peers and have positive conversations. In addition, it exposes them to different people who can assist to broaden their perspectives.

L.S., a volunteer with the Reading Odyssey programme @ Spooner Road

中心“常胜将军”胡锦盛:比赛限时反应要快

现年92岁的胡锦盛是最年长的参赛者。自2017年退休后,他几乎每天都到活跃乐龄中心报到,从此爱上了玩拉密,每次可玩上三个小时,在中心是“常胜将军”。

Picture of admin bluecube
admin bluecube

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

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