Stories Of Impact
#MyGivingJourney X Ivy Tse: Going the distance for youths 
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Stories Of Impact

Stories Of Impact

#MyGivingJourney X Ivy Tse: Going the distance for youths 

John Doe
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portrait of ivy

In our #MyGivingJourney series, CFS features extraordinary women in Singapore and their efforts in philanthropy. This story features Ivy Tse, CEO at Halogen Foundation Singapore.  

At 35, Ivy Tse must be one of the youngest CEOs around. But the unassuming head of Halogen Foundation Singapore quips that she is more a “Chief Everything Officer”. In a day, her job can take her from fundraising to building partnerships to staff development – or even tackling a problem with the office printer.  

A relatively small charity, Halogen runs on a team of about 21. Its mission is to transform the lives of disadvantaged young people through leadership, mentorship and entrepreneurship programmes. Ivy joined in 2012, when the team was about half its current size. And coming from global giant Procter & Gamble, she found she had to be a Jack of all trades in her new role organizing events at Halogen.  

“You have to be very resourceful. If there is an obstacle, you find a solution,” she says. “It was humbling.” People also questioned her decision to ditch a lucrative career path at P&G. “They said, it’s so hard to get in, why would you leave?” she recalls. Plus, there was the financial aspect: moving to the nonprofit sector meant taking a pay cut of a third.  

But the go-getter, who also describes herself as an idealist, was going through what youths now call a ‘quarter-life crisis’. She decided she wanted to immerse herself in work that counted. And she figured, “If it doesn’t work out, I can crawl back to the corporate sector and run twice as fast to make up for it!”  

Ten years on, the dynamic Ivy, who runs marathons in her spare time, shows no signs of slowing down. Nor any regrets building a career empowering young people. Seeing how Halogen’s dedicated volunteers and partners help shy, apprehensive teenagers gain access to the social capital and soft skills needed to thrive in a fast-evolving world has brought her a lot of gratification. The Foundation has created more resilient youngsters, reduced school dropout rates and developed leaders who have gone on to make a positive impact in their communities. 

Giving back has been a part of Ivy’s life since her school days. She chose CCAs that revolved around volunteer work such as Habitat for Humanity and Rotaract Club, while studying for a double degree in mechanical engineering and business at the National University of Singapore. She enjoyed hands-on volunteering but she also thrived on the organizational aspect of nonprofit work. And, she liked motivating people to participate in charitable causes and seeing them grow through that experience.  

“That’s what I get to do now at Halogen,” Ivy notes. Her job also sees her working with the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) which helps donors and grant makers understand what nonprofits like Halogen do and matches them. For example, CFS linked up UBS with Halogen and the financial institution has helped fund Halogen’s Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship programme. 

Ultimately, what Ivy is most proud of is growing and building a team that is really passionate about youth development. Her advice for young people who are mulling a career in social services? “It can really challenge you. It’s almost like being an entrepreneur,” she says. “And it is rewarding in so many ways.” 

Begin your own journey of giving with CFS. Read other inspiring stories of #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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LIFT (Learning Initiatives for Employment) Community Impact Fund – Training and increasing employability for marginalised groups

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John Doe
a few people cooking

The Learning Initiatives for Employment (LIFT) Community Impact Fund (CIF) from the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) provides social enterprise funding to enable disadvantaged groups to obtain training in order to be more employable. 

The funding provided has allowed two social enterprises, the Bettr Barista Coffee Academy and Dignity Kitchen develop a more standardised training programme for their students, as well as expand the number of training places available to aid more disadvantaged groups to enter the workforce.

Both social enterprises were covered in the story, along with the experiences of a beneficiary that had benefited from the programme. It was reported that the two enterprises had provided training for 115 people from April 2020 to March 2021, and managed to get 73 people employed, out of the 91 that had completed the training. Amongst the 73 employed, 55 of them remained employed for more than three months, showing the success of the programme.

The first story covers the journey of Jiefan, an 18 years old who had dropped out of school a few years prior and was on probation due to violating the law. He went through 20 interviews in two months, yet was not hired due to his probation and surveillance sentence. After a recommendation from his social worker, Jiefan received training at the social enterprise Bettr Barista, where he not only learned how to brew coffee, but also to control his emotions and improve his communication skills.

The second story talks about the experience of Jerry Tan, 23 years old, who had suffered from a stroke four years ago back in his second year in Singapore Polytechnic. While he survived, the left side of his body was left stiff and weak, and his left arm still remains unresponsive up till today. In addition, with the vision in both of his eyes also affected, Jerry was disadvantaged physically. He underwent a one-month training course in Dignity Kitchen to complete a series of Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ), following which he worked in a Japanese restaurant for about a year, before returning to Dignity Kitchen to serve as a cashier due to Covid-19. Jerry is now currently helping to train other colleagues with physical disabilities while he considers his future education and career.

The article also featured a quote from Joyce Teo, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of CFS, explaining how the disadvantaged people also needed some training to adapt to the workplace environment, as most of them had never gotten a chance to enter a formal workplace in society. She also spoke about how she hoped that the public could actively support and donate to the LIFT fund to help subsidise the training fees for the socially disadvantaged population, which could cost $5,000 per individual on average.

If you would like to support someone in their journey towards sustained employment opportunities, please visit our donation drive on Giving.sg here.

This translated article was originally published by Lianhe Zaobao 

Credit: Lianhe Zaobao © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.  

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Lianhe Zaobao: By encouraging participation in interest groups to improve skills, youth collective helps students plan their careers

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People showcasing how to pitch a tent

王晓亚
工艺教育中区学院的谭嘉燕参与学校的户外探险兴趣小组,成功克服恐惧完成绑紧跳,并学到野外求生技能,让她在职业规划上多了选择,考虑未来成为一名露营指导员。

一次绑紧跳的经验,让19岁的谭嘉燕在成长过程中经历改变,也用所学到的新技能为未来职场做好准备。

谭嘉燕目前就读于工艺教育中区学院人力资源与行政系一年级,因喜欢户外活动,两个月前加入学校的户外探险兴趣小组,并跟许多其他科系的同学一起参加为期三天的户外露营。

其间,参与绑紧跳让她印象深刻。她说,自己原本就惧高,从没想过有朝一日会有勇气从七层高楼跳下去。“以前参加过的露营,只要是高空项目我都无法完成。但这次同学和指导员不断鼓励我,我就跳下去了。”

跳下的一瞬间,谭嘉燕对于自己的勇气感到惊喜,战胜恐惧后也更有信心面对生活的挑战。

此次别具意义的户外露营经验,也让谭嘉燕学会如生火、煮饭、搭帐篷等不少野外求生技能,让她在未来职业规划中有了更多选择。“兴趣小组还与企业或机构合作,让我在之后有机会去实习和进修,也许未来能够成为一名真正的露营指导员。”

户外探险是新加坡青年影响组织(Singapore Youth Impact Collective)旗下项目的兴趣小组之一,该组织昨早于工艺教育中区学院为两个新项目及一间名为“APTITUDE”的新活动中心举行开幕仪式。

青年影响组织在2017年由樟宜基金会、触爱社会服务及新加坡社会基金会等六家企业组成,目的在于通过鼓励工教院的学生参与不同兴趣小组,教导相关技能,帮助他们提升专业课程之外的职场技能。

除了兴趣小组,新开幕的APTITUDE活动中心设有沙发、会议桌、电玩机及多款桌面游戏卡牌等休闲设施,是学生课余时间交流玩耍的安全场所。

截至目前,青年影响组织已为项目投放近100万元运转资金,开放给年龄介于17至25岁的工教院学生。主办方希望在未来三年内让230名学生受益。
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Tan Jiayan of ITE College Central participated in the school’s outdoor adventure interest group and successfully overcame her fear of bungee jumping, as well as learnt outdoor skills. This in turn provides her with more choices in career planning, and she is considering becoming an outdoor instructor in the future.

The experience of bungee jumping enables 19-year-old Tan Jiayan to develop life skills, and also prepares her for the future workplace with the new skills she has picked up.

Tan Jiayan is currently enrolled as a first year student of Human Resource and Administration at ITE College Central. She likes outdoor activities and joined the school’s outdoor adventure interest group two months ago, participating in a three-day outdoor camp with other students.

The bungee jump left an impression on her. She has a fear of heights, and never thought that she would have the courage to jump from a seven-story building. “In previous camps, I couldn’t complete any high-altitude activities. But this time, with the encouragement of my course mates and instructors, I could do it.”

At the moment of jumping, Tan Jiayan was pleasantly surprised by her courage. After overcoming her fear, she is more confident to face other challenges in life.

This unique outdoor camping experience also allowed Tan Jiayan to learn a range of outdoor skills such as fire-starting, cooking, tent pitching, so that she has more choices in her career planning. “The interest group also works with companies or organisations which may offer me opportunities of internship or further training, and maybe become a real outdoor instructor in the future.”

Outdoor adventure is one of the interest groups enabled by the Singapore Youth Impact Collective, which launched two new programmes and an event centre called ‘APTITUDE’ at ITE College Central yesterday.

The Singapore Youth Impact Collective consists of six organisations including Changi Foundation, TOUCH Community Services and the Community Foundation of Singapore. It aims to help students from the college to improve their professional skills by encouraging them to participate in different interest groups and pick up workplace skills.

In addition to the interest group, the newly opened APTITUDE centre also has leisure facilities such as sofas, conference tables, video games and a variety of table games. It is a safe place for students to socialise and play in their spare time.

Up till now, the Singapore Youth Impact Collective has invested nearly $1 million in operating funds to support the programmes which are open to students of ITE colleges between the ages of 17 and 25. The organisers hope to benefit 230 students over the next three years.

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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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约230名年长者参加益智桌游赛 用颜色与数字一较高下

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John Doe
An image capturing a lively game of dominoes being played by a group of individuals, highlighting their enjoyment and competitive spirit.

A Rummikub competition was held on 20th September at Heartbeat@Bedok, bringing together participants from 20 Active Ageing Centres. Rummikub, also known as “Israeli Mahjong,” is a cognitive tabletop game. 

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/.

全神贯注,不容一丝疏忽。约230名年长者齐聚一堂,用颜色和数字一较高下。

拉密牌(Rummikub)也称“以色列麻将”,是一种益智桌上游戏。游戏者须依规则将手上的牌组成相同数字、不同颜色,或颜色相同、数字连续的组合来出牌,最先将手上的牌出完者获胜。

这场别开生面的拉密牌竞赛星期六(9月30日)在勿洛心动大厦举行,活动集结了20个活跃乐龄中心的年长者,其中15个中心参加了正式比赛,另外五个以休闲形式参与。两轮预赛各三回,总决赛共四回。

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”。

胡锦盛说,原本只想以休闲形式参与星期六的活动,但后来玩得起劲,决定卯足全力参赛。他坦言,首次参赛有点紧张,在玩得开心、动动脑筋之余,也希望可以获得第一名,最后赢了预赛两个回合。“比赛压力很大,有时限所以反应要很快,不能想太久的,还好我跟得上。”

比赛由城市丰收关怀服务社举办,并得到护联中心和新加坡社区基金会联合成立的“FUN! Fund”基金支持,致力于改善年长者面对的社交孤立现象。因此,比赛如火如荼进行之际,也欢迎公众加入轻松玩乐,现场便有不少志工协助教导游戏规则。

26岁的洪琬晴(数据分析师)和27岁的何家富(业务分析师)是活动中最年轻的志工。他们通过公司星展银行的志愿服务门户网站报名参加,在活动中与年长者一同玩牌,也帮助有兴趣的公众认识这款游戏。

两人坦言,两周前上了三小时的课,才第一次正式接触拉密牌。他们说,拉密牌简单易学,年长者可轻松上手。为了让自己更熟悉游戏玩法,洪琬晴说,“我还请亲朋好友下载手机版的拉密牌,每天一起玩一小时”。

恩典之家社会服务中心的一组参赛者获得团体第一名。其中一名组员蓝彩凤(65岁,退休人士)也获得个人组第一名。她是在2019年冠病疫情开始前首次接触到拉密牌,疫情期间就几乎没玩了。

后经朋友介绍,蓝彩凤开始到恩典之家社会服务中心一起玩拉密牌。她坦言,参赛会有点紧张,两个多月前就开始跟其他参赛者每周练习一次,“第一次参赛就获得第一名,真的意想不到,参赛没想那么多,纯粹只是支持这个活动”。

国家发展部兼通讯及新闻部高级政务部长陈杰豪也出席了这场活动。他鼓励年长者保持身心愉悦,一起玩拉密牌、运动和聚会,“参与社区活动,共同安享晚年”。

信用:联合早报©新报业媒体有限公司。复制需要许可

This article was originally published in Zaobao here. Source: Zaobao © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

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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

10th Anniversary Edition – S R Nathan Education Upliftment Fund: How recipients turned their lives around with the gift of education

John Doe
John Doe
portrait of sr nathan

2021 marks a monumental turn of a chapter for the S R Nathan Education Upliftment Fund (SRNEUF). The fund that was set up by the late former president S R Nathan enters its 10th year of fruition and continues to fulfill its purpose of providing students financial ease to allow them to flourish in their studies. 

To celebrate this anniversary, students Arshad Supa’at and Danish Said shared how their lives changed for the better through the gift of education. 

Arshad, 33 years old, is currently an undergraduate at the Singapore University of Social Sciences, majoring in Social Work. He was originally studying in Millenia Institute (MI) but dropped out of school in his first year to find a job to support his family’s finances. At that time, his father, Supa’at Sarajoo, suffered from kidney failure, which resulted in him no longer being able to work. 

After completing his national service and GCE ‘O’ level examination, Arshad enrolled in the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and started work as part-time as a food deliveryman to help with expenses. Unfortunately, he was involved in a road accident and had to quit his job. With only his mother holding a part-time job to support the family, he could not turn to his family to support his education and living expenses.

His turning point came when he received assistance from the SRNEUF. The monthly allowance it provided allowed Arshad to supplement his school and daily expenses, allowing him to continue his studies whilst he recovered from the accident. He eventually went on to graduate from ITE, receiving the Tay Eng Soon Award and the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship for Encouraging Improvement (LKY-STEP) in 2013. The SRNEUF has changed his life, allowing him to complete his education in ITE when he most needed help.

Arshad shared, “I strongly believe and am confident that education can make us equal on a social level. Regardless of your background or your social or family background, if you do your best, education can open doors for you.”

Danish is another student who has managed to turn his life around due to the aid provided by the SRNEUF.

Danish, 25 years old, had always wanted to do something related to finance, as it is an issue close to his heart. Danish enrolled in ITE at a later age compared to most of his peers as he had previously dropped out from his studies at the Republic Polytechnic when he was younger. He recounted how he had never fully focused on his education then and felt that he had unfinished business with his educational journey. Thus, he wished to prove to himself that he could do it as long as he had the right mindset. 

As the youngest in the family, he feels lucky to have been offered the SRNEUF which provides him with a monthly allowance. This allowed him to focus more on his schoolwork instead of worrying about having his parents bearing his expenses. In fact, he has taken this chance to work part-time as a food deliveryman to cover his own expenses, as well as to help his parents in managing their finances.  Danish aspires to work on his skills needed to be a financial advisor, fund manager or financial analyst, to be able to provide quality advice to help those in difficulty to manager their financial decisions. 

“My interest in finance started when I was little because my family always had to struggle just to meet our daily needs. It made me interested because I wanted to know how I could manage my finances better,” said Danish.

Throughout the years, the SRNEUF has worked with ITE to provide assistance to underprivileged students who require financial help. Since 2012, the SRNEUF has supported needy students in ITE, with a total of 1,848 bursaries disbursed over the years with a cumulative grant total of $2.47 million.

“President Nathan’s life epitomises the spirit of generosity, caring and giving. He was a tireless giver. Known to come from humble beginnings himself, he was always known to have a heart for the less privileged in society. In 2011, Mr Nathan established the S R Nathan Education Upliftment Fund (SRNEUF) to provide financial support to students for their education,” said Mr Bobby Chin, the Chairman of the Grant Advisory Committee of the S R Nathan Education Upliftment Fund.

He firmly believed that education was an important social leveller which provides students from disadvantaged backgrounds an opportunity to seek a better life for themselves and their families,” he continued.

To transform lives with your giving, get in touch with us at contactus@cf.org.sg or read more about it here.

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