Stories Of Impact
Reading Odyssey – Building confidence and motivation through reading
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Stories Of Impact

Stories Of Impact

Reading Odyssey – Building confidence and motivation through reading

John Doe
John Doe
Children sitting in a circle, engrossed in a book, fostering a love for reading and learning together.

With recent changes to school-based assessments in primary schools, Singapore’s education system is looking beyond mere academic results to appreciate the importance of the joy of learning. In this vein, Reading Odyssey – a community-based project by Educational Psychology Service, SHINE Children & Youth Services – has been empowering disadvantaged children to enjoy reading with meaning, knowledge and understanding via this novel programme since 2013.

Supported by multiple donors from the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), Reading Odyssey currently collaborates with various community partners to run in seven centres across Singapore and serves 120 children from Kindergarten Two to Primary Six, many from lower income families. “Many of these children are two to three years behind their peers in their reading abilities and have limited learning support and exposure. They usually have low confidence and a poor academic self-image,” says Magdalen Loh, Reading Odyssey Captain and Lead Learning Specialist.

One of the root causes, adds Magdalen, is lack of exposure. Due to complex issues in their family backgrounds, these children do not have wide learning opportunities, or have difficulties accessing help.

Unlike academically-focused tuition centres, Reading Odyssey focuses on inspiring interest in reading and offering opportunities for exposure and building confidence. Another key objective is to help children understand the meaning of words and knowledge. Here, reading is used as a tool to expose the child to the wider world. Genres are intentionally varied; children are exposed to topics, from robotics to the environment, that may be beyond their scope of interests. Materials are targeted to each child’s ability, and the programme incorporates a guided reading approach involving helpful guided questions for volunteers and children to discuss.

Improving a child’s confidence and inner motivation may not be an easy task, but with time and dedication, the programme has seen rewarding results. In the past years, more than 70% of participants showed an increase in confidence from observable behaviours across its centres, and more than half showed improvements in their reading age or reading levels. “Many of the children are motivated to come regularly. They want to learn more once they know they have improved,” says Magdalen.

Part of the programme’s success is due to its volunteer-driven model and close partnership with the local communities to identify those in need. Each child is matched one-on-one with a trained volunteer, who partners the child to work purposefully through the text and stories. Such exposure and engagement, says Magdalen, helps build confidence and increases their understanding of the different topics.

“With confidence in learning, even if you are a weaker student, you dare to approach someone older and not feel embarrassed. With inner confidence and motivation, you will find ways to help you improve,” she expresses.

With increased demand from the ground, Reading Odyssey is looking to scale its centres from seven to ten by 2021, and increase its reach by 50% to 180 children. Plans in the works include formalising its volunteer training, events to deepen a sense of its community and developing new games and testing tools to enhance the programme’s impact.

Ultimately, the goal is to offer an avenue for disadvantaged children to access opportunities beyond their personal circumstance. Magdalen expresses, “We want to do our part to use stories to help children ask questions and think about the wider world. When their motivation is innate, they can help themselves in the long run.”

Photos: SHINE Children & Youth Services

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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

#MyGivingJourney X Jeya Ayadurai: Bringing her people and strategic skills to nonprofits

John Doe
John Doe
portrait of jeya

CFS is proud to launch our #MyGivingJourney series, which portrays extraordinary women and their efforts in philanthropy as part of celebrating the women of Singapore in the year 2021. Our first story features Jeya Ayadurai, AWWA Board Director & member of CFS’s Finance & HR Committee.  

Giving back is more than just about money, says Jeya Ayadurai. “You can use your skills, you can do some mentoring or you can just spend time reading to kids in a school,” she says. Having blazed a trail in the civil service and corporate world helping organisations and people thrive, Jeya is doing just that – sharing her knowledge, experience and ideas with nonprofits. 

Social service organisations are very good at caring for people, she notes. “But heart and hands have also to be guided by the head. You have to look at developing your talent. You need to strengthen your organisation structures and practices to reach out to even more clients. You need to measure performance and ensure that your leaders are aligned with the company’s strategy,” says Jeya, who has a wealth of experience in senior roles in regional human resources (HR) and strategic change management. As she sees it, welfare organisations have more balls in the air to juggle compared to profit-driven entities.  

The pandemic has thrown even more balls into the mix. COVID-19 has upended how charities raise funds and interact with beneficiaries and volunteers. “With physical contact limited and connections moving online, how do you create stickiness with your donors, staff and volunteers? We need new ways of managing and engaging with them,” she notes. 

Jeya sits on the board of AWWA Ltd, a registered charity that works to empower persons with disabilities, disadvantaged families and vulnerable seniors. She is also chairperson of AWWA’s HR committee. More recently, Jeya joined the Finance & Human Resources committee of the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS).  

Where she once worked with private sector CEOs to drive their people strategies and organisational development, she now works with the leadership of AWWA and CFS to develop performance metrics, appraisal structures, compensation packages and people management processes.  

Jeya has volunteered with AWWA for 18 years and she is proud of how AWWA has helped strengthen the social services sector in Singapore. For Jeya, philanthropic work has made her a whole person. A career in the corporate world tends to be driven by bottom-line and measurable outcomes. In community work, when the head, heart and hands come together, clients are empowered to rise above their own limitations and achieve more holistic outcomes. Being humane brings happiness all around, she firmly believes. 

Begin your own journey of giving with CFS. Read more about #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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News

Berita Harian: Programme to prepare youths for the workplace launched

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John Doe
A group of friends making drinks

Read more.

Translation:

Two programmes to help disadvantaged youths transition from school to work were launched yesterday in conjunction with the opening of the A.P.T.I.T.U.D.E Centre at ITE College Central.

Launched by the Singapore Youth Impact Collective (the ‘Collective’), the initiative is the first of its kind in Singapore that uses the collective impact model and allows donors and non-profit organisations to solve complex social issues together.

CFS deputy CEO Joyce Teo explained further: “This approach recognises the value of collaboration in addressing complex social issues that requires the coordinated efforts of multiple entities, often from different sectors.”

The Collective wants to increase the ability of youths from underprivileged backgrounds to succeed in the workforce through training and skills development.

The Collective comprises six members, namely Changi Foundation, the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), Credit Suisse, Octava Foundation, SHINE Children and Youth Services (SHINE) and TOUCH Community Services (TOUCH). To date, the funders have pledged close to $1 million towards the programmes.

The programmes, A.P.T.I.T.U.D.E Centre at ITE College Central and Youth Forte, aim to encourage young people to get their education qualifications, to develop their socio-emotional skills and provide them with access to job opportunities.

For example, A.P.T.I.T.U.D.E which is run by TOUCH in collaboration with ITE will offer structured programmes.

TOUCH youth coaches will work closely with the ITE-identified classes and help students work hard towards achieving their dreams

The Youth Forte programme targets youths 17 to 21 years’ old who are not in school or not working more than six months, and are facing difficulties entering the workforce.

Conducted by SHINE, the programme guides these young people through various stages including assessment, individual guidance, socio-emotional training, job skills training, practical training and vocational training that provides WSQ certification.

Talking about leveraging on the collaboration, Anita Low-Lim, Senior Director (Children and Youth Group), TOUCH, said, “This is a great opportunity for TOUCH to work with similar-minded partners who want to improve the work of youth development work and develop better training programmes.”

Benjamin Teo, Centre Director for Yishun Centre, SHINE, agreed:“The collective impact model allows non-profits to tackle operational challenges together with the donors. I’m positive this will help us in making a greater in the lives of these youths and their families.”

The Collective’s programmes are for youths aged 17 to 25 who may need support in school or after graduation as they seek employment.

Their aim is to empower 230 youths to be work-ready 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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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

The Tabung Project – Saving together for a better future

John Doe
John Doe
a group of kids playing

Launched in 2013, the Tabung Project is a simple yet inventive micro-savings programme by the Healthy Start Child Development Centre (HSCDC), a childcare centre by Beyond Social Services serving children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

With generous support from a donor through the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), families who take part in the Tabung Project are encouraged to save in an innovative way. The idea is simple: every child brings home a tabung (“savings bank” in Malay) where family members and even the child are encouraged to contribute. Each month, Tabung Counting Days are conducted, and each child’s savings is then poured into a community savings pool.

Through a multiplier strategy, the collective savings are matched by the donor and government, yielding a greater savings deposit. The impact of the programme is that every dollar saved multiplies into much more as a result of this generous funding support. As an initiative which involves the whole family, the Tabung Project also inculcates an appreciation of the importance and benefits of saving together.

Today, over 84% of students at HSCDC are involved in the project. Based on review sessions, 70% of the participating parents have developed a positive mindset and culture of saving. Many of them have also expressed their gratitude for the project, which both motivates and helps them kickstart savings for their children, and enables them to tap the CDA funds for their children’s childcare and healthcare expenses.

“The Tabung Project is a small gesture toward a more inclusive society,” explains Gerard Ee, Executive Director of Beyond Social Services, “For low-income families who find it difficult to meet household expenses let alone save, their children will not have much in their Child Development Account (CDA) to meet their educational and healthcare expenses. This project is trying to help them meet practical expenses for their children’s well-being.”

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Opinion

Three donor trends shaping giving in 2020 and beyond

John Doe
John Doe
An Asian woman (Catherine) gracefully seated on a vibrant red and black couch, exuding elegance and poise.

Widening social inequality, an ageing population, and climate change – these are the issues that frame our world, as Singapore celebrates its bicentennial year in 2019. Yet alongside these social challenges, we’re also reminded of our long history of philanthropy in tackling local community needs. Take for instance, the recent 200 Years of Philanthropy in Singapore at the Temasek Shophouse, where it was heartening to see philanthropy being celebrated as a vital thread in Singapore’s success story.

But how will local donors continue to contribute to Singapore’s future? With the number of high-net-worth individuals here expected to grow by 22% to 250,000 by 2023, philanthropy is at an inflection point. We’ve already seeing broader shifts in our donor landscape: donors are getting younger; more Singaporeans are becoming socially aware, and technology is empowering new modes of giving.

At CFS, we count it as our privilege to be able to observe and nurture a new generation of donors increasingly empowered to drive social change. In this final edition of Change Matters for 2019, we highlight three donor trends we believe will continue to shape giving in 2020 and beyond:

Giving together is gaining traction

As more people recognise the complexity of social issues and the need for many helping hands, giving together is fast gaining traction. Donors are beginning to understand that collaboration enables them to create an impact larger than what they can achieve as individuals. In this edition, be the first to read about the Mind the Gap 200 fund or MtG200. This exciting ground-up initiative is the first collective of 10 donor advised funds formed by private individuals, which seeks to address social gaps in multiple sectors in Singapore.

More women are getting engaged in philanthropy

In 2009, only 14% of CFS’s donor funds were started by female donors. This percentage has risen by more than four times to 65% in 2017 and 2018. As more women become empowered to give, they will continue to give to causes close to their hearts. In this issue, we’re delighted to highlight the work of the International Women’s Forum Singapore (IWF)With CFS’s facilitation, IWF supports young women from financially-challenged backgrounds through their tertiary education through an education grant and a mentorship programme.

Donors are asking more questions for deeper understanding

Finally, donors are becoming more interested in understanding the root causes of issues to better inform their giving. They are more willing to explore opportunities to gain deeper insights from service providers, or contribute their expertise to co-create solutions. In this issue, read about our three Seniors Colabs learning journeys (Cornerstone Community Services (with Empower Ageing)Wellness Kampong and St Theresa’s Home), where participants discussed and exchanged views on how society can help our seniors age well.

Catherine Loh

CEO, Community Foundation of Singapore

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit dolor

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”。

admin bluecube
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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.

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