Stories Of Impact
Seniors Colabs learning journey #3: St Theresa’s Home – where horses and hawker centres help seniors feel at home
wavy line banner

Stories Of Impact

Stories Of Impact

Seniors Colabs learning journey #3: St Theresa’s Home – where horses and hawker centres help seniors feel at home

Picture of John Doe
John Doe
A man guiding a horse through a room,with wheelchair bound people showcasing the unique bond between humans and animals.

While most people accept that ageing is inevitable, the prospect of spending their twilight years in a nursing home fills many with dread. It is not hard to imagine why. The mental associations are gloomy – sterile environments, impersonal care and intrusive communal living.

By tackling these stereotypes head-on, one local nursing home is determined to shift mindsets about residential aged care. Through its human-centred care philosophy, the management at St Theresa’s Home (formerly the Little Sisters of the Poor) firmly believes that as society progresses, nursing homes can be a conducive place for seniors to thrive as they age.

Early on a weekday morning, a group of Colabs participants from various sectors came to volunteer at an equine therapy session at St Theresa’s Home. Standing amidst the lush greenery, it was easy to forget that one was in a nursing home. Perched atop a hill, the sprawling estate’s pre-war architecture offers the warmth and charm of yesteryear, while providing shady nooks for gardening corners cared for by residents.

Joshua Chui, Deputy Director, took the team on his rounds. Calling out and responding to each resident by name, he stopped by Madam Rose (not her real name) and cheerfully asked why she was back on her wheelchair when she could walk the short distance previously. Mr Chui explained that residents are encouraged to carry out their activities of daily living as independently as possible. While there are set times for meals and baths, they are free to choose what to eat, when to begin and end their day, as well as what they want to do in between. Once a week, various groups of residents look forward to their breakfast outing to a nearby hawker centre.

A walk through the airy dormitories provided glimpses of the residents there. Photographs and personal knick-knacks were proudly displayed. The array of colourful bed linen reflected the residents’ individual tastes. Along the way, Colabs participants noticed that beds and wardrobes were thoughtfully angled away from each other, noting the home’s sensitivity towards the residents’ need for privacy.

Finally, at a quiet sheltered shed, two calm and stately horses stood ready for their ‘duties’. Their handlers and trainers from Equal Ark explained the workings and benefits of equine therapy for improving the psychological health of seniors. Working with the residents, Colabs participants were able to witness first-hand how interaction with the friendly animals lifted their countenance and spirits.

It was a thought-provoking morning for Colabs participants at St Theresa’s Home. The home’s commitment towards empowering seniors to live independently, while preserving each resident’s identity and dignity left a lasting impression. Their progressive approach, and vision for creating a community for seniors to age in a ‘home within a home’ encouraged and inspired everyone.

Colabs is a philanthropic initiative by the Community Foundation of Singapore and the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre. It drives collaboration by bringing together the public, private and social sectors to tackle complex social issues. It enables philanthropists, businesses, non-profits and sector experts to collectively build insights and co-create solutions for lasting change.

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”。

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.

News

SR Nathan Education Upliftment Fund (SRNEUF) continues to transform lives in its 10th year

Picture of John Doe
John Doe
portrait of sr nathan

Former President of Singapore, the late SR Nathan established the SR Nathan Education Upliftment Fund (SRNEUF) in 2011 to provide financial assistance to students, ensuring that they remain in school and are able to further their higher education.

Managed by CFS, the fund supports programmes such as the Monthly Financial Assistance Scheme (MFAS) by ITE, which gives allowance to underprivileged students for their transportation needs and meals, reducing their financial burden/challenges so that they can focus on their studies.

Now in its 10th anniversary, SR Nathan’s legacy continues in its transformation of students’ lives. Berita Harian highlights the stories of two students who have benefitted from the SRNEUF.

The first story recounts the experience of Arshad Supa’at, 33 years old, who had enrolled in the Higher Nitec course in Business Studies in ITE Central College after completing his National Service. Due to suffering from a road accident while working as a part-time food deliveryman, he had trouble with taking care of his expenses since his family was financially burdened. In the article, he quoted how the SRNEUF was very helpful in providing assistance to him, as it helped him to focus on his studies without worrying about his school expenses and daily life.

The second story shone a spotlight on Danish Said, 25 years old, whose family has often faced financial problems as both of his parents have chronic health problems which require medical attention. Danish quoted how the SRNEUF has provided him the opportunity to focus more on his studies, since he only needs to work part-time as a food deliveryman on the weekends to help cover his own daily expenses. He also explained how the monthly allowance given by the SRNEUF has helped him with his finances, making sure his parents do not have to bear his expenses.

To make an impact with your giving, read more about it here.

This translated extract was originally published by Berita Harian. Please click here for the original feature on the student beneficiaries, Danish and Arshad.

Credit: Berita Harian © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.  

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.

News

Leaving a legacy of giving

Picture of John Doe
John Doe
picture collage of audrey, beng ti, hian and nadia

Leaving a legacy of giving

Four prominent personalities in the community tells us why they desire to make a long-term impact on society by giving back in their own ways.

Nadia Ahmad Samdin

What is the gap you’ve seen in society’s support of at-risk youth?

Serving as a panel adviser to the youth court and later as a befriender of girls who have done reformative training, I’ve witnessed how at-risk youth and juvenile offenders, who have experienced difficulties, were overcome with feelings of dejection, lack of direction and, oftentimes, betrayal by adults who could have better supported them.

For many, time in institutions or shelters is the difference between being able to access resources such as a safe place to sleep and participate in programmes that build discipline, and getting mental health support.

As a community, we must nurture and empower at-risk youth, especially girls, so they will be able to make better choices and have access to ongoing support. I am an advocate for earlier, consistent intervention followed by better rehabilitation and reintegration upon release. How we embrace them as a society matters.

Why do you feel that being a donor is important, especially for the youths in our society?

A dear mentor once said to me, “Youths are approximately 25 per cent of our resident population today – but 100 per cent of the future.” Giving a young person a chance can be life-changing. It also builds confidence to face the future.

As a donor, beyond the actual funds channelled to scholarships, bursaries, or programmes, your act demonstrates to the youths that someone believes in their potential and provides motivation.

How have your personal experiences impacted your mindset as a lawyer as well as your support of underprivileged families?

I would not have been able to go to law school without financial aid, motivation from mentors and the sacrifices of my family.

Minority women are sometimes under-represented in some of the spaces I serve in. I hope that, in a little way, my efforts will build on the paths of those who came before me and encourage more people to step up and contribute to building Singapore and the future we wish to see.

How do you feel the pandemic has affected the lives of the at-risk youths you work with and their families?

Home-based learning and working from home has been tough for all – and especially for those in one- or two-room flats, adding considerable pressure for sole breadwinners. A number of these families live pay cheque to pay cheque and some bad decisions can feel insurmountable and irreversible. For example, some young mothers are unable to make ends meet and resort to mixing hot water and condensed milk to feed their babies.

The pandemic has also forced those who never had to ask for help before to reach out for aid. The way we live has shifted radically and support must be calibrated for different families in need, ensuring people are not priced out of opportunities here in Singapore.

Hian Goh

What is the gap you’ve seen in society’s support of innovators and entrepreneurs in Singapore?

Today’s Singapore is a developed and well-educated country with strong industries and a bedrock of good law and order built on the foundation of centralised state planning and effective government. Talented Singaporeans have thrived and have many options to be a working professional and make a good living. However, we are also risk-averse.

For Singapore to continue its journey of prosperity and economic development, we need more people to execute new ideas, disrupt industries and create new markets. To do that effectively, we need capital to support these ideas. That is why I decided to become a venture capitalist after my entrepreneurial journey.

How have your personal experiences impacted your mindset in supporting the next generation of gamechangers?

When I was an entrepreneur, there were many times I faced seemingly insurmountable challenges, and it looked like there was no way to solve the problem at hand.

However, through sheer persistence, tenacity and, more importantly, mentors and investors who supported me, I managed to conquer those challenges. This proved to me that a support network of like-minded individuals is essential to increase the probability of success in life.

How has legacy giving changed the way in which you are able to contribute to the support of innovators and entrepreneurs in Singapore?

Once you decide to embark on the legacy journey, it is very important to focus on the programmes which you feel will help your chosen cause. In my case, innovation in Singapore.

To that extent, having someone to guide you on this journey is very important. The Community Foundation of Singapore provides such guidance on a wide range of issues that allows someone like me to work on starting a foundation which, ultimately, will become my legacy and impact many people in the years to come.

Do you feel that age impacts who can be the next greatest innovators or gamechangers?

No. It’s a mindset. I’ve seen older people with flexible minds who can learn from their mistakes. I have also seen younger people too scared to take the leap even though they have nothing to lose. It’s really not a relevant factor.

Dr Audrey Looi and Dr Ang Beng Ti

What is the gap you’ve seen in society’s support of the visually impaired?

When our son James was diagnosed with Stargardt macular dystrophy in 2009, we discovered that support services for children with low vision were not available in Singapore.

In other developed nations, structured low vision programmes already exist. These allow a child’s remaining functional vision to be assessed so a tailored programme can be crafted to facilitate his or her integration into mainstream schools, and to function in a sighted society.

This would include access and training to assistive technology, training in orientation and mobility, and the learning of Braille where indicated. iC2 PrepHouse was set up with these initiatives in mind.

Why do you feel that being a donor and contributing to a cause is important?

Although low vision is a low-incidence disability, affected families are severely impacted. Without the right support by trained vision teachers, there is little chance for the affected child to reach his or her full potential. Our contributions make a difference.

How have your personal experiences impacted your work with healthcare and your support of iC2 PrepHouse?

We have been fortunate that through our combined efforts with our fellow iC2 Board members – all of whom are professionals in the areas of education, law and finance – we have been able to surmount the challenges faced by James as he successfully navigated his way through mainstream school and currently through his undergraduate studies.

Knowing the kind of support needed for this journey, it was not difficult to actively contribute to keep iC2 resources available to other children and families in need. Not just in terms of dollar contribution but also in the oversight of administrative, fundraising and ground initiatives.

As for our work in healthcare, we haven’t stopped striving to be kind and compassionate with our patients as we do our best to solve their medical problems. This journey has certainly deepened our understanding of how important that aspect of medical care is. As medical doctors, we all need to take time to listen and care.

In your opinion, are there groups that need extra support within and surrounding the visually impaired community?

Within the visually impaired group, we know that those with multiple disabilities present greater challenges. Take for example, the child with both low vision and autism or low vision with impaired hearing. A dedicated, thoughtful approach is needed. We have to work with other agencies to coordinate care and support, not just for the child but also for the caregivers.

How has legacy giving changed the way in which you are able to contribute to the support of the visually impaired?

We have and will continue to support iC2 financially through our major fundraising events. So what happens after our demise? Legacy giving provides an avenue to do so for perpetuity.

This is not just for individuals. It can be tailored to couples, families, foundations or companies. Zooming out, if more commit to legacy giving, the charity sector will receive more sustainable donations and be empowered to further improve the groundwork. How truly wonderful that would be for our Singapore society.

Stanley Sia

What is the gap that you saw in Singapore’s healthcare system that led you to SATA CommHealth?

I’ve been involved in SATA CommHealth since 2012. Being in the private sector for all of my career, I’ve always had the desire to contribute in some way to society.

SATA CommHealth, in particular, interested me for its legacy and its resilience in adapting with the times to continue serving the community for more than 70 years. This resonated strongly with me, and has kept me in service at SATA CommHealth for the last eight years. In my time here, I’ve held several portfolios, with the role of chairman being the most recent.

Why do you feel that being a donor is important, especially in the healthcare sector?

While Singapore’s healthcare sector is well developed and provides comprehensive services, more can be done for the seniors and vulnerable through the encouragement of a sustainable donation system beyond simply relying on government support.

About one in every four Singaporeans will be 65 and above by 2030. Singapore’s low fertility rate and its rapidly ageing population will pose an economic and demographic stress to the nation and this is something we need to start preparing for.

Why did you decide to take up the position of chairman of the board in SATA CommHealth?

Covid-19 has changed the way we live, work and interact with each other. It has surfaced new challenges among the seniors and the vulnerable in the community.

When I took on the appointment in July 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in Singapore, my immediate priority was to start laying the foundations of a sustainable charity, even as we were steering ourselves through the challenging times.

How has legacy giving changed the way in which you are able to contribute to the support of the healthcare sector?

In the past, the idea of legacy giving was relegated to high-net worth individuals, the ultra-rich and affluent. While few of us are in that position, there is no reason to exclude charitable giving from our estate planning. All gifts, large or small, are important. Charitable giving is life giving to the poor and vulnerable in our society and healthcare sector forms the backbone of a country’s well-being.

Legacy giving lets you make a lasting impact on the lives of future generations, far beyond the measure of your lifetime. It is the best way to benefit a cause or charity that you care about now and in the future.

Source: The Peak

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.

Stories Of Impact

S R Nathan Education Upliftment Fund – Providing students with the needed leg-up

Picture of John Doe
John Doe
picture of sr nathan with 4 students

Growing up in a poor family, the late former President of Singapore Mr S R Nathan knew what it was like to struggle with school and making ends meet.

In his teens, he dropped out of school, ran away from home and tried to eke out a living amidst troubled times. While working, he continued his education and was eventually awarded a bursary that enabled him to graduate with a Diploma in Social Studies from then University of Malaya.

“Those of you who have read my memoir will recall – my youth was a very troubled one. Left to despair over my fate, I realised that life was not always fair. Coming face to face with all sorts of hardships, it was the unexpected help from some unknown person that my life turned for the better,” said Mr Nathan.

In 2011 when Mr Nathan published his memoir ‘An Unexpected Journey: Path to the Presidency,’ he established the S R Nathan Education Upliftment Fund (SRNEUF) to help students by providing them with the financial assistance to keep them in school and enable them to pursue their tertiary education. Mr Nathan firmly believed that education was an important social leveler which provides students from disadvantaged backgrounds an opportunity to seek a better life for themselves and their families.

Managed by the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), the fund supports programmes like the Institute of Technical Education (ITE)’s Monthly Financial Assistance Scheme (MFAS) which provides needy students with allowances for transport and meals to lessen their financial burden and allow them to focus on their studies.

Mike Goh, a former beneficiary of the MFAS at ITE and currently a student at Republic Polytechnic, began working in his early teens to support himself after both his parents fell severely ill. Recounting the challenges of juggling his academic studies with work, Mike expressed, “If I did not have time to work, the allowance from the fund had helped me manage day by day, and I’m really thankful for that.

Raised in a single-parent home, Yasmin Raihanah Bte Shahrin, a student at ITE College Central, expressed gratitude for the timely support from the fund, “Initially when I started my studies at ITE, I was worried. My mother’s income was not high, and I had to rely on my work income to support my daily expenses. With the award, I felt relieved because I could pay for my school necessities and food.”

The fund also awards bursaries and scholarships to students from local polytechnics and universities. Ding Jian Han, an awardee of the 2018/19 S R Nathan Music Scholarship, was an aspiring composer at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore. Jian Han, who plays the violin, piano and clarinet, credits the support from the fund for enabling him to pursue his passion in music.  “My father passed away when I was young, but I was fortunate to be awarded scholarships so that I was able to help my mum and pay for my school fees,” said Jian Han.

Since 2012, the fund has disbursed over $3 million to support more than 1,500 ITE, polytechnic and university students by providing bursaries, scholarships as well as monthly financial assistance. In 2019, the fund will be establishing the S R Nathan Student Grant at the Singapore University of Social Sciences, as well as the S R Nathan Book Prize and the S R Nathan Special Assistance Scheme at ITE.

Mr Bobby Chin, Chairman of the SRNEUF Grant Advisory Committee said, “Thanks to the vision and generosity of our late former president S R Nathan and the on-going support of donors, we have extended our reach significantly over the last seven years. With CFS’s continued trusted facilitation, the SRNEUF will continue to play a crucial role in helping our youths overcome difficult circumstances in their schooling years, go on to pursue their dreams and forge a brighter future for themselves and their families.”

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.

Stories Of Impact

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

Picture of John Doe
John Doe
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.

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”。

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.

Trending Stories

Scroll to Top