Wise Beyond Their Years

Students (from left) Chin Zi Rou, Tan Xiu Lin, Fatimah Nazeeha and Lim Xiao Xuan from Canossaville Children & Community Services (Canossaville) Student Care programme, were disappointed to learn that some of their friends would not be able to join in a planned visit to an old folks’ home as it could not accommodate too large a group. This was especially so for one of the young ladies who had just lost her grandfather.

Undeterred, these resourceful young ladies aged 10 to 11 years, set about planning their own visit. Calling upon their experience from previous visits to nursing homes, they created a visit plan and set their sights on St Theresa’s Home.

With guidance and encouragement from their teacher, they prepared a detailed proposal which was then presented to Canossaville’s management. Next, the young ladies had to identify and sell their project to a sponsor. Their plan found traction with Vistra Singapore, who came on board as a corporate sponsor.

Ms Valentina Chemodanova, Relationship Manager (Corporate & Private Clients) of Vistra Singapore said, “We were extremely impressed with the girls’ enthusiasm and how well organised they were from the presentation of the project, preparation of the materials for the event, and the visit to St Theresa’s Home itself. It was a great pleasure to support the kids in this project and we look forward to sharing many more activities with them.”

With logistics and budget in place, they started their preparations. The young ladies organised 40 students into small groups and ensured that all were familiar about their roles to make the visit to St Teresa’s Home a success.

Not surprisingly, everything ran smoothly on the day of the visit. The students mingled and chatted with the elderly, and helped them design and construct paper lanterns for the upcoming mid-autumn festival. They also joined the residents for refreshments.

Ms Amy Yuen, Communications Manager from Canossaville shared, “You could see they have put themselves in the shoes of the elderly whom they were visiting. I am happy that the girls have in them, the values shared with them through our Formation of the Heart programme.”

Canossaville offers preschool and student care centre that caters to mainstream, and children with mild to moderate special needs.

This article is extracted from our Caritas Singapore Annual Report 2017.
Canossaville Children and Community Services is a member organisation of Caritas Singapore.

A Star Shines Bright

As a child, William had anger and relationship issues and was unable to focus. He was seven and among the first batch of students to attend Morning Star Community Services’ student care centre in Hougang.

“My dad passed on early and my mum raised my sister and I singlehandedly. I spent all my allowance without care, not realising how hard my mother worked to support us.”

William admits that he often took things too seriously and got angry when other children made fun of him. They began to alienate him, and in turn, this made him wary of interacting with other children. He would often get into quarrels with his sister as well as children and facilitators at the care centre.

William was referred to the NOVA Learning Intervention Programme. At first, this little angry boy resisted the care, counselling and coaching of the facilitators, and was often rude and harsh with them.

The turning point came when William realised that despite his bad attitude, “the NOVA facilitators gave me lots of love that was undeserved and unearned. When we misbehaved, they corrected us and we had to face the consequences.”

By the time he was 12, William had turned around. He began to save his money and would even share his savings with his mother when the need arose. He is grateful to his mother for her unconditional love and is also thankful to his sister who cared for him.

With his counsellors’ support, William realised he could become a successful, joyful and caring person. They also helped his mother understand her children and manage conflicts at home. William credits his mother for being a good role model and aims to be the same for his children in future.

Now 25, William graduated in 2016 from Temasek Polytechnic with a Diploma in Mobile & Network Services and is currently serving his National Service. This one-time angry boy now advises others on their anger management issues, “Without the NOVA Programme, I would not have become what I am today and able to share these lessons with friends who need it.”

To sum up his journey, William quoted a Chinese saying, “If people have served you, you must return the good deed.” He is now paying it forward and volunteers with the Morning Star centre by helping children with their school work and sharing his experience as a beneficiary of Morning Star. He encourages the children to persevere and continue working towards achieving their life goals.

Morning Star Community Services aims to enrich and strengthen family relationships through upstream, preventive and early intervention family programmes, workshops and counselling.

This article is extracted from the Caritas Singapore Annual Report 2017.
Morning Star Community Services is a member organisation of Caritas Singapore.