In a flash of a few months, it seems that our world has changed completely. Although many of our service centres are temporarily closed from measures announced by the government in response to the COVID-19 situation, we pressed on to serve our many children, youth and families in need.
As families face mounting pressures from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and increased caregiving needs from the closure of schools, we intensified our work in the following areas:
- Providing relief to families in need
- Provided over 500 children and youth from 260 families with financial assistance, meals and laptops in April 2020
- Doubled up efforts to link up families in need with government and community assistance schemes
- Providing emotional support to children and their caregivers
- Since April, Tinkle Friend, our national helpline and chatline, supported a higher number of calls and chats from primary-school-aged children
- Developed resources (e.g. ParenTIPS and Tinkle Friend BUZZ COVID-19 Issue) for children and their caregivers to pay attention to emotional needs
- Actively engaging children and youth to improve mental well-being, and to look out for signs of distress
- Engaging with youth members of our drop-in centres over social media platforms and shared topics of interest to youth (e.g. self-care, tips to stay safe and healthy during this period)
- Actively connecting with over 400 youth displaying higher needs (e.g. friction with families, lack of supervision at home)
- Protecting vulnerable children and youth under our care
- Sunbeam Place @ Children’s Society continues to provide much needed care to vulnerable children and youth who now stay at the residential home 24/7 as schools are closed and external activities suspended. Resources are stepped up to keep the residents meaningfully engaged, on top of meeting their physical needs
I am heartened by how our staff members have adapted so well and so quickly during this critical period so that we continue to protect and serve our beneficiaries. We have adopted new ways of working and staying connected, and a number of staff members have even volunteered to be re-deployed to other centres where there are manpower crunches. Such courage and resilience embody the spirit of Singapore Children’s Society.
I am thankful to my fellow Executive Committee members, and to the many volunteers, corporate donors, individuals and community partners who have stepped up their support. From volunteering your precious time and expertise, to donations of protective equipment, laptops and operational funds so that our services can continue to run – we could not have done all these without your support.
The effects of the COVID-19 situation are far from over and it is critical that we stay focused and united during this period. I wish everyone good health, and I look forward to working closely with all of you so that we can surmount the challenges ahead of us.
Koh Choon Hui, PJG
Singapore Children’s Society