A Christmas Reunion

December 2019

In picture (left to right): Ms Angeline Ong, Caseworker, Sunbeam Place @ Children's Society with Nurul Khirani, ex-beneficiary of Sunbeam Place, Ms Charmaine Tan, Assistant Director/Head, RoundBox @ Children's Society with Ong Hong Jian, ex-beneficiary of RoundBox @ Children's Society, Ms Nadiah Mis'ari, Counsellor, JYC @ Children's Society with Elfian Shafiq, ex-beneficiary of JYC @ Children's Society 

Someone even more significant than Santa made a festive reappearance in the lives of some of our former beneficiaries as part of our Christmas celebrations this year. The Society arranged for three former caseworkers to meet the youth they helped get back on track, and to see how far they had progressed in their personal and professional lives.

For ex-beneficiary of Sunbeam Place @ Children’s Society, Nurul Khirani, it was a tearful reunion. Ms Angeline Ong had counselled her through trying times and negative emotions as she struggled with stress at home and in school as a younger teen, and dealt with her mother’s imprisonment.

“Sister Angeline” would spend time with her at the centre and take her on outings with other youth and staff.

It was just the kind of support she needed, said Nurul, who is now 18 and studies mechanical engineering at the ITE.

For social worker Ms Nadiah Mis’ari, it was a moment of immense pride when she discovered that Elfian Shafiq, a shy aspiring video producer she once counselled, was now a freelance assistant video producer with a media company. 

Elfian, 23 and a former beneficiary of JYC @ Children’s Society, hung out mainly with dancers but lacked the courage to follow his own calling in videography. Nadiah urged him to make dance videos of his friends, and it provided a much-needed confidence boost because they loved his work. 

To give Elfian even more exposure, JYC asked him to make publicity videos that were used in recruitment drives at schools and malls.

“This challenged him creatively. His videos would now have a larger audience, and include community stakeholders like teachers, parents and social service agencies, not just his peers,” said Nadiah.

Elfian wasn’t the only one to benefit from a push in the right direction. It helped Ong Hong Jian, a former beneficiary of RoundBox @ Children’s Society, get away from gang fights. Ms Charmaine Tan engaged with him over games of pool, encouraging him to channel his innate protective instincts to his juniors at RoundBox. 

He now coaches them in pool and hopes to soon be able to give back even more. “I hope to return to RoundBox @ Children’s Society as a volunteer when I finish my National Service, and teach my juniors Brazilian jiu-jitsu,” he said. 

Watch the heartwarming reunion of the ex-beneficiaries and their former social workers here

Click here to read the story in Chinese.

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