Serving, With Impact

December 2020

YouthGIG 2020: Gifting from the Heart

Group meetings might currently be limited to just five people, but that did nothing to stop this year’s YouthGIG participants from making a big impact.

While they did without the usual mass entertainment event, efforts were channelled into a gifting initiative for primary and secondary schools, as well community groups in Jurong.

Along with a staff mentor, youth members of JYC @ Children's Society (GIG @ JYC) curated gift packs that would suit the recipients’ needs. For example, schools received snacks, red pens and marker ink refills, while boxes of water and snacks were prepared for taxi and private-hire drivers.

Safe distancing meant planning work was done over Zoom and WhatsApp, but the participants gamely took it on as part of the challenge.

“Even though the format of this year’s YouthGIG was different from past years, I still enjoyed every second of it,” says Joanne Foo, 14, who was team leader for her group. She added that while it was slightly daunting, it helped to have the full support of her teammates.

Carl Ng, 14, enjoyed using YouthGIG 2020 as a chance to give back. “I enjoyed preparing the gift packs and passing them to our friends in the community. It was a good way for us to show our appreciation towards them.” 

The following schools and community agencies benefited from YouthGIG 2020: Corporation Primary School, Jurong Primary School, Lakeside Primary School, Rulang Primary School, Shuqun Primary School, Xingnan Primary School, Grace Orchard School, Hua Yi Secondary School, Jurongville Secondary School, Yuan Ching Secondary School, Yuhua Secondary School, Jurong Spring Community Club, Lakeside Student Care, Persatuan Pemudi Islam Singapura (PPIS) Student Care Centre (Jurong), Social Service Office @ Boon Lay, The GRIT Project (Children & Youth Centre) by Lakeside Family Services, and THK Family Service Centre @ Jurong.

Farm to Table Learning: Getting Hands On in the Kitchen Garden

To plant the seed of greater awareness about the environment and food security, and decrease consumerism, 14
primary three and four students from Student Care @ Children’s Society were given the opportunity to participate in Kitchen Garden.

The 12-week long programme, which allowed them to explore where their food came from, was delivered in two-and-a-half-hour sessions twice a week.

The first session, on 9 September, was guided by volunteer facilitators from Once Upon A Monday, a non-profit organisation that designs and runs experiential learning sessions for children with their community partners. Themed ‘A Trip Round the World’, the session focussed on some of the students’ favourite foods like pizza, spaghetti and cake, and where they came from.

The students learnt how to grow and harvest vegetables including microgreens, tomatoes, and capsicums to make simple dishes, and about the role of snails, ants and other creatures in the food ecosystem. 

They also made their own cordials from ingredients such as lemongrass, pandan leaves and butterfly pea flowers. 

“It was heart-warming watching their joy and satisfaction as they reaped the fruits of their labour and learnt valuable life skills like cooking,” said project lead Ms Susan Quek, Programme Assistant of Student Care @ Children’s Society.

Nature also gamely served up some memorable surprises – the students witnessed the metamorphosis of a lime butterfly and eventually set it free.

It certainly added to the excitement for primary four student Karis, who experienced many firsts during the programme, “I had such an enjoyable time gardening and taking care of the lime caterpillars.”

The centre has plans to roll out the programme to the rest of its students next year. 

Home2School: Getting Prepared for Primary One

Young ones with little or no pre-school education got some help closing the gap ahead of starting primary one through Home2School, a bridging programme held in collaboration between Children Outreach @ Children's Society and Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) School of Humanities and Social Sciences. The programme is now in its second year.

Between September and November, some 23 five- and six-year-olds met with assigned volunteers who helped them with literacy and numeracy skills. The meetings were held over WhatsApp video calls or Zoom weekly. Ahead of the sessions, materials that were curated by NP’s Young Advocating for the Younger (YAY) club were delivered to the children. 

Andi Hani Yasmin Binti Mohd Yusof, 21, who was part of a trio supporting siblings Nina* and Brandon*, said it was initially challenging doing the lessons virtually, but that they quickly adapted the materials to the platform.

The content was also customised based on the children’s needs and learning abilities. 

"Nina already knew her alphabet and numbers, so we guided her on writing them down. We also simplified the content for Brandon, so he could identify words, colours, and patterns through simple close-ended questions."

All set for school: Participants of the Home2School programme

Mr Hazwan, whose 5- and 6-year-olds took part in the programme, said he was happy to see his children become more curious about learning.

“Through the sessions, I am able to know the areas that my children need to improve on and we will continue to work on them after the programme.” 

A big thank you to our Home2School volunteers for their hard work and dedication, and for contributing to our children’s learning and development!

*Names have been changed to protect beneficiaries identities

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