Three days before Christmas, a group of 13 volunteers went on a marathon tour in the heartlands to share the love and joy of the festive season with 299 intellectually disadvantaged residents of Sunlove Abode for the Intellectually Infirmed, Surya Home and Mindsville@Napiri. This initiative was organized by RAYZ, a community arm of City Harvest Community Services Association (CHCSA).
The volunteers arrived early in the morning at Sunlove Abode, located in Buangkok Green Medical Park, and were met with welcoming embraces of the residents. When all were gathered in the main hall, the volunteers performed a series of Christmas carols, put up a short skit and played games together with the residents. The presence of the volunteers was very much appreciated by the residents, as seen in their wide smiles and loud applause.
Their dull and predictable weekday routine had been broken by the boisterous cheers and sweet melodies from the volunteers. “Everyone can give and do something to brighten up another person’s day by just being there to spend time with them. That can really make a difference in the lives of the intellectually challenged,” said Joli, 30, a teacher, who volunteers regularly with RAYZ. Santhi Singaram, 37, program coordinator for RAYZ, had this to say of the volunteers, “It is heartening to see working professionals taking leave from work just to help out in such events.”
After about an hour of fun and interactive games with the residents, the volunteers set off for Surya Home, located in the vicinity, via an ambulance, a first-time experience for all the volunteers. In Surya Home, volunteers got down to another round of revelry and cheer.
|PHOTOS: Lin Yanni|
On the last leg of their day-long trip, the volunteers visited Mindsville@Napiri, one of the residential homes run by Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS). It proved to be yet another enriching experience for the volunteers. “Many of the clients at Mindsville have profound multiple disabilities. The love that the caregivers have towards these clients simply inspires us to want to do more for them,” said Lily Yong, 37, RAYZ supervisor.
Each home was also given a beautifully assembled hamper containing an array of delightful goodies for the festive season. In the words of Gowri, a supervisor at Surya Home, “We recognize you! Thank you for coming down every year to spend time with the clients. We are very touched.” Undoubtedly, every good work by the volunteers has been more than an outreach initiative that brought not just showers of love to the residents but a lasting imprint upon their hearts.