CityCare was created in 2007 to serve local and international communities through active volunteerism. It has changed lives in the process.
|PHOTO COURTESY OF CITYCARE|
CityCare’s loudest calling card may be the bright orange polo T-shirt that its workers and volunteers wear. But just as striking is the fact that in three short years, this non-profit organization has received recognition for its humanitarian efforts in Sichuan, following the 2008 earthquake, and Haiti, in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that struck its capital, Port-au-Prince in January this year. Started as a social enterprise in 2007, CityCare was given seed funding by the National Volunteer Philanthropic Centre and is supported by the Ministry of Community Development Youth and Sports and the Health Promotion Board under the Ministry of Health.
CityCare was started by a group of like-minded professionals who wanted to promote a culture of doing good through encouraging volunteerism in Singapore—to build a city that cares, one where philanthropy is a way of life among its citizens and not merely an afterthought.
“CityCare was formed as a non-profit community organization and international humanitarian aid group to encourage more people to serve the community through active volunteerism,” he says.
In the aforementioned Haiti earthquake, CityCare wasted no time in assembling medical teams and coordinating six disaster relief operations to the Caribbean island. Supplies of waterproof tents and water pumps to provide temporary shelter and access to clean water were also donated and distributed amongst the affected Haitians. Since end-February, CityCare has sent six teams of 22 doctors and 45 disaster relief workers to aid and treat a total of 7,943 earthquake survivors in Carrefour and the nearby suburbs—an impressive achievement considering that the efforts took place from make-shift medical facilities set up without joint backing from any international, more established collaborators.
Beyond disaster relief, CityCare has also facilitated many poverty alleviation and education projects in Asia, including helping to build primary schools, orphanages and welfare facilities. Ultimately, however, CityCare’s vision is to promote active volunteerism among both individuals and corporate organizations. To inculcate the values of doing good in the youth, CityCare developed its first values-based curriculum called “The New SINGAPOREAN”, where SINGAPOREAN is an acronym for foundational values being taught—Social Responsibility, Innovative, Net Giver, Globalized, Adaptable, Problem Solver, Opportunity Seeker, Resilient, Educated, Attuned and Nation Conscious.
This curriculum is being taught in schools through engaging formats like interactive learning and games, and has been well-received by the students and teachers alike. In fact, some students from Fajar Secondary School were so impacted by the New SINGAPOREAN values that they painted all 11 values on the steps leading to their school
Building upon this success, CityCare has developed other equally well-received curricula such as You the Leader teaching on leadership, the Big Idea on social entrepreneurship, Dare on smoking cessation, the 3G Man on manhood, and New SINGAPOREAN 2 on values.
Toward the end of the curriculum, students will execute a social innovation project through the application of business strategies to achieve social causes. These projects will be led by the students themselves, facilitated by CityCare mentors. As such, beyond education, the program seeks to benefit the students in terms of personal development and empowerment.
Those who have completed CityCare’s programs are then encouraged to continue working with CityCare by signing up as a volunteer with the Caretalyst Club, where they will be supported by a network of mentors. There are now three Caretalyst Clubs at the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Management University.
Of note, Caretalysts from Singapore Institute of Management obtained Youth Expedition Programme funding and taught the New Singaporean curriculum to students from a top high school in Tianjin, China last December. Together, the Singapore and Chinese students conducted an orphanage makeover project in Henan, China following the course. CityCare currently has 1,039 Caretalysts on the team. At the end of the day, these initiatives aim to combat apathy and empower individuals to be social change agents and build a more caring community.
CityCare also played its part in promoting awareness among the corporate sector through its community project series, which saw the involvement of 15 organizations over a 3-day period to benefit more than 400 beneficiaries in Singapore.
The Bukit Ho Swee Family Service Centre, for example, extended help to disadvantaged children from the youth shelters Gracehaven and Club Rainbow, hearing-impaired youths from the Singapore Association for the Deaf and needy elderly from Jamiyah Home for the Aged. From imparting IT skills to disadvantaged children and learning the waltz with destitute elderly to providing free health and dental checks to low incomes families, the objective was clear—to promote corporate philanthropy even in uncertain economic climates, as it was then.
In addition, CityCare partnered with many businesses and organizations in the promotion of corporate social responsibility, working with institutions like Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Maybank, Citispa as well as Reader’s Digest.
More recently, CityCare conducted a social entrepreneurship camp for South West Community Development Council and provided volunteer support in the highly-publicized We Are One project, championed by MediaCorp and CapitaLand, which provided financial support to families affected by the global recession last year. Since its inception, CityCare has worked with 53 enterprises to help build a more caring society.
“Through our community program with CityCare called Affection in Assurance, not only did we get to serve over 50 poor and needy families by offering them free insurance coverage, this experience also has given us a whole new perspective of life. We now have a desire to get out there and do more for those who are unprivileged,” says Stanley Quek, Financial Services District Manager of SP-Stanley Quek.
As a non-religious organization, CityCare promotes values that are universal and shared across all faiths, having worked with both secular and
religious schools such as the madrasah, and served voluntary welfare organizations regardless of their religious affiliations. Since 2007, CityCare has conducted its programs in 67 schools and trained over 9,000 students through its courses and camps.
Through its educational programs and humanitarian projects, CityCare hopes to encourage more people to serve the less fortunate and to make doing good a lifestyle. “We believe that by helping people one person at a time, we can create a multiplier effect and bring systemic change to our world,” concludes Tan.
For local delegates, if you are interested in being a volunteer or a donor, or to partner with CityCare; and for overseas delegates, if you are keen to find more about CityCare and how to be our international affiliates, please contact Cindy at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or visit us at The Marketplace Trade Fair Booth D4/D6 at Expo Hall 7.