A special treat for RAYZ clients and their families to locations in Singapore that are out of this world.
RAYZ, a service provided by City Harvest Community Services Association for people with special needs, organized a weekend of fun for their clients, as well as their clients’ families, from Aug. 7 to 8. Taking advantage of the long National Day weekend, the RAYZ Family Day was aimed at being an occasion of fun and relaxation for the families of those with special needs. It was also a chance for the families to spend some time interacting with staff members and volunteers of RAYZ.
The RAYZ Family Day follows closely after the highly successful Amazing RAYZ held just one week earlier. The race involved 17 teams comprising RAYZ clients, volunteers and staff pitting their wits against one another to complete a race around Clarke Quay.
Involving 400 clients and family members, the family day was spread over five locations across Singapore within two days—the Marina Barrage, Hay Dairies Farm at Lim Chu Kang, Bollywood Veggies Organic Farm in Neo Tiew Road, Hausmann Marketing Aquarium at Neo Tiew Crescent and The Animal Resort at Seletar West Farmway.
The large-scale event saw many dedicated volunteers up and about early in the morning to begin preparations. In spite of recent foul weather trends, the skies were sunny and clear by the time the buses, filled with the family day participants, arrived at their respective destinations.
Lily Yong, 37, supervisor of RAYZ, said, “The main objective of having a family day is to let our clients’ families get to know our volunteers in a relaxed atmosphere, allowing them to also be directly involved in the activities we hold for their loved ones with special needs.” It seemed that relaxation and bonding were the order of the day as even the volunteers and RAYZ staff members brought along their families for the event.
At Marina Barrage, some of the participants soaked up the sunshine in the wide open fields while the more adventurous ones whisked out their kites and took advantage of the cool breeze on the rooftop sky garden. Children frolicked at the Water Playground and others went on a tour of the Sustainable Singapore Gallery.
Said Mrs. Ong, mother of RAYZ client, Ong Lye Chuan, “It was fun and [the tour was] interesting. There is so much to do here.” Both mother and daughter were first-time visitors to the Marina Barrage.
Over in the West, another group was having a ball of a time at Hay Dairies, the only goat farm in Singapore. The participants were led on a special educational tour of the Hay Dairies, which included a viewing of the actual goat milking process and the bottling of milk for delivery. The farm, which has about 1,000 goats of mixed breeds, uses the latest milking, pasteurizing, homogenizing and bottling machines to produce fresh goat’s milk, selling directly to customers.
Each person in the group was given a 250ml bottle of milk, as well as a souvenir from Hay Dairies as a memento for their experience on the farm.
The group at Bollywood Veggies went on a guided tour of the organic farm which cultivates fresh produce, particularly “fruit vegetables,” such as aloe vera, winter melon, eggplant, capsicum, long beans, pumpkin, zuchinni and others. With an emphasis on being a “planet-friendly farm,” the rustic and natural scenery was a welcomed change from the concrete buildings of the city. Offering a wide range of hands-on horticulture and culinary programs, the farm boasts a “no chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or growth hormones” philosophy.
Fish lovers had an unforgettable experience at Hausmann Marketing Aquarium. The free and easy tour allowed optional activities at extra cost, such as feeding the koi and terrapins, “longkang” fishing, or enjoying a fish spa.
|CN PHOTO: Gay Sen Min
PHOTOS: Charles Lee
Finally, the group that went to the Animal Resort had the chance to feed animals at the pet grooming and boarding house for Singapore domestic pets. The resort also offers dog training and a school for aspiring pet groomers. Other animals roamed about freely, giving the visitors a chance to interact with them.
Ong Leong Hui, 61, who accompanied his child Ong Peck Seah on the outing, said, “It was a good outing. It was a unique experience feeding the different animals. I can see that everyone enjoyed themselves.”
First-time volunteer Sha Sha, 32, a web consultant from Taiwan, said, “I had a lot of fun spending time with RAYZ today. Volunteering doesn’t feel tiring when it’s this enjoyable.”
Said another volunteer, Ho Chih Wei, “I know that [people with special needs] have really pure hearts, and they simply need more love and patience. What we all need is to have an open heart and open mind.”