It is not difficult to figure out why home makeovers have far reaching results in community service.
Home makeovers were the central theme throughout 2010 for many volunteers who gladly availed themselves to clean out the clutter in the homes of old folks and the underprivileged, to bring a smile to their faces.
The year-round home improvement projects kickstarted in February with several groups of volunteers visiting less-privileged homes for a worthy cause. Volunteers from Ngee Ann Polytechnic and City Harvest Community Services Association’s RAYZ clients (yes, even people with special needs pitched in to do their bit for the community!) turned dreams into reality for selected households living in Bukit Merah, Yishun and Henderson Crescent. Neither bug-infested bed frames nor unruly clutter could deter the redecoration and junk clearing exercise. After toiling through the cramped living spaces, the volunteers were greeted with heartfelt gratitude when the families were reintroduced to their spruced up interiors.
Just before the Lunar New Year, 60 youths from a zone in City Harvest Church, under the care of district pastor Wu Yuzhuang, initiated a spring cleaning project at eight one-room flats located in Macpherson. Whilst the task of cleaning and scrubbing ill-maintained homes seemed daunting for the young and sheltered Singaporeans, many eventually shed their personal inhibitions to transform the dull rooms into comfortable living spaces. Overall, Project Dream Home, as the project was called, gave the youths the opportunity to bridge the gap and engage in meaningful interaction between the youth and elderly.
Another 150 youths also displayed similar feats of generosity in April to give 20 one-room apartments in Chinatown a much-needed home improvement. Armed with pails and brushes, the volunteers went in search of peeling paint and cracks amidst dirt and debris before a thorough paint job ensued. After more than 20 hours over a two-day period, the elderly residents were visibly touched by the assistance rendered in beautifying their homes.
In September, through a cooperative joint project between CHCSA’s People Of Destiny youth center and Glenn Lim Consultancy, an agency specializing in youth programs, Mrs. Ithnin and her family were given new lease of life with better living conditions. Volunteers spent more than five hours on a brilliant job and won over Irene Ng, Member of Parliament for the Tampines GRC and writer-in-residence for the Institute of South-East Asian Studies. The youths exemplified a community spirit regardless of race, language or religion.
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Most recently, a team of 20 volunteers including Alex Wee, Chairman of the Bishan Community Club’s Youth Executive Committee helped paint and offer assistance to residents residing in a block of one-room rental apartments in Toa Payoh Lorong 5 after a fire broke out in a unit on the ninth floor and left it in an unrecognizable state. Noting the extent of damage caused by the fire on the neighboring units, youth volunteers swung into action to reorganize the homes and painstakingly removed soot stains off the walls and furniture without hesitation. These tedious restoration and refurbishment works served as more than a jolt of reality, but also a time of awakening to one’s life purpose. The total number of homes made over this year—50.