HeART shows practical love to underprivileged children.
|PHOTO COURTESY OF ELIJAH TED|
“Christmas is all about love and giving.”
This beautiful tagline became the motivation behind a recent community event organized by local art enterprise, Art With A HeART.
On Dec. 15, 2010, HeART organized an outing to the zoo, aptly titled “A Christmas with Love,” involving 28 children aged between 4 to 12, all beneficiaries of the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund. The children were also part of the Little Arts Academy, an academy dedicated to providing quality education in the arts to children from economically-distanced families, regardless of race or religion.
Fifteen-year-old Ng is no stranger to community projects such as this. Besides selling his own paintings and art supplies to raise money to benefit underprivileged children, Ng has also put his hand to organizing creative community projects such as a charity haircut, New Look With A HeART, held in October 2010.
Said Ng, “We brainstormed on many different places and options before finally deciding on this zoo trip as the best plan.”
The 12 volunteers comprise business and working professionals from various fields in the marketplace, such as Elsie Siew, a property agent, Rommel C. Aviles, a card relation consultant with a prominent bank, as well as Timothy Ng and Suzanne Chee, Ng’s parents. Recent Metropolitan Film Festival award winner, Raymond Delon Poh, was also there to lend his support and take photographs.
In spite of their enthusiasm, the team faced a number of difficulties when it came to organizing the trip. As Ng pointed out, “It was a challenge to plan the transport, logistics and other details for the outing. Many of the volunteers are very busy people, especially at the close of the year.” Nevertheless, they heartily set aside the time to contribute toward the outing and also turn up for the actual day’s event.
The great effort and thought poured into the organizing of this outing paid off on the big day. For starters, the 28 children were presented with colorful goody bags generously stuffed with things that children love—presents, food and candy; and every child was given a bright red T-shirt with “A Christmas with Love” emblazoned across the front.
|PHOTO: Raymond Delon Poh|
On top of enjoying the sights and sounds of the zoo, the children were tasked to draw a picture that expressed love and care. Using the art supplies provided by HeART, the children began producing their own masterpieces. They were encouraged to present and explain what their picture meant—an activity aimed at boosting their level of confidence and skill of expression. Billabong wallets were given out as prizes for the winners of the activity.
In the midst of all the fun, new friendships were forged between the children and the volunteers. Said Ng, “It was truly heart-warming to receive their friendship. There was even one girl who approached my mother at the end of the trip and asked if we would remember them, and visit them again.”
Many of the volunteers themselves received a newfound joy in interacting with the children during the trip. Although they were not professional teachers, they realized that they could still be role models, passing down important values to the children though their words and actions.
One of the volunteers, Madeleine Choong, a grandmother of three, shared, “Watching the happy faces on the kids has encouraged us to go the extra mile, and bring more joy to people around us.”