RAYZ clients enjoyed a time of physical activity, supported by students of Anderson Junior College.
Contributed By Ricky Chee
Individuals with special needs from RAYZ got together with able-bodied students from Anderson Junior College for a fun time of exercise.
RAYZ is a service provided by City Harvest Community Services Association for people with special needs. Their aim is to be a “ray of hope” to the intellectually-challenged by raising their quality of life. RAYZ organizes holistic programs that encourage social interaction and independence for people with special needs. Activities include literacy and numeracy development, educational talks and visits, social skill development, as well as sports and recreational activities.
Fun Fitness was a program organized to encourage special needs clients from RAYZ to exercise and to live healthily. A mass exercise workout was conducted with about 400 clients in attendance. The exercise came in the form of simple dance moves, set to the beat of pop songs.
Santhi Singaram, 39, one of the organizers, explained that children with special needs tend to indulge in sedentary activities, thus making weight gain an issue. They may also not have the opportunity to attend exercise classes or have friends to play active sports with. Therefore the use of music and dance to promote exercise is most practical and viable for the beneficiaries. “We wanted to introduce fitness activities which they can easily adopt and enjoy,” said Singaram.
Fun Fitness had a secondary objective: to encourage the integration of people with special needs into the community through interaction. RAYZ wanted to involve youth in organizing this event to promote physical encounters between them and those with special needs. It was a fun and unthreatening way for the 48 students involved to experience such interactions, and it paved the way for more such collaborative projects that engage the community in learning and supporting people with special needs. RAYZ facilitated the program for the day, along with 70 volunteers and the AJC students.
AJC was selected primarily because of its central location, the existence of the Interact Club—which is experienced in organizing community events—in line with its school motto, “NON MIHI SOLUM,” a Latin expression meaning “Not For Myself Alone” The air-conditioned school hall was a spacious, comfortable venue for the crowd of 600.
The event kicked off with warm up activities such as “RAYZ Wave” and “Sporty Dresser.” Ten very sporty-looking people were selected to parade on stage. There was also a mini-relay race on stage to get the crowd roaring and cheering for their respective teams, “SUPER” team and “POWER” team.
Then came the main event: a 40-minute workout known as the RAYZ Fun Fitness Workout, which was entirely choreographed by two students, Kareen Chan Kai Lin and Toh Ying Ying.
Students Clara Wong Xue Ping and June Lee Ying Yen conducted a quiz for the RAYZ clients, using Powerpoint presentation. The audience was deeply engaged in the quiz, and prizes were given out to those who answered questions.
The Fun Fitness program was headed by the community service director of the Interact Club of AJC, H. Sharanya Pillai. A token of appreciation by RAYZ manager Lily Yong was presented to Sharanya, bringing the day to a happy close.