CityCare celebrates Children Day with 20 children from the Cerebral Palsy Centre.
Contributed By Dawn Seow
The sun, sea and sand never fail to bring a smile to any child, forming the perfect backdrop for a children’s day celebration. With that in mind, CityCare Ltd brought 20 children out to spend a happy day at the beach on Oct. 1, celebrating Children’s Day with games, sandcastle-building and Mc Donald’s-sponsored Happy Meals.
The children were students of the Cerebral Palsy Centre; some are diagnosed with autism while others suffer from cerebral palsy, a chronic condition affecting body movements and muscle coordination (see box story for more information).
While the children needed supervision and some help with their movements, their love for play was no different from normal children. Their initially reserved nature vanished as soon as the first ice-breaker games started. Smiles hung on their faces as they tossed beach balls and later dug their fingers and toes into the sand, building sandcastles.
The more adventurous ones ventured out—hand-in-hand with a volunteer—to get their feet wet in the shallow water. At first, they stepped gingerly into the water; upon feeling the cool sensation on their feet, they became bolder and more eager to allow the water to come up to their ankles.
As parents, teachers and volunteers fretted about getting sand all over themselves, the children appeared to be more than happy to get wet. When it was finally time to leave the beach, they were quite reluctant.
“We planned this outing at the beach knowing that the children will have lots of fun playing in the sand. Their lessons are usually held indoors, but since this is a special day, we decided to bring them out here to have some fun in the sun,” said Alexis Fan, CityCare’s staff in charge of volunteer management.
More than giving the children a day of fun, the event was also aimed at attracting young people to help the less fortunate, which is the core vision of CityCare.
“We wanted the event to be fun and enjoyable for the volunteers, as an added motivation toward volunteerism,” shared Fan. With a turn-out of 30 volunteers despite a downpour earlier in the morning, the event was a successful one.
Andre Kamarudin, 23, a student, has been volunteering at CityCare since 2008. He found it fun and meaningful to help the less fortunate and that has kept him coming back to volunteer. “Other than learning to love those in need, volunteering in CityCare has also given me opportunities to learn organization skills. Not many organizations involve the volunteers in the planning and organizing process the way CityCare does; so I have the chance to learn to handle people at different levels.”
For Angela Koh, 24, a nurse, it is her first time volunteering at CityCare and dealing with special needs children. While it was challenging, she nonetheless found joy in working with them. “A lot of patience is needed when the children are restless. There is also the need to pay extra attention when looking after them because they tend to wonder away from the group very often. Other than that, they are actually very much like normal children.”
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a group description of chronic conditions affecting body movements and muscle coordination. This condition is caused by damage to one or more specific areas of the brain, usually occurring during fetal development or infancy. It can also occur before, during or shortly following birth. Children with cerebral palsy may not be able to walk, talk, eat or play in the same ways as most children. The most common and widely known subtype is spastic cerebral palsy.