The New Charis Mission creates awareness and acceptance for ex-offenders through its first organized race, Unlabelled Run.
Come April 16 this year, runners will racing towards a good cause in a 5K fun run or a 10K competitive race.
Unlabelled Run is an initiative by The New Charis Mission (TCNM), a non-profit charity organisation that rehabilitates and reintegrates ex-offenders into society.
Registered in 2006, TCNM is a member of the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) and is an approved Institution of Public Character. The organisation offers a host of services and programmes centered around its motto: “Building the Vision, Rebuilding Lives”. These include a one-year residency for former drug addicts and prisoners that involves counseling and reconciliation with the offender’s family; in-prison counseling sessions and weekly visits; job creation for ex-offenders through social enterprises such as waste removal; doing good works for the elderly and also school talks to create awareness about gangs and drugs, as well as a mentoring programme for at-risk children.
According to programme coordinator Raymond Tan, the charity run—the very first for the organisation—is meant “to mark TCNM’s 10th Anniversary this year, and also to raise funds and awareness for the causes we stand for.
“We hope that this race will help us create awareness about and garner support towards the three main areas of work by TNCM, namely the youths, the elderly and ex-offenders,” he adds.
Unlabelled Run is not the only run in Singapore in aid of ex-offenders—the running community will be familiar with the annual Yellow Ribbon Run organized by the Yellow Ribbon Fund. But the two runs have different foci. Tan explains that the while the “Yellow Ribbon Run emphasizes on giving ex-offenders second chances so that they can re-integrate back into society, Unlabelled focuses on getting the public to acceptance of the works done by ex-offenders. We want to garner support for the works done by ex-offenders that contribute back to society and bless the community at large.”
One of the highlights of Unlabelled Run is a hydro tattoo—a temporary tattoo sleeve that every participant will get. In Singapore, ex-offenders are sometimes recognized by their tattoos, a feature that has become a source of discrimination among sectors of the public. Promoting this temporary “tattoo” as a sign of solidarity and support for ex-offenders, the organisers hope that Unlabelled will also break records for the greatest number of tattooed runners in Singapore on race day.
”In the past, many [offenders] were branded by their tattoos, crimes, addictions and failures,” says Don Wong, executive director of The New Charis Mission. “Today they are transformed, reformed and rebranded for the good of the society, recognized for the good they do in the community, giving back in ways previously unimagined.”
Organizers hope that there will be more than 2,000 signups for the race. All participants will receive a branded race t-shirt, a finisher’s medal, free sports massages and more—but nothing more satisfying than knowing that they have played a part in creating greater acceptance of those who need it most.
Visit www.unlabelledrun.com to register. The run takes place on the morning of Saturday, April 16, 2016. Start point is Angsana Green at East Coast Park Singapore. Registration fees are $30 for the 5K Fun Run and $50 for the 10K Competitive Run.