This year in Tabitha, our goals vary greatly from our goals last year, which was to raise money in the hopes of planning a Tabitha Housebuilding Project Week trip. This year, however, since the majority of us are in Grade 12, with the exception of two members, our goal is to raise awareness of our GC within the school and develop our GC Portfolio in hopes of attracting new members next year.
At the start of the year, we planned our activities and goals for this year based on our members, knowledge from previous years, and investigating ways that we can attract new members. Therefore, all of our sessions have been focused on this goal. We plan to launch new events for Tabitha during mentor times to increase awareness about our GC for a targeted audience (GCSE students). In this way, we are looking towards the sustainability of our GC in the long-term by emphasising our awareness-raising on younger members of our community
So far, I have taken part in 5 Running Hour sessions. During these sessions, everyone is paired up with an intellectually or physically challenged person to either walk, jog or run around the national stadium track or pedestrian path from the national stadium to Marina Barrage. Each time, I have been paired up with a different person, mostly those that have a form of autism.
This is a different experience for me as I have not previously done local service with people before, but mostly with animals. Therefore, this was an unfamiliar environment that I learned to adapt to and in doing so, I developed the social skills necessary to interact with intellectually or physically challenged people. I have also developed friendships with some of them and so I can feel more connected to locals in Singapore with various personal challenges. In the photos below which was taken during the sessions, guides (non-challenged) and those with disabilities are all posing together which shows that the ability to adapt to the new environment to connect within the group.
By talking to those that I was helping, I have also increased my understanding of their situations and how they are affected by their disabilities. For example, I now understand more about their education and how different schools in Singapore are specially adapted to helping the intellectually and physically challenged. I also recognise the ethical issues that they face when finding employment as most of their options are limited to retail and service jobs. This contributes to my understanding of global issues as well since this isn’t only the case in Singapore.
In terms of Running Hour itself, the positive effects of volunteering to help those with disabilities are clear. Not only does this service give them the opportunity to do exercise in a secure environment with people looking out for their safety, but it also gives them the chance to connect with other people who have disabilities and even people who don’t have disabilities. One thing to take into consideration is the mental health of the disabled, especially if topics are brought up during conversation that are particularly sensitive to them. However, I believe that the advantages to them outweigh the possible negative effects.
I first joined Tabitha GC three years ago in Grade 8. Since then, I have taken on the role of Head of Sales and Logistics Manager in the following years as well as taken on other leadership roles within projects. This year, I am looking to increase my responsibility and involvement in Tabitha by being GC Chair. I think this position will help me develop my leadership skills and increase the depth of my experience in service.
I think that I stand a good chance at getting this position as I have been with Tabitha for three years and organised many of their events as well as participated heavily in the team discussions. I have also taken on leadership roles within projects that we have done and I would know how best to engage all the members of the service. Additionally, I am looking for more depth in my commitments so I would definitely be able to take on the extra responsibility. Lastly, for Project Week later on in the year, one of the options that I’m currently looking at is a house building trip to the Tabitha NGO in Cambodia. Being GC Chair would enable me to build a good foundation for my volunteer experience there.
My involvement in the Tabitha GC has allowed me to address global issues and take action to help those in need internationally. I am looking forward to being involved again this year.
As a local service this year, I have joined Running Hour. This is a service that partners with intellectually or visually challenged members to engage in light physical activity and conversation. I am new to this service this year so I am not entirely familiar with the goals of this service. However, my expectations are that I will be able to develop an understanding of how being intellectually or visually challenged affects the lifestyle of individuals in the Singaporean community.
I have not done local service with people before, my only other local service experience was at an animal shelter. I have noted this as an area that I may have been lacking and so one thing that I am looking forward to is participating in a service that clearly impacts the local community in a different way than what I have done previously. I see this as an opportunity for me to grow in my understanding of social issues and develop my skills in interacting with people that I don’t normally interact with. With this, I can also gain insight into global issues as there are many similarities between challenged people in Singapore and overseas.