Mother's Day has yet to arrive but over the past weekend our team celebrated what a gift and a joy mothers in communities we serve are. We spent the month or two prior to the celebration day brainstorming, planning, co-ordinating, resourcing - take it from us, there was a lot going on behind-the-scenes.
All the hard work paid off because when we opened our doors, more than 50 family members poured in, many of them have children attending our program but have never once stepped into our Beyond Awesome classroom. Mothers beamed with pride as their children raised their hand with excitement to share what our classroom expectations are (being kind, giving things a go, respect our space, using listening ears, avoiding physical contact).
"Why is this even a big deal?", you may be asking. We know. It sounds simple but in actuality, many of the children and youth we outreach to do not have a structured home environment, are often overlooked at school or are dealing with a lot of emotions and challenges. When we first started our program, many fights would break out, it was common to hear cuss words every couple of minutes and we were up against apathetic attitudes and rolling eyes because, to them, they hated the thought of 'learning' or 'school'. But, with consistency and commitment thanks to our wonderful WorldChangeAgents, students have developed a love for learning, they are curious about the world and they have pride in their work and in our Beyond Awesome Classroom because to them, it's home.
We digress for a moment but it's just to give you a little peek as to why this weekend was extra meaningful for everyone.
We set up a 'Mums Pampering' area where hands were massaged, hand scrubs provided and nails painted - all children were ushered into our main room.
We broke up into groups based on age and reading levels to read stories and meeting each other (as some children were new to the program).
We played plenty of games (thanks to the generous givers who constantly contribute through our calls for resources each week)
We printed out photos of families and children loved decorating their own photo-frame which they gifted to their mothers or lovingly came to collect at the end of the day to bring home.
LIST OF THANK YOU(S)!
We have plenty of thanks to share (and we're sure this list is in-exhaustive because what you see on 'event days' are actually not the full picture of how much work and effort is required)
Thank you to our incredible Program Captains, who without them, none of this would be possible: Nicolette, Michelle, Yi Han, Kristin, Adam, Charmaine and Wizza.
Thank you to Elsie's Kitchen for sponsoring amazing bento sets (which were fully customised for our program and consisted of Spaghetti Bolognese, Cheese Croquette, Buttered Carrot & Broccoli, Chicken Nugget, Honey Baked Drumlet, Mango Pudding Cup!) and going above and beyond to make sure our guests-of-honors (families and children!) were well fed and felt the love!
Nobody went home empty handed thanks to the generosity of individuals who contributed bath, beauty and skin supplies over the last two months.
We'd also like to thank Ivy for creating and sponsoring awesome cards to go along with the hampers
As well as Amber Ay for hand-making earrings for the first 30 hampers.
Thank you to our friends at Beyond Social Services and ISCOS for partnering to invite those in the community they felt would benefit the most from our celebration day.
We want to thank all WorldChangeAgents for stepping up to our call for support before, during and after the event - from vacuuming floors to cleaning surfaces, from picking up students to ensuring each of them received care and attention, from taking photos to painting nails, from slicing apples to making sandwiches and from setting up the space to re-organising items right till the very end. Thank you: Neelam, Nicole, Niki Laurens, Derek, Jie Ying, Kok F'ng, Jia Ying, Hannah, Yi Jun, Joelle, Aruno and Scarlet.
This celebration was a success not just because we welcomed so many people through our doors but because everybody worked as a team to contribute in their own way. We are reminded that...
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."