This past weekend, the nation witnessed history take place as Joseph Schooling became a Gold Medallist after competing in the 100m butterfly at the 2016 Olympic Games. What we also cheered on was the evident sacrifice and unconditional love and support of both Colin and May, Joseph's parents.
This past weekend, we co-ordinated and ran our Beyond Awesome program. Every Saturday a group of #WorldChangeAgents and #WCALeaders hustle and bustle about to make the afternoon a fun and memorable experience for the kids in attendance.
All weekend long, we witnessed the apparent love and devotion of Schooling's parents and all weekend long, I could not shake what had happened in our own 'Beyond Awesome' world.
We currently serve over 130 kids and counting through our 'Beyond Awesome' program and one of our key approaches is to get multiple community stakeholders involved - the kids being the main target group, followed by their immediate families, other social welfare groups and then the greater community at large. One of the challenges we face is the lack of parental support in the lives of our kids - most kids share that they do not have anyone to go to look for if they need any help with homework or would like someone to read a story-book to them. Simple things a few of us may take for granted.
At our recent session, we partnered with the folks of Speed Sports and Conditioning who ran an incredibly fun-filled afternoon with indoor bootcamp-style drills, circuits and games for our kids to participate in. Halfway through, I turned around while grabbing my camera to capture the fun moments taking place and was startled to see an older gentleman who, at first glance, seemed incredibly familiar.
"I'm Rayston's father. I'm here to take a look and watch my son", he beamed with pride. And then it hit me. Just a week ago, some of our team leaders had set out on our regular Community Walks, knocking on doors, visiting families and speaking to people on the ground to see how we can improve our programs. This particular man's name was Jimmy. He was in my designated block of homes to visit. I had excitedly invited his son to join our sessions and warmly encouraged parents to join whenever they could. I had no idea that my words stayed with him until Saturday had come around. I was incredibly moved and asked Rayston and Uncle Jimmy if I could snap a photo of them to remember this moment by.
You see, a father figure is so pivotal in a child's life and I was so moved that he would take his break time at work to be there for his son and cheer him on for the games. However, I was also moved to think of the rest of the kids who's parents were not there to do as Uncle Jimmy was.
The next morning, I received a text from Uncle Jimmy that moved me to tears:
"Thank you to you all. I confirm that I will let my son to join all your activities. I can see all you young people with all your passion to the kids and all your love. I really feel proud of all of you. Keep it up to make Singapore better. Cheering for you all. Because I use a 50-year-old man's view and look at you all, just that I've only studied Chinese school and only reached Secondary level. My English is not good. You've all made me feel that when I was young I never do good things so if there's anything that you need my help with and I have the time, I will participate."
It's such a beautiful thing witnessing the work of our team come full circle - from reaching out to #WorldChangeAgents to serve (who have since been impacted in more ways than one from serving each week) to getting excited kids join our program and now, a father's love in action.
To more awesomeness and beyond!
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