Lending a helping hand

This article was first published on Sept 29, 2014

In the last part of a series leading to the inaugural MCCY-Straits Times Idea Jam, IN looks at the voluntary welfare organisations involved in the event.

Ten voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs) will benefit from new ideas from the young this week.

The Straits Times partnered the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) to do its part for the community through the inaugural MCCY-Straits Times Idea Jam, which will take place from Wednesday until Saturday.

A civic-engagement event for teenagers and young adults who wish to make a difference, the Idea Jam will provide a platform for participants to engage with VWOs and people from marginalised communities in Singapore.

These VWOs include The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, which supports needy children who have no money for meals at recess, as well as two organisations which help the environment – Waterways Watch Society and Restroom Association (Singapore).

Idea Jam participants will learn principles of impact journalism – which refers to research and communication skills used by reporters to tell stories which spark change – through interactive workshops and practical sessions with Mr Chris Sopher, founder and director of WhereBy.us, a civic-idea incubator.

For an authentic learning experience, an ST journalist will lead each team of five participants in using the skills they pick up to uncover problems faced by marginalised communities, and craft effective solutions to help these groups.

Each team’s representative will address a panel of judges during a pitch presentation on the final day of the event. They will outline the issues faced by the team’s chosen community and detail solutions.

Each winning prototype will receive implementation seed funding of up to $3,000 from the Young ChangeMakers Grant, a disbursement from the National Youth Council, which is supporting the Idea Jam.

IN takes a look at the VWOs which will be involved in Idea Jam.

Here is a brief summary of the voluntary welfare organisations and what they do.


Organisation: Beyond Social ServicesAim: Curb delinquency among disadvantaged young people and their families.Who it helps: Children and those up to the age of 25 from low-income families and their family members.What it does: Runs a range of programmes for children from low-income families to make sure they do not fall behind their peers in school, such as an early childhood programme and a literacy programme. It also organises activities for children and youth to keep them away from crime.To know more: www.beyond.org.sg


Organisation: BizlinkAim: Helping people with disabilities find jobs.Who it helps: People with disabilities.What it does: Provides job training and assessment for people with disabilities, matches them to suitable jobs or hires them under its social enterprises, such as its card and gift or floral and hamper businesses.To know more: www.bizlink.org.sg


Organisation: Blossom World SocietyAim: To foster a sense of sincerity, gratitude, service and community among youth through character-building activities.Who it helps: Those aged 14 to 25 years old.What it does: Runs programmes for young people, such as community projects, for them to learn about serving the community, as well as organises camps which help to build character.To know more: www.blossomworld.sg


Organisation: Lakeside Family ServicesAim: Improving the lives of underprivileged children, youth and their families.Who it helps: Children and youth from low-income families in the Jurong area and their family members.What it does: Runs a range of services through its three family service centres, which include casework and counselling, as well as before- and after-school care services for children and youth. It also holds workshops for families to pick up skills on financial literacy and parenting, as well as organises activities for people in the community to bond with one another.To know more: www.lakeside.org.sg


Organisation: Restroom Association (Singapore)Aim: To improve the cleanliness of public toilets.Who it helps: Building owners, the cleaning industry and toilet users.What it does: Runs programmes targeted at building owners, the cleaning industry and toilet users. Among them, educational programmes for pre-school and schools related to toilet etiquette, as well as a rating system for public toilets, which assesses whether they are clean and save water and energy.To know more: www.toilet.org.sg


Organisation: Singapore Kindness MovementAim: To create a culture of kindness.Who it helps: Society as a whole.What it does: Holds awareness campaigns, such as Kindness Day SG, runs workshops and competitions among students to promote kindness, as well as provides seed funding for kindness projects.To know more: kindness.sg


Organisation: The Straits Times School Pocket Money FundAim: To equip underprivileged children with resources to do well in school and beyond.Who it helps: Children and youth from low-income families.What it does: Gives monthly pocket money to children and youth from low-income families, provides English-language tutoring to upper primary pupils who are its beneficiaries.To know more: www.stschoolpocketmoneyfund.org.sg


Organisation: Sustainable Living LabAim: To encourage people to create items which are sustainable and responsible, so as not to tax the earth.Who it helps: Youth, including some students on the financial assistance scheme, as well as the intellectually disabled.What it does: Runs a project in which volunteers make items for occupational therapy for residents of the Bishan Home for the Intellectually Disabled. It also has a programme for students on the financial assistance scheme studying in schools in the north-east district, to inspire their interest in science through making things. In addition, there are weekly meet-up sessions for volunteers to make things which benefit their community.To know more: www.sl2square.org


Organisation: Sunshine Welfare Action Mission (Swami) HomeAim: To help needy elderly be as independent as possible and to live with a high quality of life.Who it helps: The elderly who are residents at the home or in the community.What it does: Cares for its elderly residents, and provides dementia day care for the elderly, and medical, nursing and other support services to the elderly or sick elderly living at home.To know more: www.swami.org.sg


Organisation: Waterways Watch SocietyAim: To get people to care for waterways, such as drains, canals, rivers and reservoirs, and appreciate water resources.Who it helps: Singapore societyWhat it does: Runs school programmes, such as camps, presentations and talks, to raise awareness of water resources; organises volunteers to monitor the waterways; and alert authorities if there are signs of pollution and damage.To know more: www.wws.org.sg