Singapore Children's Society lauds outstanding volunteers including one who raised over $100m in 10 years

Mrs Joanna Ang, 63, won the Platinum Service Award given to outstanding volunteers who have served the Children's Society for at least 15 years.
Mrs Joanna Ang, 63, won the Platinum Service Award given to outstanding volunteers who have served the Children's Society for at least 15 years.PHOTO: SINGAPORE CHILDREN'S SOCIETY

SINGAPORE - Mrs Joanna Ang, 63, a volunteer with the Singapore Children's Society, recalled a Primary 4 boy crying over the phone and saying he wanted to kill himself.

"Classmates were teasing him about his 'girlfriend' in class," said Mrs Ang, who has been helping out since 2003 with the Tinkle Friend Helpline, a national toll-free line for primary school pupils.

A trained counsellor, Mrs Ang eventually helped the boy get over the teasing.

The episode happened about 10 years ago, but she said it will be in her mind for a long time.

The housewife was one of 47 volunteers and donors honoured on Tuesday night (June 12) by the Singapore Children's Society in an annual ceremony.

This year's edition was held at the Pan Pacific Singapore, with Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee as guest of honour.

Mrs Ang was one of four recipients of the Platinum Service Award, which is given to outstanding volunteers who have served the charity for at least 15 years.

Besides providing a listening ear to children on the helpline, Mrs Ang also trains and mentors new volunteers.

Another award winner was Mr Kurt Wee, 44, who received the Ruth Wong Award for volunteers who have given at least 10 years of service to the charity.



Mr Kurt Wee, 44, won the Ruth Wong Award given to those who have served the Children's Society for at least 10 years. He has helped to raise about $106.8 million in donations for the charity. PHOTO: SINGAPORE CHILDREN'S SOCIETY
 

Mr Wee, who is the chief executive officer of biotechnology research company Celligenics and president of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, has raised $106.8 million for the Singapore Children's Society since 2008.

As chairman of the charity's Appeals Standing Committee, he managed to raise the funds by getting both companies and individuals to donate.

Mr Wee admits to getting "extremely nervous" when fund-raising yields are low because of the importance of the children's needs.

Last year, the society reached out to more than 65,500 beneficiaries through its 11 service centres.

He said donation amounts have inched lower since 2016 but is "cautiously optimistic" that there will be a turnaround this year.

Mr Koh Choon Hui, chairman of the Singapore Children's Society, said at the event: "It is necessary to acknowledge that inequality and poverty exists in our society... but talking about it is not enough, we need to take concrete steps to address this problem."