Walking the talk for a good cause

Nine of the 15 organisers of 50cube. Mr Koh (second from right) and Ms Oh (fourth from right) are pictured with (from left) Mr Jeremy Tan, Mr K. Premanathan Pillai, Ms Lynne Soon, Mr Roger Pho, Ms Idriaty Sabari, Ms Katrina Adela and Mr George Cherukara J
Nine of the 15 organisers of 50cube. Mr Koh (second from right) and Ms Oh (fourth from right) are pictured with (from left) Mr Jeremy Tan, Mr K. Premanathan Pillai, Ms Lynne Soon, Mr Roger Pho, Ms Idriaty Sabari, Ms Katrina Adela and Mr George Cherukara Joggy. The group hopes to raise $50,000 in total for the Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home and the Alzheimer's Disease Association. PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Social initiative 50cube plans 50km trek to raise money for the less fortunate

A group of young adults want to walk the talk when it comes to giving back to society.

The young professionals behind the 50cube social initiative plan to lead 500 people to trek 50km across Singapore to raise money for the less fortunate on Nov 19.

They are hoping to raise $50,000 in total for the Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home and the Alzheimer's Disease Association this year, after organising a similar hike last year, which attracted 55 participants and raised $20,000 for the two organisations.

Said 50cube founder Elissa Oh, an English language teacher at East View Secondary School: "50cube was founded last year on National Day, when we decided that we wanted to do something for the people that built Singapore on their backs. They are our pioneer generation."

A diverse group of 15 young professionals, from school teachers to a data analyst and a former convict, is behind the charity initiative.

"Some of us are workmates, some of us met at a friend's birthday and we just started talking. We all just happened to meet," said Ms Oh, 28.

"For most of us, organising this social initiative was our first time volunteering, but for some reason the synergy works."

One of the group's members, Mr Leonard Koh, 27, spent three months applying for various volunteering opportunities after his release from jail last year for a drug offence. He said: "When I came out of incarceration for doing drugs, I wanted to give back to society and do something meaningful.

"But maybe because I had to declare my past records, the homes and hospitals I applied to volunteer at never got back to me."

Mr Koh, an interior designer, said: "Eventually a friend told me about this initiative. I started out helping with the logistics and did not look back since."

The group visits the Lee Ah Mooi Home about once a month. "The smiles we see on the elderly when we visit them just brings us joy," said Mr Koh.

This year, the team will be joined by 200 student volunteers pooled together by Youth Corps Singapore as they cover over 28 heritage sites from the Fullerton Building and the Merdeka Bridge in Kallang to eight national parks across Singapore, including HortPark and Fort Canning Park.

The team said participants across all ages have signed up for the trek, which costs $60 and will take 10 to 14 hours. Almost half of the 236 registrants so far are above 40.

The trek will kick off at 6am on Nov 19 at Toa Payoh New Town Park. It will end at Marina Barrage, where trekkers will be greeted by a family carnival, which will run from 10am to 9pm.

"There will be a festival, with a bouncy castle, food and games waiting," said Ms Oh.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2016, with the headline 'Walking the talk for a good cause'. Print Edition | Subscribe