Golfing with Special Needs Raised Over $180,000 for Volunteerism
Together with those with special needs, over 130 esteemed guests gathered at the YMCA 20th Charity Golf 2020, and raised over $180,000 in support of volunteerism in Singapore. The event was graced by Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Speaker of Parliament and raised funds and awareness for the YMCA-Lim Kim San Volunteers Programme. The programme recruits volunteers and enhances their capabilities to carry out social service with excellence.
For the first time, special needs staff and clients of the YMCA of Singapore were involved on the green through a golfing lesson and experiencing putting golf balls. They also joined the dinner cocktail and interacted with guests after the tournament. This was in support of the Sport Cares spirit, in efforts to bridge special needs communities through sports in Singapore.
It made for an unforgettable experience for Esswharan S/O Kulasergaran. In the past, Esswharan spent his days at home or at Mountbatten Vocational School. When he found employment at YMCA @ One Orchard in 2018, independent living became a reality. Even then, the staff with special needs never dreamed that he would one day be swinging golf clubs on the field alongside corporate guests and partners.
“I was so excited for YMCA Charity Golf. I have never tried golf before. I had a very fun time with my friends trying new things!” said Esswharan.
Esswharan, who enjoys the outdoors and staying active, was also part of a YMCA collaboration with Spartan Race last year. With his peers with special needs, they conquered the world-renowned obstacle course, inspiring themselves and others to stay determined and persevere against life’s challenges. To further empower and integrate clients with special needs through building their confidence, YMCA of Singapore is currently exploring more inclusive sports initiatives, such as through their new Y Dance Outreach and Y Nature Walk programmes that they plan to launch this year.
From left: Shaun, Esswharan and Zanariyah, at the special needs golfing lesson
Having worked at YMCA @ One Orchard for close to two years, 24-year-old Esswharan now serves as a mentor in the YMCA Hospitality Training Programme for persons with special needs. Employment with the YMCA of Singapore has proved to be empowering, building his confidence, communication skills and resilience. He is but one of the many individuals with special needs benefiting from YMCA programmes.
The reason for their involvement at the event was three-fold. Firstly, it was part of the YMCA’s efforts to expose their clients with special needs to diverse sports. Secondly, it advocated for inclusivity of persons with special needs at events and activities. Thirdly, it allowed guests to interact with them and learn more about these clients.
Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Speaker of Parliament, meeting the clients with special needs
The event raised funds to build volunteer capacity and capability through the YMCA-Lim Kim San Volunteers Programme. It is a programme that promotes volunteerism amongst Singaporeans, recruiting and training them to serve the community more effectively. In 2019, YMCA mobilised some 6,000 volunteers who dedicated some 90,000 volunteering hours to touch the lives of over 23,000 clients. These clients included persons with special needs, seniors, youth-at-risk and families in need.
Hole-in-One sponsors included Cycle & Carriage, Philipstein, PikoHana and Mr Albert Ching & Mr Ee Kuo-Ren
Launched in 2007, the YMCA-Lim Kim San Volunteers Programme enables the YMCA of Singapore to harness the valuable resource of volunteers to better serve and reach out to more clients. It encourages volunteerism among individuals and corporations, enhances volunteers’ capabilities and equips them with skills and knowledge on how to reach out and create a positive impact in our community.
From left: Mr Albert Ching, President of YMCA of Singapore, Team from Heeton Holdings, Winners of the YMCA-Lim Kim San Corporate Challenge, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Speaker of Parliament
“We all have a part in building a warmer, kinder Singapore. Our volunteers often express that their experiences supporting clients also bring about meaningful friendships and unforgettable life lessons. Sustaining the YMCA-Lim Kim San Volunteers Programme will equip our volunteers to impact more people effectively,” said Steve Loh, General Secretary & CEO, YMCA of Singapore.
The YMCA of Singapore would like to extend its sincerest thanks to all sponsors, donors, corporates, individuals, and staff who have made this event possible!