YMCA Launches $3 Million YMCA Community Services Fund

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The YMCA Community Services Fund (CSF) was officially launched at the YMCA Giving Gala 2019 on 2 December 2019. It hopes to raise $3 million for YMCA’s community service programmes. YMCA’s charitable outreach includes over 13 community service programmes, a youth-at-risk programme known as Project Bridge and its financial assistance and capability for employment scheme known as FACES. Funds for the CSF will be secured through 200 charter donors who donate $10,000 or more – 200 charter donors were chosen to mark the Bicentennial of modern Singapore. The CSF will serve to strengthen persons with special needs, out-of-school youth, youth-at-risk, and needy families.

Chairman of Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd and YMCA Advisory Council, Mr Lim Boon Heng graced the event as the Guest-of-Honour. Local musician and producer Mr Clement Chow also lent his voice to the cause as the emcee for over 200 distinguished guests.

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Zanariyah Binte Mohamed Abzul was among the special needs staff attending and being featured at the YMCA Giving Gala 2019. In efforts to highlight contributions of special needs staff and encourage inclusive hiring practices, staff with special needs volunteered in roles such as ushering, serving and performing, before joining guests in an evening of dinner and entertainment

Three years ago, Zanariyah struggled to find a job because of her mild intellectual disability. Today, she carries herself with confidence and carries out a myriad of duties as a housekeeper at YMCA @ One Orchard, YMCA’s hospitality social enterprise. She also gets the opportunity to participate in arts, crafts, performances and volunteer work, through which she develops her independence, communication and social skills. Zanariyah is one of the many clients who benefitted from YMCA’s programmes.

“When Zanariyah first joined us, she was very timid and shy and would sometimes even throw tantrums. We coached her along, groomed her and watched her transform into a completely different person. She is good at her housekeeping duties and is a joy to work with. She is bubbly and brings about a lot of fun and laughter,” said Rajakumari, Executive Housekeeper, YMCA of Singapore.

“I like to work at YMCA. I like to make the guests happy! I made good friends. I do dancing, arts and crafts and volunteer work,” said Zanariyah. She adds that she once met President Halimah Yacob while doing volunteer work. “I was so happy! I talked to her, gave her a bag with artwork I made, and she said ‘thank you’ to me!” said Zanariyah.  

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The event also included a silent auction featuring art pieces by 19-year-old artist with autism Vince Tan Quan Rong. He was among the 10 special needs clients who challenged Mt Fuji in August in the first-ever YMCA Inclusive Climb. It served to strengthen confidence, self-esteem and resilience, and inspire others to reach beyond themselves. YMCA Giving Gala 2019 also featured performances from local music group Peranakan Sayang and the YMCA Special Talents, Arts and Recreation Society (Y STARS), a group of performers with special needs.

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“Working with so many of these wonderful individuals has reinforced to me that they are beyond persons with special needs, but persons with special abilities. They bring about an element of true inclusivity to an organisation. Their display of dedication and perseverance has been inspirational to myself and many staff at the YMCA,” said Steve Loh, General Secretary & CEO, YMCA of Singapore.

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