YMCA’s new Project Empowerment enables Persons with Intellectual Disabilities to give back
The Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN)-supported initiative was launched on Saturday (3 March 2018), and saw APSN Centre for Adults trainees work with volunteers to bake and distribute food to some of the elderly living in rental flats, as part of YMCA of Singapore’s Project Empowerment Y Food of Love programme.
APSN trainees and YMCA volunteers working together to bake muffins. (Photo: Han Wei Chou)
Fifteen APSN Centre for Adults (CFA) trainees worked alongside 29 volunteers from the YMCA to bake more than 180 muffins at the centre’s bakery on Saturday, as part of the YMCA’s Project Empowerment Y Food of Love programme.
The trainees and volunteers then distributed the muffins, along with care packages containing key household items, to about 80 elderly people living in rental flats near the Thye Hwa Kwan Seniors Activity Centre at MacPherson.
An APSN trainee distributes muffins and care packages to the elderly. (Photo: Han Wei Chou)
This is the first time APSN CFA and the YMCA have partnered up to enable the trainees, who are persons with intellectual disabilities, to give back, as part of the YMCA’s Project Empowerment initiative.
APSN CFA supports this initiative because it wants to help the trainees become aware that they are not merely beneficiaries, and that they too can contribute to society.
APSN CFA instructor Siti Hajar Binte Ali believes that the programme will benefit the trainees greatly.
“I find that it (Project Empowerment Y Food of Love) is very good, though the operational processes can be tightened up a bit. The trainees are very happy!” said Siti.
She added that most of the volunteers, who hailed from the Singapore Management University’s (SMU) Uni-Y service club, worked well with her trainees, pointing out that one of the programme’s greatest strengths is that it gives her trainees a chance to interact with more people.
A YMCA volunteer guiding an APSN CFA trainee through the process of packaging the muffins. (Photo: Han Wei Chou)
“This program has given our trainees an opportunity to not just interact with the people who are outside their circle of friends, but at the same time do something that is meaningful for the community, the elderly in particular,” said Siti.
An APSN CFA trainee Siti Fatimah said she enjoyed visiting the elderly and wants to continue to help others. (Photo: Han Wei Chou)
APSN CFA trainee Siti Fatimah was particularly glad to give out the muffins and care packages to the elderly. She said that she enjoyed the experience of visiting the elderly, and that she wants “to help other people”.
When asked about his thoughts on the programme, YMCA volunteer Morris Ngiam said that working with the trainees has helped him understand that people should not feel “too stressed out” by life, but should instead appreciate “the smaller things”.
“As long as we have one another, I think that is good enough,” said Ngiam during the post-programme sharing session.
YMCA volunteer Morris Ngiam from SMU’s Uni-Y service club turned baker for a day for Project Empowerment Y Food of Love. (Photo: Han Wei Chou)
Project Empowerment Y Food of Love will run till November this year. Under the Project Empowerment initiative, there are also plans for APSN CFA trainees to work with YMCA volunteers to clean the homes of the elderly living in rental flats, as part of the Project Empowerment Y Spring Clean programme.
YMCA of Singapore is a volunteer-based Christian organisation which seeks to impact the lives of members of our community through the development of body, mind and spirit. We have mobilised more than 7,800 volunteers to help 23,369 beneficiaries across Asia in 2017.
But with your help, we can do even more for the community! Donate or become a volunteer today! Sign up on Y Hub today!
YMCA volunteers and APSN CFA trainees baked more than 180 muffins as part of Project Empowerment Y Food of Love. (Photo: Han Wei Chou)
YMCA volunteers and APSN CFA trainees were all smiles at the end of the first session of Project Empowerment Y Food of Love. (Photo: Han Wei Chou)
Contributed by Han Wei Chou