Our Team Nila volunteers have been putting themselves out and about amidst the ongoing pandemic and they do not look to be slowing down at all as we begin the journey into the new year.
About 80 Team Nila volunteers have been helping out at SPD’s Day Activity Centre since 2019. Photo: Team Nila
Since 2019, about 80 Team Nila volunteers have been helping out at SPD’s Day Activity Centre (DAC). Other than offering respite for caregivers from their duties, the DAC runs a balanced and structured programme to help those with physical and multiple disabilities nurture their self-help and social skills. It incorporates learning and training into the activities .
According to Ms Teo Pek Wan, Director of Adult & Elderly services at SPD, adapting activities for this group tends to be more challenging due to their cognitive and physical limitations.
For those of you who are new to SPD, it is a local charity set up to help people with disabilities of all ages to maximise their potential and integrate them into mainstream society.
Through over 20 programmes that encompass early intervention, therapy, vocational training, assistive technology, day care, as well as educational, employment and social service support, they serve people with physical, sensory and learning disabilities.
A Team Nila volunteer and SPD's client making festive decorations together for Chinese New Year last year. Photo: Team Nila (this photo was taken before mask-wearing was mandatory as part of safe management measures)
Since October 2019, Team Nila volunteers have been heading down on a weekly basis to Yio Chu Kang Sport Centre to run activities for the clients of SPD’s DAC, as part of Team Nila’s strategic partnership plans to develop regular give back programmes at the ActiveSG Sport Centres. These activities included Active Farming, remote control speed boat learning, goalball, making of festive decorations and much more.
When Covid-19 hit in early 2020, these volunteers continued to engage the DAC clients meaningfully to ensure that they are kept active cognitively and physically. They worked closely with Roger Tan, a programme executive at SPD’s DAC who is also a Team Nila volunteer, to co-develop fun exercises to engage their clients and their caregivers virtually.
Roger Tan (second from left), a programme executive at SPD’s DAC, as well as a Team Nila volunteer, helping out during a SPD Christmas event. On the far right is Ethen Ong, Assistant Director, Team Nila HQ, from Sport Singapore.
Roger shared: “The journey has been smooth as the Team Nila volunteers were enthusiastic, efficient and open to trying new things in the midst of the new normal. The volunteers were also proactive in sourcing for and trying out new online platforms, and organised each members’ duties for exercises, games, and many other activities.”
He added: “The constant encouragement from the volunteers spurred on our clients and caregivers to complete their workouts between May and July 2020, which also led to their contribution of 1,363 care packs in the SG55 challenge. The help from Team Nila has made it easier for us at SPD’s DAC to develop more meaningful and engaging programmes for our clients with disabilities.”
During the festive occasions, the volunteers also put together mini Halloween and Christmas parties for clients of SPD’s DAC, spreading and immersing them in the festive mood, something they always look forward to. They even started a ground-up fundraising campaign to benefit SPD’s DAC, raising more than $31,000 and inspired the younger generation, a girls’ school, to follow their footsteps.
Leong Fai Keong (right), a Team Nila volunteer, and Uncle Henry (left), a fellow Team Nila volunteer, helping out with Active Farming. Photo: Team Nila (this photo was taken before mask-wearing was mandatory as part of safe management measures)
Leong Fai Keong, 64, a Team Nila volunteer, shared: “My volunteer journey started back at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Two years ago, I started to volunteer at befrienders activities organised by SportCares. After my first visit to THK@Chai Chee, I realised that were opportunities for me to give back to the community and make a small difference for PWDs. As I signed up with more and more befriender activities, I found myself becoming more compassionate and patient with the PWDs. Through the engagement with them, I have learnt new skills, gained confidence and self-esteem. I find great satisfaction in my weekly engagements with the clients of SPD’s DAC, especially during the physical engagement sessions with them. Besides helping with the activities at SPD’s DAC, we are also tasked to bring the SPD clients out to the hawker centre for meals.”
Team Nila volunteers also helped to develop a ground-up fundraising campaign online and distributed flyers to support SPD’s DAC in buying PPE and services in general.
Ms Teo Pek Wan added: “SPD is grateful to the dedication and commitment of the Sport Singapore volunteers. They are always ready to give their time and effort to bring joy and new experiences for our DAC clients. They have made an amazing impact on the DAC clients, who are considered to be more severe on the disability spectrum and the programme as a whole. I would like to thank the volunteers and Team Nila for supporting and enriching the lives of our DAC clients.”
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