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Charity Lunch 2019: Recognising the Value of Caregivers

CAL’s annual charity lunch was held this year on 7 December 2019. Charity Lunch 2019 was particularly special because it was a chance to share the joy of winning the Charity Governance Award and Charity Transparency Award 2019 with caregivers. For CAL, these awards highlighted that the key ingredient that makes this organisation a success is people: dedicated Board members and staff, along with selfless and committed volunteers. Read more here. At CAL’s Charity Lunch 2019, the spotlight remained on people, with the event focusing on celebrating the dedication of caregivers and the journey they have been through. With the theme of "Journeying Together", the event also called attention to caregiver volunteers for their role in supporting CAL. For example, both the English and Chinese emcees were caregivers themselves. This was a fact highlighted by Senior Minister of State (SMS) Edwin Tong, the Guest of Honour, in his speech. Additionally, he mentioned caregiver Ng Soon Kuan (below), who was present taking photographs for the event. SMS Edwin Tong also noted how CAL’s impact goes beyond the 12 weeks of the C2C programme. Many caregivers who are trained go on to volunteer and teach other caregivers, and in doing so make a difference in the lives of many others. He brought up the example of Irene Goh, one such caregiver who became a dedicated volunteer after her C2C graduation. A story about Irene was published in Shin Min Daily News on the same day (7 December). To honour such volunteers who have helped CAL multiply its impact, Charity Lunch 2019 featured a series of awards for distinguished volunteers. The award recipients include:

1. Long Service Volunteer Award: Ng Soon Kuan

Soon Kuan received the Long Service Volunteer Award for actively volunteering his services to CAL. His involvement with CAL dates back to 2012, when he was one of the early participants of the C2C programme. He is well known for being a volunteer photographer at CAL events, and he has also dedicatedly served as a trainer for the Mandarin programme.

2. Above and Beyond Volunteer Award: Wong Yun Chin

Chin received the Above and Beyond Volunteer Award, in special recognition of her generous and giving spirit. Beyond volunteering her time as a trainer, Chin also selflessly gives to others, especially to CAL’s caregivers. Remarkably, she has even led her whole family to be connected with CAL.

3. Volunteer Trainer (Mandarin) Award: Tony Kee

Tony joined C2C in 2015 at IMH. Being bilingual, he is a trainer for C2C Mandarin classes and recently upgraded himself by preparing to teach the 8-week C2C for Caregivers of persons with dementia in English. He was recognised for being very innovative and engaging in his sharing. Many of C2C participants have given feedback that it is a delight to sit in Tony’s class.

4. Volunteer Trainer (English) Award: Andrew Bei

Andrew attended C2C in 2014 and has been supporting CAL as a volunteer trainer since then. He is very earnest and devoted as a volunteer. His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is ever ready to lend a hand whenever he is asked. Andrew also advocates strongly in support of caregiver needs and is always seeking to connect CAL with community leaders in his constituency and among his contacts.

5. Exemplary Outreach Award: Alice Loo

Alice truly has a heart for caregivers, and in her unassuming and quiet way, she has been engaging with many caregivers in IMH and at various outreach events that CAL was involved in. She found her C2C class in 2014 beneficial, and believes wholeheartedly that every caregiver will also benefit from it. In her gentle yet persuasive ways, she has been very successful in encouraging caregivers to seek help by attending CAL’s programmes.

6. Support Leader Award: Kathy Lee

Kathy has been a key volunteer Support Leader, continuously journeying with C2C classes for 12 weeks and providing admin and logistic support. She also befriended caregivers and shared her own lived experiences. The Support Leader Award was presented to her in recognition of being one of CAL’s most supportive and dedicated support leaders in 2019, and touching lives through simple acts of service.

In line with the importance of volunteers, Executive Director Tim Lee shared about the many possibilities to make a difference, including by signing up as a para-counsellor or a befriender. Volunteers are also needed to help out with the many exciting events planned in the coming year.

Through the generous contributions of donors, over $300,000 was raised by CAL at the Charity Lunch. As the event was featured by Channel NewsAsia and Channel 8 on the same day, it has served as a welcome chance for the public to learn more about the needs of caregivers. Nevertheless, the funds raised are not enough to cover CAL’s operating budget for 2020, and we will continue to rely on the support of friends and donors to keep our programmes free for caregivers.

As shared in the speech by CAL Board Vice-Chair Ms Jennifer Fan, everyone can play their part to make a difference. We welcome you to journey with us in the year ahead as we continue to maintain excellent standards and stay focused on the needs of caregivers.

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