Voices That Care
Say Hello to ... Anne
Every single person in Care2Run’s ecosystem is essential, and we’ve grown so much in three years thanks to all the different individuals who’ve played a part in getting us to where we are.
It is for this reason that we aim to hand this section over to our people – our participants, coaches, volunteers, parents, friends and loved ones – so they can tell you what Care2Run means to them.
This week we say hello to ….. Anne Wang, a volunteer mentor who believes that education should be always be inclusive.
ANNE didn’t know a single person at Care2Run when she signed up to be a volunteer mentor. However, that didn’t stop the young finance executive from showing up alone one Sunday at the end of April this year to commit her time to transform the lives of differently-abled youths.
“You could say I’m a lone ranger when it comes to things like this,” Anne laughs.
“It’s sometimes not easy to talk to people about volunteering or programmes like this. Even if they’re your friends, they might not share the same interest or think the same way, so that’s why I do certain things alone. Yes, I didn’t know anyone at Care2Run but when I read about the programmes, especially the Junior Leaders Programme (JLP), I felt it was an opportunity for me to learn and also to help kids grow.”
And learn she most certainly has. But we’ll let Anne tell you about that …
Hey there, Anne. You’ve been a volunteer mentor for about three months now. Can you share with us how you got to know about Care2Run?
Hello there. It was through Facebook. I’d actually been looking out for volunteer opportunities, and coincidentally, a post about the Junior Leaders Programme (JLP) appeared on my newsfeed. When I read the post, and the other material on Care2Run’s Facebook page, I was intrigued by the idea of sports being used to improve the lives of differently-abled persons. The programmes – especially the JLP – seemed very inclusive and, inclusiveness is something I am passionate about.
Why do you feel so strongly about inclusiveness?
When I still at university, I volunteered with a home for differently-abled persons. We used to go house-to-house collecting recyclable material which would then be sold by the home to help fund activities and even job training. Interacting with differently-abled persons then got me thinking about how our society is not inclusive. I mean, you can see it in our public transport and facilities – we don’t think enough about how to accommodate people with differences and challenges.
You didn’t know anyone at Care2Run when you signed up as a volunteer. How come you didn’t invite a friend to come along with you?
You could say I’m a lone ranger when it comes to things like this. It’s sometimes not easy to talk to people about volunteering or programmes like this. Even if they’re your friends, they might not share the same interest or think the same way, so that’s why I do certain things alone. Yes, I didn’t know anyone at Care2Run but I felt it was an opportunity for me to learn and also to help kids grow, that’s why I decided to sign up.
You’d already worked with differently-abled persons previously. Did that make the process of becoming a Care2Run volunteer mentor easier?
In the beginning, it was difficult, actually. I wasn’t sure how to connect with the kids and I was really anxious. But then I learnt from the facilitators about using encouraging words like “good job!” and “well done!” and I saw how powerful those words were in getting participants to respond. It’s a bit funny, but it also made me also realise how in my own life, outside of Care2Run, I didn’t often use positive encouragement. It made me think about how I should change my outlook and use different words – encouraging words – if I want to connect with people in a positive manner.
What about the JLP do you love the most?
I love the idea that we’re all working to empower these young persons and bring out the best in them. I feel that often with differently-abled persons, what they need is to be empowered with the right skills, and presented with the right opportunities to thrive. It’s not about giving money or whatever. It’s about giving them the tools for them to be happy and independent. I also believe that every individual is unique – we all have our own strengths and challenges. That’s the reason I don’t think it’s possible to have one measurement or test for everyone across the board. I believe education must be inclusive. And that is what the JLP is about.
Do you feel that Malaysia still has a long way to go in terms of making education inclusive?
I believe so. In Malaysia, we place so much emphasis on academic excellence, but we don’t realise that people are not all the same. I understand that the Education Ministry and the authorities have their own problems and limitations and it’s not easy to adapt to everyone. Also, it will take time to develop an inclusive policy. But I think we definitely have to look into developing inclusive education. You can’t have one system for everyone. It doesn’t work.
Can you share with us a personal story or observation about any of the young persons you’ve worked with at Care2Run?
I have seen Chu Kian improve so much over the duration of the programme. He was always energetic. But what is very obvious now is how he has become so observant and quick to notice when people need help. It’s amazing to see that transformation.
What are your aspirations for Care2Run?
I sincerely hope that the programmes can be better known and reach more people. I do feel the programmes are really beneficial for everyone because not only do they help differently-abled persons, they also help mentors grow. For me, the learning at Care2Run is two ways because I feel I’ve learnt as much as the participants.