Voices That Care
Say Hello to ... CK
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 ….. CK Gan, a volunteer mentor who joined the Junior Leaders Programme because of her son, but who says she’s also benefitted tremendously.
CK GAN and her husband KK Ng weren’t sure what to expect when they first enrolled their son, 26-year-old Ian, in Care2Run Junior Leaders Programme. In fact, CK admits that even as the programme progressed, she doubted whether her son would willingly participate in the activities.
She elaborates, “During the JLP, there were many times, like when participants had to design games and dance routines, that I worried if Ian would want to participate. At home, with us, he’d always been very reluctant to do anything new. And he rarely expressed what he was feeling.
“But he did participate in the activities. And not just that, he was vocal and contributed ideas too. Honestly, I could not have anticipated this change in him.”
CK acknowledges that there’s a long way still to go for Ian, who’s now a Care2Run Junior Coach. However, what the JLP has certainly done is give her hope.
Hello, CK. Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Could you share with us how you learnt about the Junior Leaders Programme?
Hi, there. Actually, it was by chance. I met Prem and Mee Leng when I attended the Son-Rise Program (a home-based programme for children and adults with autism) late last year in Vietnam, and they told me about Care2Run. When I got back to Kuala Lumpur, I met up with Prem again, and he invited our family to attend a familiarisation session. I still wasn’t sure what the JLP was about, but KK and I felt there was no harm checking it out for our son, Ian.
Was Ian eager to join the programme?
Oh, Ian was very against it. He doesn’t like doing anything new, so Prem asked him just to come and help take pictures. He agreed but on that day we attended, he got bored taking photos. So Prem then asked Ian if he’d like to join in on the activities and he did. That’s how it started. It wasn’t easy at first, though, because we still had to do a lot of convincing and persuading.
Do you feel Ian has grown since joining the JLP?
Definitely. Ian’s become more sociable thanks to the programme. He’s also become more vocal. He used to be really quiet, but that’s not the case anymore. He talks a lot, even to people he’s not familiar with. The other day, during one of the sessions, I was quite taken aback to see him asking a volunteer to help roll up the play mats and chatting with other volunteers. Later, at the same session, he ran after a young participant and brought him back to the activity circle, telling the boy, “You stand there and I’ll stand here.” That was wonderful to see.
That’s amazing. Do you think Ian’s demeanour now might have something to do with the fact that he knows he’s no longer just a regular participant but a junior coach?
That might be it. He’s now more responsible and independent and that could be because he feels that that’s what’s expected of him now that he’s a coach. To be honest, I never expected to see this kind of thing happen.
Did you and KK enjoy the programme?
Yes, we did. I think we both benefitted tremendously. We learnt to view differently-abled persons differently, and also look at Ian differently. You know, our interactions with him had usually been at home, away from school and activities, so we never really knew what he was like outside the house. The JLP allowed us to see a different side to him.
What do you especially like about Care2Run?
I’m amazed by the volunteers who devote their time every week for this cause. KK and I are volunteers because of our son, so it’s almost like we have an ulterior motive. But there are so many other volunteers, like Darshini and Ian’s mentor, Alicia, who don’t have differently-abled children but sacrifice their time and put in a lot of effort for other people’s kids. That sort of thing gives one hope in the world.
What are your aspirations for Ian and Care2Run?
For Ian, I’d love to see him realise his potential through Care2Run. Up to this point, we had to coax him and sometimes force him to do things. But that is slowly changing. As for Care2Run, I hope that the organisation can become more financially stable and establish a permanent space where activities can be conducted regularly.