Voices That Care

Say Hello to ... Jimmy

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 …..  Jimmy Aw Yang, who has continued to contribute and support Care2Run since 2015.

TO Jimmy, it was his love for running and sports that drew him to Care2Run. And even though, he says that he often didn’t feel up to the challenge when interacting with our participants, what cannot be denied is that his passion for running did rub off on many of the young people from Care2Run’s first cohort.

“Some of the kids didn’t have any interest in sports or running when they joined Care2Run. But now, when I see how far someone like Parthivan has come, I think it’s really amazing. I don’t know how much I actually helped with that. But maybe we all played a small part,” says Jimmy, who was a member of Care2Run’s pioneer team way back in 2015.

Jimmy tells us he was always more comfortable with helping the team behind the scenes, rather than being at the forefront, but adds that everyone has a role to play. Anyway, we’ll let him tell you the rest …

Hi Jimmy. Can you tell us how you came to be involved with Care2Run?

Hello. Well, I am a runner and I’ve loved running since I was in school. After school, I kept active, playing a little badminton and running a bit. Then about 10 years ago, I joined the first Standard Charted KL Marathon and after that, I became a bit more serious. The Standard Chartered run was only 10km but soon after that, I joined other 10km runs and even 21km runs. Then in 2014, a friend told me about the TMBT (The Most Beautiful Trail) Marathon and I signed up without thinking. Only after signing up did I find out that it was over 50km and there was a 15-hour cut-off time. It was around this time, that I met Prem. And he helped a lot in my preparations for the event since he’d run TMBT a couple of years before. Around that time also, a group of us used to run every Tuesday in Bukit Gasing and many of those who were part of that group were in the Care2Run pioneer team.

I don’t remember who first brought it up, but it was some time after I’d first met Prem and Mee Leng and the rest of them that someone came up with the idea of using sports and exercise to benefit young people. We had a meeting before we started – if I remember correctly, it was at Steve’s house – and the question we asked was: who should be our target market? A few members of the team at the time had had some experience working with underprivileged kids. That’s why the first cohort comprised kids from low socio-economic backgrounds and some children who were struggling with disciplinary issues in school. The idea was to use sports as a means to give these children focus.

Can you tell us about some of the challenges the pioneer team faced in the early days?

To be honest, some of the challenges we faced at the time were not really the team’s challenges, but my own personal challenges. When we started, I didn’t interact much with the kids. My personal feeling was that I didn’t possess the requisite skills to talk to them. I felt someone like Prem had the capacity to talk to them and he was really good at it. So I decided that I would support Prem’s efforts and just support and help coordinate activities when required.

Did you become more comfortable in the role of ‘mentor’ after a while?

Not really. I’m an “actions” guy and I feel that I work best when asked to execute a plan rather than being at the forefront as a mentor. I knew about sports and running, so I was more than willing to teach things like proper running technique and all that. But I didn’t feel comfortable being a mentor to the kids. I don’t have kids myself, so I have always felt a bit out of my depth in terms of interacting with the participants. But as, I said, I was always willing to help where I could.

I was involved a lot in the early days when the focus was on underprivileged kids but slowly I found myself getting busier and busier with work and other stuff and I took a step back. When I came back, the team had switched focus and taken on a bigger challenge with differently-abled kids. I remember I didn’t know what to expect the first time I went for a session at SMK Kelana Jaya. Someone said the kids were on the autistic spectrum but I hadn’t had any experience with that, so, even more, I felt that I was out of my element. Having said that, when you look at what Care2Run has achieved since then with differently-abled kids, you have to say that the decision was the right one.

How do you feel sports helps young people grow?

For me, personally, sports helped me build self-confidence and taught me many valuable lessons. Take for example badminton. Yes, I may lose many games and competitions, but when I do win, I feel a sense of accomplishment. And I don’t win all the time. To win, you have to train and lose a lot and that builds character. Sport is not about winning, it’s about so much more than that. I do believe that sports helps people, no matter who they are, to grow and mature. In terms of Care2Run, there are many times when I see what the kids, like Parthivan, from the first cohort have achieved that I think to myself that I never expected what we set out to do to turn out so well. But look at the achievements. The kids in the first cohort were kids with many challenges. And today, they’re junior mentors and they’re coaching youngsters from different background with different abilities. I was there at the JLP Graduation and to see many of those kids graduate as junior coaches was something special.

As someone who’s seen Care2Run grow from strength to strength over the years, what are your aspirations for Care2Run?

To me, as an accountant, I look at things as a numbers game and I use the 80-20 rule to gauge most things. The 80-20 rule is simple. Say you work with a hundred kids and you manage to help 20%, which is 20 kids, to achieve their goals, then you can build on that success. In business, you see how this works and how the 20% can keep giving back to the 80% and the rest of the community and help them grow. I think if Care2Run can achieve that, it would be fantastic. That 20% success rate is crucial in order to inspire people and ensure growth and I think the rule makes a lot of sense. It’s good to look at helping everyone, but we shouldn’t get caught up with that. Don’t focus on getting it 100% right. Focus on achieving 20% excellence. And then we can build. And Care2Run can grow.

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