Voices That Care
Say Hello to ... Krish
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 ….. Krishanthini Dewi, a lawyer and volunteer mentor who has contributed selflessly to Care2Run since joining us over a year ago.
FROM Mondays to Fridays, between 9am and 5pm, Krish is the kind of superhero who dresses in black and white and argues cases before judges. On weekends over the last year though, she’s served as a different kind of hero: a volunteer mentor to Care2Run’s young people.
At Care2Run, mentors play a key role in unlocking the potential of differently-abled mentees. And Krish’s commitment to achieving this end was clear from the get-go. She tells us that the reason for this is that once she connected with the young people here, there was no looking back.
Hello there, Krish. You’ve been volunteering with us for more than a year now. Can you tell us how you first got involved with Care2Run?
Hi! Actually, I had never come across Care2Run until I saw everyone at the KL Bar Run in January 2018. I had always wanted to volunteer with a non-profit organisation, but I could never find the right fit.
I volunteered with Kechara Soup Kitchen for a while, but I was still looking for something else. That’s when I saw Care2Run. It was really the perfect match because by I love sports, and Care2Run is about helping kids through sports. Honestly, it was also the cuteness of the kids that day (at KL Bar Run 2018) that made me want to get involved. I love kids, and so it was really perfect.
Was the KL Bar Run in 2018 your first run, or are you a competitive runner?
No, I’d competed in other runs before that. Actually, I’ve been running since I was in school. You could say my love for running started with running away from parents and running away teachers [laughs]. Seriously though, I’m quite active. I hike and run during the weekends and I regularly do kickboxing and play futsal during the week.
What have your experiences been like since joining us?
In the beginning, when you start working with the kids, they can be shy. And sometimes there is this barrier between mentee and mentor. But when you’re able to penetrate that block and reach them and hold their hands and become friends with them … that’s such a great feeling. It’s then that you know you’ve made an impact. It may be just a small impact but that pushes you to want to show up each week for the activities. And if you can’t make it, you worry about how they’ll cope that day without you. You feel a sense of responsibility.
Is it difficult having to switch approaches when interacting with different young people?
I wouldn’t say it’s difficult but I will say that every kid is different. Some are more open, and some are reserved. With the ones who are more reserved, I observe their interactions and movements first to try and understand how I need to interact with them because I don’t want to do the wrong thing.
Were you familiar with differently-abled young people prior to joining Care2Run?
No. And to be honest, I was never taught how to interact with kids who have differences. In school, all you see is kids with differences being isolated from the rest of the school. No one teaches you to be inclusive. Or how you can help someone with differences. You don’t learn about how to recognise or treat someone with differences in Pendidikan Moral, for example. They teach you a lot of good values, but there isn’t a lot of focus on differences. I only learnt about the various differences when I joined Care2Run. Before Care2Run, I had so many questions (about kids with differences) and when I joined, I had all my questions answered.
You were Navaalan’s mentor during the inaugural Junior Leaders Programme (JLP) last year. What was working with him like?
I loved working with Navaalan during the JLP. He was very attentive and he’d always have an answer to questions. But every week can be different for a mentor, and you need to be aware of that. At the recent KL Bar Run, for example, Navaalan didn’t want to run with me. He said we’d lose if I ran with him because I was slow, so I challenged him to run faster than me. And it worked because he ran really fast and kept running. I think what you need as a mentor is patience. If you’re patient, it pays off. I’ve also worked with Seng Joon and Amirul.
Personally, what does Care2Run mean to you?
Personally, Care2Run has taught me to not pass judgement on people. The person you think can’t do a certain thing is the same person who will surprise you. Being involved here has also shown me that sports really does help children with differences. For some children, traditional education is counter-productive, but sports can open up new avenues. It teaches them teamwork, leadership skills and discipline.
Would you say that since joining Care2Run, your ideas of what it means to be differently-abled have changed significantly?
Definitely. The main thing that has changed for me is that I can see now that with the right teaching and right support system, these kids have a great future in front of them.