Voices That Care
Say Hello to ... Nida
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 ….. Noor Irni Hanida Ismail, better known as Nida, a volunteer mentor and full-time occupational therapist who believes that sports and physical exercise can improve the lives of differently-abled young persons.
EVEN THOUGH her Mondays to Fridays are already spent helping children with autism improve their cognitive, sensory and physical abilities, Nida was quick to sign up as a volunteer mentor when she learnt about Care2Run’s Junior Leaders Programme (JLP).
“Like Jaleha, I was also at the workshop on autism at PJ Palms in April. That’s when we met Leena and she explained to us about Care2Run,” the Kelantan-born occupational therapist tells us.
“From the time I graduated from university, I’d always worked with younger children, whether it was in kindergartens or special education centres. So when Leena said that the JLP was for older kids and youths, I was interested. I felt it was a chance to improve myself and also help the kids grow.”
Nida’s loved every minute of her time at Care2Run too, adding that she’s not only learned so much over the course of the JLP but also become friends with the young persons she’s worked with.
Here’s Nida with the rest of her story.
Hi there, Nida. You must really love your job if you wanted to volunteer with Care2Run on your day off. Is occupational therapy (OT) something you’ve always been passionate about?
Hi! Actually, I didn’t think a lot about it before I went to university. I’d heard about OT and it seemed interesting so I signed up the course. However, while I was doing my diploma, I found that I enjoyed what I was studying. That’s why after I finished the diploma, I decided to immediately pursue a degree. But now, yes, I would say that I’ve found my passion.
Is it more challenging working with children as compared to working with youths and adults?
I used to think so, but not really. One of the biggest challenges is actually not someone’s age or even whether they have Down syndrome, autism or ADHD but the fact that every person is different. Everyone has different attitudes and behaviours, so the challenge is to adapt the therapy to each person.
What has your experience working with participants like Navilan and Brian during the Junior Leaders Programme been like?
It’s been very fun working with all of them. I do feel as though I’ve learned a lot from every one of them. One of the best things for me is seeing how the participants themselves try to adapt when, for example, the rules of a game are changed. Some people don’t like it when you change the rules. But some will try and adapt and that’s interesting to see.
One thing I especially like about Care2Run is that activities are structured. They’re adaptive but also very systematic, so participants know what’s happening next and what to expect. That’s quite important because it helps guide participants.
Were there any particular games which you enjoyed?
I really liked the Design A Dance session because it made participants not only move but think as well. There are many elements in that session which are similar to what we I do at work. In OT, we focus on things like understanding instructions, improving gross and fine motor skills and social participation. Many of those things were in the Design A Dance segment.
Have you always believed in the power of sports to affect positive change in differently-abled young persons?
Yes, of course. At the centre I work at, the kids do dance and physical exercise before lessons and I think that’s important to get them focused. It also helps with social interaction. This is what Care2Run does as well. Of course, some kids refuse to participate. But it’s always important to encourage them.
What are your aspirations for Care2Run?
I think the programmes are really good but the key is to get more parents involved so that Care2Run can grow. I hope we can find a way to let more parents know how much their kids can benefit from the programmes – especially the JLP – because you can see how much the participants who just graduated have improved