Voices That Care

Say Hello to ... Sanny

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 ….. Sanny Ang, a music teacher who believes that the Care2Run Junior Leaders Programme is the perfect platform for differently-abled youths to learn and grow.

SANNY has been an educator for over 20 years. However, although she’s worked with younger differently-abled children, the music teacher admits that before joining Care2Run, she wasn’t aware of the challenges youths with developmental differences face.

“It’s been a real eye-opener for me. What these youths need is a space for them to interact with other people their age,” she tells us. “Many of them lack confidence. So a platform like the Junior Leaders Programme (JLP) can really help them.”  

Sanny is confident too that with the right exposure and guidance these youths have a better shot at being happy and independent. But we’ll let her tell you all about that in her own words …

Hi there, Sanny. Could you share with us how you heard about the Junior Leaders Programme (JLP), and what made you want to get involved?
Hello! My friend Stephanie posted about it in a WhatsApp group we have. I’ve known Stephanie for a long while – we were in a computer college together many years ago – and she sort of knew that I’d be interested because I’d volunteered for initiatives like this before. She was right. Also, when I saw that the activities were being held at Taman Aman Park, I immediately said “yes”, because it’s just down the road from where I live in SS1.

The main reason I wanted to sign up though, is that I interact with differently-abled kids daily at the kindergarten I work at. The children aren’t really students at the kindergarten. However, the centre they attend uses part of the kindergarten, and the children there join our students for activities like music and gym. For me, it was teaching these kids that made me feel like I should learn how to engage with them better.

As a music teacher, do you approach your lessons differently depending on whether a student is differently-abled or not?
Not really. I approach all the lessons in the same way usually because I teach music and movement, and all kids, whether they’re differently-abled or not, enjoy that. Having said that, sometimes you do have to engage and coax certain children differently to get them to participate and respond.

What has your experience with Care2Run been like?
It’s been great and I’ve seen how the situation with differently-abled youths and adults is not the same as children with differences. With children, especially younger children, you can see natural acceptance. There are no prejudices or anything like that, and you can normally see everyone getting along. This is not the case with youths or adults. I find that differently-abled youths and adults tend to withdraw because it’s hard to find people their age who can relate and interact with them. Because of this issue, many of them lack confidence. However, I think positive interaction with youths their age or older people can change their outlooks and improve their confidence.

Your mentee Nanthini showed tremendous growth over the course of the JLP. Could you share with us what working with her was like?
Nanthini was very reserved and shy with Surita and me when she first joined the programme. But as the weeks went on, you could see the change in her demeanour. She’d smile more and try and communicate with people, even those she didn’t know. The JLP was only 10 weeks, so it’s possible that she could improve even more if the programme was longer.

What would you say is the most important thing you’ve learnt in your role as a volunteer mentor?
I’ve learnt that differently-abled youths and adults really need our help. Most of the programmes you find are for children, but it’s youths and adults we should focus on more for them to have a chance at a better future. I feel parents need to realise how important it is to get their kids to socialise and interact with other people their age. We all need a place to belong. And differently-abled children, youths and adults are no different.

What are your aspirations for Care2Run?
More volunteers and staff. Prem is a superman, but Care2Run can only grow if we have more people who’re as dedicated and committed. In terms of the activities, because I teach music, I tend to look for variety in the songs and actions. I understand that routines and structure are very important to kids with differences but perhaps we could find a way to introduce more variety and music into the activities. I mean the kids love (Pharrell Williams’) Happy. But they might enjoy other songs just as much.

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