Voices That Care

Say Hello to ... Siok Keng

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 …..  Tan Siok Keng, a volunteer mentor who made a lasting impression on youths she worked with.

IT is a reality of life that there are some people who enter our lives briefly, yet make a lasting impact. In the context of Care2Run, there is no doubt that Siok Keng is one such beautiful soul.

Despite only getting involved with Care2Run in the middle of last year, the volunteer mentor made a tremendous impression on the young persons she worked with. And the fact that almost all of those youths were as teary-eyed as Siok Keng at her last session with us in December 2018 speaks volumes.

Now settled with her family in Singapore, Siok Keng tells us that she still frequently looks back on her time with Care2Run.

“My tenure was very brief. But Care2Run made a huge difference to me, and that’s why I hope we’re able to grow and touch more people through the programmes,” she says.

Hi there, Siok Keng. Could you share with us a little about how you began your journey with Care2Run?
Hi there! Well, I had been part of the relay team for the Bursa Bull Charge for three years and I thought I’d do that again last year. However, when Bursa Malaysia announced a special para category in conjunction with the fifth anniversary of the Bursa Bull Charge, I knew that I had to be a part of that. My former colleague from Bursa, Kiran was picked to head the initiative and he later introduced me to Prem and Mee Leng. That’s how I found out about Care2Run. It was really the perfect fit because I love running and I love working with kids. Being involved with Bursa Bull Charge 2018 (BBC 2018) allowed me to do both.

Care2Run Junior Coach Cavin was your mentee during BBC 2018. What was it like working with him?
Actually, I was nervous prior to meeting him, but I was also excited. I remember asking Mee Leng a lot of questions about Cavin because I really wanted to connect with him. She told me that Cavin loves colouring and sketching, so I got a little gift ready for him hoping that it would help break the ice. When I finally met Cavin, I found him to be shy and quiet but also very cooperative. To be honest, after the first training session together, I was not sure if we were connecting, but on the day of the run, he remembered me, and called me “Coach Siok Keng”, so there was a feeling like we’d somehow made a connection.

Had you any experience working with differently-abled young persons prior to connecting with Care2Run?
Not specifically kids with learning differences, but I had volunteered with Silent Teddies, a bakery set up to help hearing impaired youths, and Hope Worldwide’s reading programme, Reading with Hope, which benefits underprivileged kids.

After BBC 2018, you returned to volunteer with us for the Allianz-Pacesetters Relay and even helped out with the training session for KL Bar Run 2019. What made you want to return?
I felt that it was important that BBC 2018 wasn’t the end of my involvement with Care2Run. Also, since I loved running, I felt that I should inspire others and not just run alone.

Was your experience at the Allianz-Pacesetters Relay different from BBC 2018?
Actually, I’d thought I was going to be working with Cavin again and I was looking forward to that. But I was matched with another group of youths – which included Parthivan and Arun – and that was a different experience, which I enjoyed as well, but in a different way. Prem had told me that the kids I was going to be working with could run but I did not anticipate how fast they’d be and that they’d be doing something like 1km in under three minutes! I’m still in touch with Parthivan and I feel very privileged to have had that experience of working with youths who were there with Care2Run from the beginning and have grown and become confident. Parthivan is a junior mentor now and that shows me how Care2Run has successfully transformed the lives of kids.

What about Care2Run impressed you the most, Siok Keng?
There were many things but besides the eagerness of the kids, it was seeing the involvement of the parents. I was really moved by the commitment I saw. I’m sure it takes a lot of dedication and sacrifice and I saw how these parents are committed to growing together with their children through Care2Run’s programmes.

Could you share with us your aspirations for Care2Run?
Before I left for Singapore I met with Prem and Mee Leng and they shared with me how they’d love to expand Care2Run’s horizons. That’s something I really hope to see become a reality because that would mean that more people can be touched by Care2Run.

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