Voices That Care
Say Hello to ... Suganiya
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 ….. Suganiya Arumogam, a volunteer mentor who tells us that she feels that she’s benefitted so much as a result of her involvement with Care2Run.
BEFORE I got involved with Care2Run, I thought that I wanted to volunteer with an organisation because I felt I could help. But to be honest, even after so long here, I don’t think I’ve helped the kids much as a volunteer,” says Care2Run volunteer mentor Suganiya. “I think they are the ones who’ve helped me.”
Suganiya, who hails from Segamat, Johor and is a talent acquisition executive by profession, doesn’t laugh when she reveals this to us. In fact, she’s very serious when she tells us that as much as she’s seen her mentees like Naavalan and Amirul grow, it’s she herself who’s reaped the most rewards from Care2Run.
“I’m not really a person who can socialise very well but I’ve improved so much since coming here,” she says. “Interacting with kids with differences is not easy. You need a lot of patience and motivation, and that’s why I keep coming back to Care2Run – I need to become better.”
In a world where people are quick to take credit and toot their own horns, Suganiya’s candour is a breath of fresh air. And to be sure, this is the reason her mentees as well as Suganiya’s fellow volunteers would tell very different stories about her, and highlight how her dedication, selflessness and generosity have contributed so much to Care2Run, since she first got involved way back in 2017.
For now, however, we’ll let Suganiya tell you more about her experiences here.
Hi Suganiya. Can you tell us how you first got involved with Care2Run?
My first programme with Care2Run was the KL Bar Run in 2018. I got to know about Care2Run from Prem sometime in 2017. Prem had posted something on LinkedIn about Care2Run, and I called him to ask if I could join, and how I could help. I didn’t know Prem before I saw that post and we were not connected on LinkedIn. But one of my connections there had liked his post and I saw it. At the time, I’d just come to KL from Segamat after my studies, and I was looking for somewhere to volunteer with. After that, I was involved with the Junior Leaders Programme (JLP) and recently, this year’s KL Bar Run.
Are you a competitive runner like some of the other volunteers?
No, I’m not a runner. In fact, I wasn’t active or involved in sports before Care2Run. When I first joined Care2Run and spoke to some of the mentors and coaches, I found that a lot of them were very active. Some of them are hikers, some of them are runners … I am not an active person by nature, but by being involved here, I have become active.
Can you tell us a little about the young people you’ve worked with?
I’ve worked with Naavalan, Amirul, Yen Yen, and I ran with Charan at the recent KL Bar Run. I think they’re all really smart. But personally, I think these kids’ parents are doing a great job by getting them involved with Care2Run because to me, I think the programmes help boost children’s self-esteem. I’ve talked to Naavalan’s parents, Yen Yen’s mum, Shawn’s mum … and all of them say that when given a choice of programmes to join, their kids immediately choose Care2Run. I think it’s because they feel included here.
It may not be true for every single participant, but we feel that many of our young people keep wanting to come back because they love the positive environment and camaraderie.
I agree. Words – which we think are small words – like “Well done”, “Good job”, “You’re doing great” … they help so much. Like during a run, when a kid feels tired or down and you tell them they’re doing great, their self-esteem is immediately boosted. I think that’s why they keep coming. They feel like they can do it.
How do you personally feel Care2Run helps differently-abled young people grow?
I think it helps them boost their self esteem and confidence. But I think parents really need to be involved first. They need the exposure, to see how the programmes work and how it benefits the children. The programmes include all the kids, and give them opportunities to lead activities, and parents need to see that.
When I see the kids growing and progressing, it makes me want to keep volunteering. Naavalan, for example, is one of the many kids who have grown in confidence since first getting involved. His intelligence is remarkable. Once, in one activity during the JLP, we were given a word puzzle and everyone, including all the adults in the group, were wondering what the answer could be. But Navaalan effortlessly gave us the exact answer, which was “ginger”. It’s things like this that show me that the programmes work.