Voices That Care
Say Hello to ... V
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 ….. V Sio Yeow Hui, a volunteer mentor who formed a firm bond with her mentee, Brian.
ANYONE who’s observed volunteer mentor V’s interactions with her mentee, Brian, during the recent Junior Leaders Programme, may have had the impression that the two have known each other for a long time. The reality, however, is that V only enlisted as a mentor just before the programme began. So the bond between mentor and mentee was forged in just 10 weeks!
“In the beginning, Brian didn’t know my name, and I felt he didn’t trust me, which is expected since he didn’t really know me. But over time, he began to open up to the point that on the last day, after the graduation ceremony, he hugged me and called me by my name. For me, that was very fulfilling,” V, a full-time baker and cake artist says, adding that it was amazing to have seen how much her mentee grew over the course of the JLP.
She adds: “I had no experience with kids with Down Syndrome before I joined Care2Run, so I feel I really learned a lot from working with Brian. Mentors are supposed to help mentees grow, but I feel my mentee is the one who helped me grow.”
Here’s V to tell you the rest …
Hey there, V. Can you share with us what prompted you to get involved in the JLP as a mentor?
Hello! Actually, at first, I didn’t think much about it. Peter and I had always accompanied Ryan for the programmes he was enrolled in, so this was just another programme. However, as soon as I learnt about the JLP, I thought that maybe, I could learn to understand differently-abled children better if I became a mentor.
That’s awesome! Could you share with us what your experience was like?
To be honest, there were so many inspiring and touching moments. But to me, just seeing my mentee Brian’s smiling face during the sessions, gave me so much joy. I’d not had any experience with young persons with Down Syndrome prior to this, so I feel I’ve learnt a lot through the programme, and especially from Brian. Plus, I’ve definitely learnt to focus better. You know, it’s not easy to maintain 100% focus on your mentee and the activities for a whole session. So, in the beginning, I used to feel really tired after we were done. But over time, my focus definitely improved.
Did you have any prior volunteer experience before becoming a JLP mentor?
I had some volunteer experience, but this was mainly from helping out at one-off events. The JLP is the first time I was involved for a long period of time. I was very nervous in the beginning because I didn’t know what to expect. Helping out at one-off events is very different from being committed for a long duration. Furthermore, I had had no experience with kids with Down Syndrome. So during the Volunteer Training Programme, I actually felt quite scared because I was very concerned that I’d do something wrong.
You didn’t seem nervous though during the actual sessions. In fact, the way you and Brian bonded seemed very natural.
Once the programme started properly, I decided to focus on Brian 100%, and my nervousness slowly disappeared. Also, Brian was really easy to work with, even though he wasn’t that open in the beginning, and I could feel that he wasn’t sure about me.
Having gone through the JLP, are you now convinced of the power of sports to effect positive change in the lives of differently-abled young persons?
I do feel sports can really help with certain kids. However, I am also not sure we can say that it works for every single child. Some kids may respond better to other forms of teaching. Everyone is different. Having said that, you can see the benefits sports has had on the young people who participated in the JLP.
What do you especially like about the programme?
For me, what was really nice to see was the commitment from all those involved. Not everyone can contribute the same amount of time or resources, but everyone involved wants to give their best. You can see that the coaches, parents and volunteers really believe in the programme and want it to succeed. Another thing I like is the platform the JLP provides for differently-abled young persons to interact with each other. Some of these kids don’t interact much with anyone outside their families, so it’s good to have a platform like this.
What are your aspirations for Care2Run, V?
I feel we really need to spread the word about the programmes, and I think one way to do it would be to initiate different Care2Run chapters in different areas. I understand that finding enough staff and facilitators may be a problem but I believe there is a need for more programmes in more areas