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“My siblings and I enjoyed ourselves at the party! The activities were fun, and we got to interact with other people…” – Darren, Meals-On-Wheels Young Beneficiary

YWCA Fort Canning’s Peace Room was no ordinary space last December as it was decorated with balloons in the form of spaceships, planets and a galaxy of stars, all set for the Year End Party. The event brought together both young and old beneficiaries from our community service programmes as they gathered for a day of fun in an astronomical wonderland. The room buzzed with excitement as the guests snapped some photos with the astronaut mascot and eagerly waited for the event to begin.

Happy kids posing with the astronaut mascot

Contents


A Sense of Community

The event brought together a diverse group – children and elderly beneficiaries from our various community service programmes. Activities ranged from brain teasers to crafting delicious miniature cakes in a workshop conducted by Butter Studio. There was something for everyone and it was an opportunity for both the young and old beneficiaries to connect and share memories.

Children participating in a Freeze game

A volunteer from Ralph Lauren teaching the children how to pipe their cakes

A Happy Child Posing with His Finished Cake!

Learning how to pipe their cakes at the Butter Studio workshop

Our Ralph Lauren volunteers exemplified community spirit, as they actively served lunch to our guests, engaged them in the activities and created a culture where helping each other out became the norm. “My siblings and I enjoyed ourselves at the party! The activities were fun, and we got to interact with other people,” shared Darren, a young beneficiary.


Recognising Achievements and Milestones

The event was a blast, filled with laughter and games, but the showstopper was the heartwarming moment when the children were celebrated for their accomplishments throughout the year. They were given awards presented by our board member, Ms Lynette Piong, and our committee member, Mrs Jennifer Ng.

Ms Lynette Piong, our Board Member, presenting a bursary award. 

Mrs Jennifer Ng, our Committee Member, presenting an award. 

The awards were not the focal point – at least. It was recognising the children’s unique qualities and capabilities and empowering them to reach their full potential. That was the highlight of the event.


Making a Difference

The most precious gift of the day was the radiant smiles on the faces that our volunteers put on the faces of our beneficiaries. Every child left the party with a schoolbag and some presents sponsored by Ralph Lauren. “Hooray! A new school bag for Primary 1 in 2024!”, exclaimed Andrew (not his real name). The joy on the faces of the children was truly heartwarming and it was clear that they had a wonderful time.

Happy children with their new gifts!

Our Meals on Wheels Elderly Members Posing with an Astronaut Mascot

The event was a great success thanks to the efforts of our volunteers and community service programme staff who worked tirelessly to make it happen.

Ms Anne Chew, our Community Service Programmes Senior Manager, giving a token of appreciation to a Ralph Lauren representative.

A big Thank You to Ralph Lauren, Butter Studio and all our other volunteers who contributed to the success of this event. Your efforts are truly appreciated.

You can make a difference too! Contact us now to learn about volunteering opportunities and be part of our #ServingHope movement.

Meet Ms. Sim Hwee Hoon, the newly elected President of YWCA of Singapore for the new term of office for 2023/2024. With an extensive career in banking and finance, Hwee Hoon brings a wealth of corporate experience, having previously held C-suite positions at various private banks.  She currently sits on the Boards of the Singapore Labour Foundation, NTUC Income and is Independent Director for Stashaway, and a Senior Advisor at Singapore Consultancy Pte Ltd.

Hwee Hoon’s dedication to community work is a testament to her commitment to serving in YWCA.  Since joining YWCA in 2016, she has been serving on various YWCA Committees and on the Board.  Hwee Hoon often rolls up her sleeves to serve on the ground as a coach and mentor to our Empowering Mums, volunteers her time at our English Club and has also been seen serving our guests at our YWCA Fort Canning social enterprise.  Hwee Hoon truly embodies the YWCA motto of by love, serve one another” and has been empowering and uplifting the lives of others.

 


Q: Congratulations on your election as the President of the YWCA of Singapore. How do you feel being elected as the President?

A: I’m excited and humbled at the opportunity to serve the YWCA in the capacity of President. At the same time, there is also some apprehension, given the increase in responsibility and expectations. But I know I have our Lord to teach me to do His will, and let His good Spirit lead me on level ground. (Psalm 143:10)

 

Q: Now that you are the President, what are your hopes and plans for the YWCA?

A: YWCA Singapore has a long and illustrious history of serving the community in Singapore. My hope is for YWCA to continue to stay relevant and be future-oriented, but still remain steadfast to our mission and vision. As a charity, it is not just about doing good, but we must do well and be effective. We need to constantly scan the horizon for both challenges and opportunities and build capabilities to meet the needs of the future so that the work we do impacts not only the lives of our beneficiaries but creates a ripple effect that positively influences the lives of the community as a whole.

As we serve the community, my hope is also that YWCA will be an organisation that supports the growth and development of not only the staff but also the volunteers who commit their time to us.

 

Q: How did you end up at the YWCA, and what made you stay for the last 7+ years?

A: (My husband and I) came back to Singapore after spending almost 20 years in Hong Kong. I wanted to reconnect and serve the community here, so I reached out to Centre for Non-profit Leadership (CNPL) for matching to suitable non-profit organisations. Once they heard that I was in the private banking industry, they were keen to match me with organisations that needed expertise in finance or fundraising, which I wasn’t keen on! In the end, they passed me a list of organisations to review myself. YWCA caught my attention because it is about women of the Christian faith coming together to serve, and I’m passionate about women’s causes.

I’m grateful that Mavis (the President then) and Yee Ping (Executive Director) gave me the space to explore where I would like to volunteer in. They knew I didn’t want to focus on finance and allowed me to contribute to the YWCA Fort Canning and Community Services committees, even though I had no subject matter expertise in those areas! I also enjoyed the volunteering opportunities on the ground (e.g. Empowering Mums, English Club, coaching for staff). These sessions gave me the opportunity to interact with the beneficiaries and staff, to listen and understand the challenges on the ground, so that I can better help shape the strategic direction at the committee and board level.

That’s a key reason why I’ve stayed on with YWCA. At the YWCA, I was given the space to learn and grow, and it has been a meaningful journey for me. I also greatly treasure the camaraderie among the board and committee members, most of whom are women of Christian faith, committed to serving together. Over the years, I’ve seen so many incidents of unwarranted grace from God at the YWCA. He has provided and guided us time and time again through challenges.

 

Q: Can you share with us some of the causes you are most passionate about?

A: I mentioned earlier that I’m passionate about empowering women. If we can help women lift themselves to live safe, fulfilled and productive lives, they can in turn improve the lives of their children and family. I believe that those who are in a position to make a difference should step up to do so. Be the voice for those who don’t have, and support those who fall through the cracks.

Ms Sim (left), together with our English Club graduate 

 

Q: How do you hope to make a difference in the YWCA community?

A: This is not about me making a difference individually as a YWCA President. I trust that God will grant me wisdom and discernment to bring together everyone (board/committee members, staff and volunteers), to be aligned in our values to work towards a shared purpose for the YWCA. As God’s steward, it is our responsibility to ensure accountability and transparency at all levels. We need to communicate clearly the steps needed to execute our vision and mission effectively and measure our impact on the community. I hope that as a Board, we will all lead by example and embody values in our actions and decisions to create a positive environment that promotes trust, respect, collaboration, and innovation.

 

Q: Tell us a little about yourself and your family? What are your hobbies or favourite past-time?

A: My family is just me and hubby, and I treasure spending family time with my parents, nieces and nephew. I love to seek refuge and “forest bath” in our nature parks. During Covid, I have hiked the perimeters of the Singapore island twice over. My passion also includes photography, and admiring God’s incredible handiwork in nature when travelling overseas.

Ms Sim basking in nature’s glory while on her holiday 

 

Q: What is your favourite food at the YWCA Café Lodge that you will recommend for our readers to try?

A: The laksa is an all-time favourite for my family. My comfort food is fish noodle soup and I always go for their oriental breakfast set when I have a breakfast meeting. I miss their curry fish head and hope they will bring it back in the near future.

 

Q: Finally, what message do you have for the young women who are reading this article?

A: Be open to new experiences and have the courage to pursue your passions. Identify what truly excites and motivates you. When you find joy in what you do, it becomes easier to overcome challenges and see them as opportunities.

Lift and empower other women around you. Support them, celebrate their milestones and be a champion for their success. We all can be in a position to make an impact, no matter how small. The more we support one another, the larger the ripple effect.


Thank you, Ms Sim, for your inspiring words!

From Zoom sessions with our beneficiaries to the unprecedented success of the YWCA Charity Carnival, here’s a look back at our year in 2022!

Thank you very much to all of our Volunteers, Corporate Partners and Guests for making a difference to our Beneficiaries with your support!

Registration for Empowering Mums 6 is opened!  

As the COVID-19 situation in Singapore stabilizes, we are pleased to announce that the annual Empowering Mums (EM) Project is back for its sixth run after a two-year hiatus. With the support of our sponsors and content partners, EM6 Project will host ten weekly sessions from 18 November 2022 to 11 February 2023.

The project schedule is as follows:

 

2022 – 2023 Project Schedule  

Venues:
YWCA Fort Canning, 6 Fort Canning Road S179494 &  YWCA National Office, 254
Outram Road S169051
 

Date/Time 

Programme 

Content Partner 

18 Nov 2022 (Fri),
7 pm to 9.30 pm 
 

EM6 Launch: Ice-breakers, Project Briefing & EM5 Graduates Sharing (Family invited)  
YWCA, EM5 Graduates, Content and Community Partners  

26 Nov 2022 (Sat),
9 am – 1 pm 
 

Workshop 1*: Finding Your Mums’ Power  
Amplify Point  

3 Dec 2022 (Sat),
9am – 1 pm 
 

Workshop 2* Financial Literacy  
Manulife  

10 Dec 2022 (Sat),
9am – 1 pm 
 

Workshop 3*: EQ and Mindfulness  
Ennove Consultancy  

17 Dec 2022 (Sat),
9am – 1 pm 
 

Workshop 4*: Reality of a Job Hunt  
re:Quest Asia  

7 Jan 2023 (Sat),
9am – 1pm 
 

Workshop 5*: Dress for Success 
Image Mission  

14 Jan 2023 (Sat),
9am – 1pm 
 

Workshop 6*: Stay on T.O.P – Time Management, Organisation and Planning  
Barbara Crane  

28 Jan 2023 (Sat),  

9am – 1 pm  

Workshop 7*: Mobile Job Search & Win the Search Workshop 
e2i  

4 Feb 2023 (Sat),
9am – 1 pm 
 

Workshop 8*: Interview Coaching  
e2i 

11 Feb 2023 (Sat),
9am – 1pm 
 

Graduation, Makeover and Employers Meet-up  

YWCA, makeover partners, employment partners  

*Weekly support group sessions facilitated by YWCA  

Registration  

For registration, please click here to check the eligibility criteria and download the registration form.  

Special Thanks  

YWCA would like to express our deepest appreciation to our sponsors who has made this Project possible through their generosity and to our partners for joining us in supporting the Mums for the upcoming Empowering Mums programme.   

Sponsors 

          

Partners:  

                                                

 

 

YWCA’s history is rich with the many strong women who formed and contributed to the organisation’s work since its inception. We have been blessed with driven and talented women who all had one thing in common – the desire to better the lives of others. Dr Anamah Tan, who has been a member since the early 1970s, is a fine example of a trailblazer YWCA was privileged to have as a leader. She was presented the Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Award by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) earlier this year.

Now 81 years of age, Dr Anamah has been volunteering since she was in secondary school. She fondly recalls her first experience, which involved performing first aid on the villagers in Potong Pasir. It sparked a lifelong passion for volunteering and giving back to the society, even until today. She now volunteers at the Singapore Association of Women Lawyers, having stepped down as President to give the younger women a right to lead.

The vivacious Dr Anamah’s first project with the YWCA was during the late Mrs Julie Tan’s leadership of the YWCA.

“Julie asked if I wanted to help in the early childhood programme we were going to start,” Dr Anamah said, “We were pioneers back then. We were the very first preschool in Singapore.”

Dr Anamah is passionate about ensuring equal access to early childhood education, which is something the YWCA still practices these days by keeping our preschool fees affordable. The very first preschool was set up in Marine Parade and she remembers the snaking registration queues and the full enrolments.


The first YWCA Child Development Centre was set up at Block 80 Marine Parade on 1 March 1977.

In her late 30s, Dr Anamah was elected as Council Member of the World YWCA, representing the YWCA of Singapore and served finally as Vice-President of Asia from 1977-1985. It was an opportunity she cherishes to this day as it gave her the platform to work on key global issues such as human rights, the environment and disarmament.

How did she find the time to volunteer amid her hectic schedule as a lawyer?

“You’ll find the time and make it count,” Dr Anamah sagely advised, “When you see someone whose life isn’t going well, wanting to help make a difference is just being a good neighbour.”

Her parting words of wisdom for our readers? “If you can’t make a hundred people happy, then just aim to make one person happy. Sometimes, that person is yourself.”