Growing Bonds, Weaving Oneness, Flourishing Together

  • Angeline Gan
  • Jun 07 2024 - 3 MIN READ

Metropolitan YMCA, YMCA of Singapore, YWCA of Singapore, in partnership with SG Enable, launch Y+ to better serve persons with disabilities and their caregivers

Singapore, 7 June 2024 – Metropolitan YMCA (MYMCA), YMCA of Singapore (YMCA), YWCA of Singapore (YWCA) , and SG Enable , jointly announce the launch of Y+, a pioneering collaborative community engagement initiative for persons with disabilities and their caregivers. For the first time ever, MYMCA, YMCA, and YWCA are joining forces to launch this initiative to serve and impact persons with disabilities and their caregivers. This unprecedented collaboration unites the strengths and resources of each Association to foster inclusion, support, and meaningful engagement within the community. It heralds the start of collaborative efforts to find new ways to serve and impact persons with disabilities and their caregivers.

Y+ brings together the collective expertise and resources of the 3Ys with the support of SG Enable to offer more community-based options for persons with disabilities after they graduate from school beyond the traditional services such as Day Activity Centres and Sheltered Workshops in centre-based settings. The initiative will empower persons with disabilities and their caregivers to be more fully integrated within the community.

The Y+ collaboration aims to roll out innovative community solutions that support persons with disabilities and their caregivers during the critical transition from SPED (Special Education) schools to employment and community integration. Initiatives such as Y Crops @ Metropolitan YMCA, Y Dance @ YMCA of Singapore and Y Wellness Weave @ YWCA (see Annex A) are pilot programmes that demonstrate the collaborative efforts to meaningfully engage persons with disabilities through urban farming, dancing and craft-making. The end goal is foster a sense of community, inclusion and therapeutic interactions.

“This historic collaboration exemplifies our Associations’ unwavering dedication to building a community of care and support for persons with disabilities. More importantly, this initiative establishes a visionary framework to create a vibrant, inclusive ecosystem where they thrive and find meaningful opportunities throughout their adulthood,” said Ms Grace Chan, Group CEO of Metropolitan YMCA. “We are honoured that Y Crops @ MYMCA is part of this united effort of enhancing the quality of life for persons with disabilities by prioritising their emotional and mental well-being – allowing them to lead fulfilling lives with dignity,” she added.

General Secretary & CEO of YMCA of Singapore, Ms Wu Mei Ling, commented, “The YMCA of Singapore’s mission is to serve and impact all members of the community regardless of race, language, or religion. By collaborating with Metropolitan YMCA and YWCA of Singapore, guided by SG Enable, we would be able to amplify our mission to serve more members of the community through more touchpoints and programmes for PWDs and their caregivers. Through this collaboration, we hope to build an ecosystem of seamless support consisting of our members, volunteers, partners, PWDs and their caregivers.”

YWCA’s Executive Director, Ms Ong Puay See said,” As a women’s charity, YWCA is keenly aware of the stresses and burdens that the mothers carry when caring for their child. YWCA is happy to be able to support the disability community by providing respite care for caregivers through the Y Wellness Weaving programme. Over the longer term, we welcome more mums who are keen to take up the artisan craft of weaving to join our Weaving enterprise.”

Aligned with its mission of creating equitable opportunities for persons with disabilities through impactful partnerships, SG Enable supports the three Associations through funding, connecting them to expertise and resources, and fostering knowledge exchange.

“Together with the 3Ys, we are sewing a tapestry of support, weaving together opportunities for independence, inclusion, and connection. This collaboration reflects SG Enable’s commitment to fostering impactful partnerships and innovative solutions to benefit persons with disabilities and their caregivers.,” said Ku Geok Boon, CEO of SG Enable.


Annex A: Y+ Pilot Programmes

Y Crops @ Metropolitan YMCA

Y Crops @ Metropolitan YMCA was established to harness the potential of MYMCA’s inaugural organic vegetable farm in addressing the challenges faced by persons with disabilities as they transition beyond the age of 18. This unique community outreach program offers them the opportunity to engage in activities outside their homes, promoting social interaction and mental stimulation. Aiming to enhance social mobility and character development, Y Crops provides hands-on exposure to sustainable farming practices as a therapeutic activity for both persons with disabilities and their caregivers. This initiative represents a collaborative effort between Metropolitan YMCA and Club LITE of YMCA Singapore that officially launched in February 2024. Since its inception, Y Crops has engaged 15 persons with disabilities and 15 caregivers in a series of six sessions, where participants participated in seeding and harvesting the organic vegetables.

Metropolitan YMCA, through SG Enable’s training Place-and-Train Programme, a programme to encourage employers to provide job and training opportunities to persons with disabilities. Employee Isaac Thomas Komatt, 26, was able to explore his vocational interest and acquired relevant skills to conduct the Y Crops programme for Club LITE members.

Y Dance @ YMCA of Singapore

YMCA of Singapore is committed to supporting PWDs and their caregivers through Y Dance, which provides a platform for engagement through dance. Beyond just physical activity, dancing offers a unique avenue for creative expression, particularly beneficial for those who may struggle with verbal communication. By immersing themselves in the rhythm and movement, participants can discover new ways to express themselves and find joy in the process. This not only enhances their emotional well-being but also fosters social interaction and self-discovery. For caregivers, Y Dance offers an opportunity to connect with their children and form bonds with other caregivers in a fun environment, nurturing a supportive and compassionate community.

YMCA Club LITE, through the Enabling Lives Initiative Grant managed by SG Enable and funded by Tote Board, to engage persons with disabilities who have graduated from Special Education schools but are not in employment or adult disability care services. The programme enhances confidence for independent living through life-skills training and meaningful engagement during the transition to employment or adult disability care services.

Y Wellness Weave @ YWCA of Singapore

With the Y Wellness Weave programme, YWCA of Singapore offers a quiet sanctuary at its Weaving Studio where persons with disabilities and caregivers can find respite through the therapeutic art of weaving. More than just a craft, weaving helps promote mental wellness and allows an avenue for creative self-expression. The craft is easy to pick up, with no mistakes to be made or rules to follow. Each weaving session is facilitated by YWCA’s beneficiary mothers, who are themselves symbols of resilience. Besides providing respite care for caregivers, Y Wellness Weave aims to foster a sense of community and belonging where caregivers can come together in a safe and supportive environment. Persons with disabilities and caregivers who are keen to undertake flexi-work, can also sign up for training and join the YWCA Weaving Enterprise.

YWCA through the Caregiver Empowerment Fund for ground-up initiatives that empower caregivers of persons with disabilities to better care for their care recipients and themselves, to promote sustained engagement of caregivers with increased access to resources and social networks, as well as improved well-being.


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