A running club that goes the extra mile

Ten recipients were honoured with the President’s Volunteerism & Philanthropy Awards on Wednesday (Oct 15). The awards were given to companies and non-profit organisations, as well as individuals who have contributed to society in various ways, including helping those with special needs to integrate into society, and reaching out to the elderly and disadvantaged youths.

From corporate award winners which have set aside their profits and time for the less fortunate, to individuals working to protect and support vulnerable Singaporeans, this year’s winners hope to encourage more people to volunteer by showing them every little bit counts when reaching out to the community.

For example, award recipient Runninghour may look like your average running club, but its volunteers go the extra mile by guiding members of the special needs community on their runs, helping them to transform their lives through fitness.

The club has about 200 members who are visually and intellectually challenged – 34 of them are visually challenged and 170 members of the club are intellectually challenged.

Some have gone on to participate in triathlons, while others have benefited from a boost in confidence. Ms Wan Wai Yee, a founding committee member of Runninghour, said: “When they run, they start to shed pounds and look better. So when they know they look better, they say, ‘If I can do this, I can do other things’. It leads to them being more confident in themselves, in their dressing; some of them manage to get new jobs, better jobs, or some of them form better relationships.”


Volunteering time and skills also goes beyond borders. The Singapore International Foundation (SIF) supports about 3,500 volunteers who share their skills, resources and experience on different projects.

For example, in 2009, a group of oncologists, nurses, physiotherapists and social workers trained 15 nurses in paediatric palliative care in Jakarta. By 2012, about 1,000 medical workers had benefited from the training, which included managing the pain of terminally-ill children.  Since then, the homecare paediatric palliative care model has been adopted by the Indonesian Nursing Association.

Said SIF’s executive director, Ms Jean Tan: “The knowledge and expertise that Singaporeans have shared have impacted the larger community.”

Source: CNA