Stories

All of us start out with great potential, yet for some children and youths, difficult life circumstances present numerous challenges to fulfilling it. It has been our joy to befriend, nurture and guide them. Lakeside Family Services connects them to various opportunities while providing their families with the assistance they need.

Indeed, our children and youths are capable of achieving great things and creating a positive impact on society. We are proud to share heartfelt stories from our current and past beneficiaries, and the dedicated staff and volunteers who believed in them when they said “I can!”

Before, the Hadif brothers tended to shy away from reading as they were unfamiliar with phonics and letter sounds.

Our social worker shared with their mother about our reading programme. The children started attending the programme in April last year and within the span of 2 short months, they gained good foundations with phonics sounds and were able to read all types of English books suitable for their age.

They now read consistently, at least 2 books every session, and their confidence shines through smiles of exhilaration when they are able to read independently!

I started as a young social worker in 1992. Besides serving families in the FSC, I also had the privilege of pioneering Children and Youth work at Lakeside. I taught creative writing and speech & drama to the children at our student care centre twice a week and ran math tuition programmes every Wednesday evening.

In the afternoons, I was in charge of our youth drop-in centre for the children and youths in our neighbourhood. We played table tennis, carrom and board games. Every Thursday evening, I ran a Youth Cafe where we served snacks, played games and watched movies together. Occasionally we would have interesting speakers come to give talks on coping with stress, boy-girl relationships, and career guidance. I also managed the Lakeside football club.  We had great fun and made many friends.

Through these programmes, we were able to reach out to many children and their families, and in the process helped them with issues and challenges that they faced. We gave guidance to a youth who might have dropped out of school, and had to retake his ‘O’ levels and eventually he graduated from polytechnic and later university. We helped a number of them leave gangs and follow a better path. We also helped a number of them overcome depression and recover their confidence and self-esteem.

Through these experiences, I have come to believe strongly in the importance of investing our time, energy, love and patience in the lives of the children and youths, because they have so much potential for good in them. No matter how disadvantaged or challenging their situation may be, I believe that it is always possible for them to overcome these obstacles and to make something good out of their lives.

At Lakeside, our mission is to nurture and mentor the next generation of children and youths, so that they will lead meaningful and productive lives and be a blessing to our society.

Join us in changing lives and transforming communities. Together, WE CAN!

 

Tee Loon, Executive Director, Lakeside Family Services

Our staff at Lakeside Student Care (LSC) are committed to enabling our young ones not just step up, but rise above their circumstances.

Felicia, a teacher at LSC (Jurong East), initially started as a part-time staff, but eventually chose to go full time after realising her passion in working with children. She finds that the most fulfilling part of her work is being able to witness a child growing up and conquering his fears and weakness. When she first met Samantha, a new student, in 2017, she remembered that it was difficult for Samantha to make friends, as she was shy and quiet. But over time, she is now able to speak up more and bond with others at the student care.

Being able to work hand in hand with parents to help their children, and seeing their children grow and improve, really gives me a great sense of job satisfaction.” – Felicia

In her past one and a half years at Lakeside Student Care (Jurong East), teacher Sherie has had many wonderful memories guiding the students at the centre. Her day-to-day work ranges from classroom management, to homework coaching and also developing workshops that can build up creativity, socio-emotional and educational abilities for the children.

I see the importance of investing in the emotional and social aspects of the students during their primary school stage. With the experiences that I faced in the past, I want to be a positive role model who will be able to influence and impact the students.” – Sherie

Wee Leong has been a social worker with The GRIT Project ever since its inception in 2019! Even till today, he tells us that he enjoys talking to children and youths, because they constantly surprise him with their insights and also teach him important life lessons. At TGP, he runs programmes such as Sports@TGP where he works with volunteers to build healthy relationships with youths through sports and also The GRIT Academy, a programme of TGP which focuses on long-term mentorship through facilitating new experiences and activities for youths and mentors to participate in together.

“I am inspired by the youths I encounters at the centre – some of them came into TGP broken and lacking direction initially, but they gradually grow in their confidence and sense of identity as they get connected to the TGP community and eventually become better versions of themselves.” – Wee Leong

“Through my journey of volunteering, I often feel that I’ve gained so much more than I could ever give back. I started volunteering for Lakeside back in 2015 through my school’s community service programme, and I’ll never forget an incident when we were holding an overnight preteens camp at Camp Challenge. One of the activities was the high elements, and initially, one of the girls was so unwilling to try it. However, as she witnessed her peers attempt the activity, she finally agreed to give it a try. We all cheered her on, and even though she was still filled with fear, she knew that all of us had her back. After her successful attempt, she came back down with a glow on her face, and eager to attempt it again.Her excitement and newfound courage brought joy to my heart as it showed how a healthy and supportive environment could build confidence from within. Learning from the child-like joy that shines from the children and youth, listening to their stories, exchanging jokes, smiles and laughter with them – this is what inspires and reinforces my desire to continue serving the community.” – Felica, long-time volunteer at Lakeside
Brian is well-liked among many of the youths at The GRIT Project (TGP) for his friendly and loyal personality today. But before he came to TGP, his friendships weren’t always stable, and he had also been bullied and hurt by his peers. Receiving financial assistance from Lakeside Family Services has helped Bryan and his family out of a difficult financial situation, and allowed him to be more hopeful and positive about the world he lives in. He’s grateful to TGP for providing a safe space for him to grow and learn in, and dreams of becoming a digital animator one day.

Henry was referred to Lakeside by his secondary school. At TGP, he made many new friends and also met volunteers who were able to help him with his studies. In the past, he was sensitive and also found it hard to talk to people. But now, he has has learnt to manage his anger, connect better with people, and discover his passion and interests. He even hopes to volunteer at TGP which has given him so much over the years.

“I didn’t know what my interest was until I came here. Like, oh I can (actually) play badminton, I can now talk to people, I think I’m good at FIFA! So you understand your interests, understand your passion, get to know new people and also learn from the people.” – Henry

Si Tian lost her hearing due to high fever when she was a baby. When she started attending Lakeside Student Care, she was the only deaf student at the student care and felt nervous and afraid. Her family struggled to pay for her hearing aids, so we helped them to apply for financial assistance. Thanks to the teachers at the student care who were always there for her, she was encouraged to persevere in her studies, and she even got scholarships from community centres. Currently, she’s studying in ITE and her dream is to enter Polytechnic and pursue a career in digital marketing someday.

“At Lakeside, I learnt to be independent, confident, and caring. Thank you Lakeside for taking care of me. I got to learn more skills and communicate with new friends.” – Si Tian

More stories coming soon…