I BELIEVE WE CAN! – PERSONAL REFLECTION OF AN 11-YEAR JOURNEY WITH MY CHARITY

September 10, 2017

Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore (CPAS) celebrated its 60th year of empowering individuals with cerebral palsy, on 8 September 2017, the charity dinner themed "I Believe We Can" was graced by Guest-of-Honour Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister for Social and Family Development.

Yet this journey, which culminated for me on this evening, was my swan song event for a charity that found me 11 years ago. With CPAS, I received the opportunities to engage and interact with the people making up the CP eco-system, to re-ignite the Audit system and to startup the Fund Raising system over the past 4 years.  Life experience has taught me “Things happen for a reason.”  I am clearer now of at least two things about myself.

 

First, my journey with CPAS taught me about resilience, gratitude, sacrifice, empathy, and service. This touchpoint gave me the contextual understanding why I had always intuitively wished others:  “Keep doing GREAT things to make the Positive Difference in service of others.”

 

From interacting and observing the GREAT everyday heroes who walk through CPAS’s corridors, I thank my teachers – our clients, our silent caregivers, and our CPAS staff.

 

To our CP clients, I have watched you - where each day, each step for some, each bite for others, and each simple smile, is an act of resilience in overcoming their personal cerebral palsy challenges. You, our CPAS clients, have taught me about resilience and gratitude. 

 

To the silent caregivers, I have observed you - where each day, is another day of unconditional giving of care and love. You, our CPAS caregivers, have taught me about sacrifice and empathy.

 

To the CPAS staff, whom I have become friends from mere acquaintance, I have seen you - where each day, is another day of commitment in "Making the Positive Difference in service of others." You, our CPAS staff, have taught me about service.

 

Second, my journey with CPAS raised my awareness that perhaps my role in life is that of a Fixer.  I thrive best when thrown into unknown or uncontested situations, else known as VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, & Ambiguous). I can make sense and put order in place very quickly. So setting up and raising the audit and the fund raising capability in CPAS played to my strength. I am clearer now that I have reached my limit. Staying on the board in the same capacity will only yield marginal value for CPAS.  So I decided it was best to know when to step away to allow room for the next better man to take CPAS forward further and faster.

 

My biggest gain is the clarity to recognize my inspiration for why I served.  And I want to share the following words from GEN Douglas MacArthur that I continue to live by.

So it has been these words that kept me believing that I could influence and impact to make the Positive Difference. These hallowed words made me believe we could always do more for others so that our CPAS clients can move from who they ought to be, to who they can be, and eventually to be who they will be.

 

And it was these words that the idea for the theme: "I Believe!" was mooted over at the Kith Cafe, Sentosa, in 2015 with Bernadette, Jessie, Susan, Joanna, and I. In 2016, we decided on I Believe in Possibilities - empowering the potential of our CPAS clients to achieve more independence and dignity. And this year, we decided on I Believe we can - reflecting the tripartite partnership of our CPAS clients, their caregivers, and the staff of CPAS to empower their potential.

 

CPAS will always hold a special place in my heart. Alas my work in CPAS is done. Keep up the momentum to raise awareness so that even more people will take to heart that "I Believe we can...always!"

 

To all my family and friends who supported the crowdfunding effort and who showed up in support tonight, a heartfelt thank you. You all helped me to move many tables this past 3 weeks in spirit and in deeds.

 

For my friends and strangers who have given me your time to read this article, be the change you choose to see in this world.  The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.  So if you are thinking about volunteering, go ahead, take the first step today. And if you have to choose where to start, choose CPAS.

 

If not NOW, then When?!

If not YOU, then Who?!

 

Checking out till my next calling comes.

 

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