Two Saturdays ago, I was invited to a lunch appreciation event at Life Edu Services(LES) to understand more about what the center does for the community. To be honest, I have not been doing any active form of volunteering since my university days. Hence, I did not know what to expect with regards to this area. However, through my interaction with the volunteers and beneficiaries for the morning, I was overwhelmed and touched by the giving spirit that was alive and infectious.
LES is a registered voluntary welfare organisation was started in response to the needs of the disadvantaged and needy families in MacPherson Community. Uncle Richard, who manages the daily operations at the center shared on how the initial years have been difficult; the volunteers had distribute flyers from HDB block to block, informing them of the services available at LES. It is only at present, LES is a more visible and known among residents. Currently, LES serves more than 100 children, youths and elderly a year through their free educational programmes such as the weekly Math tuition, Kidz Life Club, holiday programmes and workshops for the elderly.
Life Edu Services(LES) is situated in a HDB block in the MacPherson community. It conducts free weekly Math tuition programmes as well as the Kidz Life Club so to benefit children from low-income families. Attending tuition for academic subjects such as Math is almost a norm for many Singaporean students. Yet, this is not so for many students from disadvantaged backgrounds. In cases like that, LES is able to fill in the gap by providing free quality Math tuition to support these students. I have spoken to some of the beneficiaries over lunch and understand that over the years,they, along with their siblings have benefitted from the dedicated coaching and mentoring from the tutors from LES and have continued to do well in their studies.
Sarah(not her real name) is a sprightly and bright Primary Six student whom I have spoken to during the event. She has been with Life Edu Services for 7 years. Her younger brother, aged seven will be also joining her at Life Edu Services in the following year. She shared with me on how she found the tuition and enrichment classes to be useful and fun. On her Math tuition lessons on Friday, she was able to get the needed help from the tutors and clarify any doubts about topics that she had. Through the consistent help that she received, she was able to improve her results from a C to a B+. During her holidays,she attended creative writing classes that was conducted by the volunteers and she found the time spent learning at the center to be meaningful.
Miranda(not her real name) who is a Secondary One student has been getting tuition at Life Edu Services since 2013. She stumbled upon Life Edu Services one afternoon when she was cycling around the block of shops. Uncle Richard invited her and her siblings to attend the free classes provided at the center. Since then, she and her siblings has been going for regular tuition at the center. Her Math results has improved from a B to an A. From our conversation, I found her to be a sensible and diligent individual. Miranda shared on how she was rather introverted when she first joined the center. Over the years of learning and mentoring from the tutors at Life Edu Services, she became more outgoing and focused in her studies. Currently, Miranda is working towards her ambition to be a doctor and would want to volunteer in the center in the future so as to pay the kindness forward.
In 2017, there are about 40 volunteers at LES working with the students and elderly. Just like the quote from Robert Heinlein,‘When one teaches, two learns’. This is an apt description of how the volunteers share their experience and sentiments about their time spent at LES.
Meng Long, an ACS(I) student is a volunteer at LES and has spent the whole year, dedicating his Friday nights to helping the Primary Six students in their Mathematics. While it started off as a short class project for him, he continued to volunteer his time for the entire year even though he has completed his project as it found the experience to be meaningful. He shared on how working with the students has made him learn more about himself and to be more aware of the need for empathy and patience. Even though he lives in the West Coast, his parents are encouraging of his volunteering efforts and take time to send him to the center on Fridays.
There is also a group from Sociology students from National University of Singapore(NUS) who volunteered for a whole semester with the center, helping with the Math tuition as well as conducting a creative writing holiday programme for the Primary Six. They shared with me their sentiments of how organisations like LES are important as they make a significant positive impact in the community, especially when they are able to motivate and assist students from lower-income background to achieve more academically. From their observations, they feel that the services provided in LES helps to bridge the gaps in the communities.
BOTS, otherwise known as Bio Medical Outreach to Society is a group of students from Temasek Polytechnic who have been spending their Saturday mornings reading to the pre-schoolers in MacPherson since 2014. The students shared on how they enjoyed spending their time with the little ones and seeing the smiles on their faces during the sessions. While the students share their knowledge, they also learn simple lessons from the young ones- to treasure the present and not over worry about the future. It is certainly heartening to know how members of the society want to help and better each other.
(The elderly toasting the Lo Hei for a prosperous new year.)
The elderly tends to be a rather neglected group in the society and aging can be a lonely journey. LES aims to engage the older folks, befriend them as well as enrich their lives.
The good people at LES serves the elderly in MacPherson by getting them involved in weekly activities and educational workshops are being held on a quarterly basis. Activities such as karaoke, games and handicraft sessions are being held in the centre. On top of these, LES plans educational workshops that are meaningful to elderly such as will writing and LPA. When possible, LES would have outings for the older folks and these small events would bring much joy and cheer in their lives.
To keep Life Edu Services going…
Life Edu Services(LES) is a charitable organisation that is solely dependent on donations and financial support from the public. In order to keep the center running efficiently, funds have to be raised to keep up with the operational costs and to provide more opportunities for LES to reach out to more people in the MacPherson communities effectively.
- If you would like to know more about Life Edu Services and the various events held- please click on this Facebook link.
- Also, if you would like to be part of the volunteering team, you can call 6844 6291 to enquire more.
- As mentioned above, Life Edu Services is mainly running because of the generosity of donations from individuals and companies. In the spirit of Christmas, LES would like to appeal for you to donate to continue efforts in benefitting these groups in the MacPherson community. You can make a small contribution at https://www.giving.sg/web/life-edu-services-ltd