This time, there will be no race updates.
No stories of mega blisters, broken shoes and "high speed" ah pek runners overtaking me.
For the first time since 2002, I didn't take part in the Stanchart Marathon because of a back injury, L5-S1 nerve impingement.
So the average finishing time in 2009 was reduced significantly, with one significant plodder out of the way
(Recently, there was an impassioned Straits Times discussion on whether to allow slow runners, plodders, to participate in the Singapore Marathon)
With physiotherapy and chiropractic sessions, I'm recovering well from my degenerative disc condition.
I put on my running shoes again in mid Dec 09 and have started my training for the Adidas Sundown Marathon in May 2010.
For starters, I'm taking slow, steady steps with 5-7km runs @ 10km/hr pace, 5 times a week.
Below are RFF activity updates since Aug 2009.
2009 was a year of change for RFF and its partners.
Read on and find out more.
Thanks for your continued concern and support of the Run For Funds (RFF) movement.
1. Maximize Your Potential (MYP) award ceremony @ Geylang Methodist School (Primary)
This year, I'm proud to announce that RFF gave out a record number of MYP awards @ Geylang Methodist School (Primary), GMSP.
20 students of which 11 were new recipients and for one recipient, this was his 3rd award:
- 7 Primary Three
- 6 Primary Four
- 5 Primary Five
- 2 Primary Six
The award ceremony, hosted by teachers Jessie Soh and Theresa Thong, was held on 29th August 2009.
It was attended by the parents of the students as well as supporters of RFF.
This year's ceremony adopted a different format.
Instead of me speaking to the students and their parents (which should be as interesting as watching paint dry), I had 2 guest speakers.
The aim was twofold.
(1) To inspire the kids and
(2) To educate their parents of potential financial pitfalls that could affect their quality of life.
RFF supporter Sheena Ho shared how she overcame financial challenges at home to pursue her tertiary education.
Message to the students: Don't give up even when the going gets tough.
Sheena handing out MYP awards
RFF SuperFriend (ie. day one supporter) Jason Chen related real-life stories to the students' parents how he tried to help people break free from the abyss of gambling entrapments and how bad debts (with loan sharks) destroy lives.
Message to the students' parents: Do not seek easy solutions to their financial hardships and land up in deeper ditches.
The personal sharings were well received by the parents and the students who later told me that these were timely reminders as the current economic crisis posed greater challenges to their already strained financial situations.
It helped them realize there is no "easy money" and that a good education is probably the best way of breaking the poverty cycle.
Below is a pic of the thank-you cards prepared by the students for RFF supporters.
(I am safekeeping them for you... haha !)
Note: I apologize for not posting more pics of the event. They were blur because I brought a camera that people didn't know how to use properly (neither do I actually… haha !). My fault.
2. New Principal @ GMSP
Miss Mabel Wee retired as principal of GMSP earlier this year.
Taking over the helm of the school administration is Ms Rina Yap (Mrs Liang)
In my interactions with Rina, I find her to be a principal "with a caring heart" who is committed to evoke positive changes in the lives of her students despite their family circumstances.
She is extremely supportive of the RFF movement and in the coming months, we'll be discussing how RFF can better assist underprivileged students.
An example is the some MYP students were enrolled in a school enrichment program.
It is an experiential learning session: Sand castle building.
The students were taught that it takes hard work to build a castle and that a firm foundation is critical.
Rina invited me to speak to the students after that session and my impression was that they learnt an experiential lesson that was hard to forget.
In my discussions with Rina, I expressed my desire to provide continued support for MYP kids who have graduated from GMSP.
For those who moved on to GMSS (Secondary, which is just opposite the primary school), we will work out a way to extend the MYP.
For you info, GMSS also changed its school principal in 2009.
As for those students who have gone to other schools, we'll have to figure out how to provide support in a meaningful and sustainable way.
3. D'Joy Children's Centre
D'joy continues to serve the children and parents in the Jalan Besar area.
In its 2009 annual report, RFF was mentioned.
RFF provided study aids and equipment + defraying costs for medical bills of a student @ D'joy.
Bovis Lend Lease, led by Jerry O' Sullivan (BLL, my previous company, has several RFF supporters) also provided cyclical maintenance on a pro-bono basis with RFF sponsoring part of the bill.
Attached is an excerpt (thanks Jay for helping me extract this)
D'joy also had a change in management in 2009.
Janet Leong is now the principal of D'Joy.
I will be liaising with Janet on ways to extend the partnership that RFF has with D'joy.
This year, I also plan to engage BLL early in the year to see if they are prepared to chip in as well.
Work at D'joy is a labour of love as it changes the lives of children from challenging family backgrounds.
Dinah and I were invited to the graduation ceremony of the kindergarten kids in Dec 09.
They put up a heartwarming performance for parents and teachers.
Hopefully, the lessons that they've learnt @ D'joy will serve as firm foundations as they grow up.
Attached are some pics.
4. Looking ahead
In 2010, RFF will be looking to leverage the success at GMSP and extending it to GMSS through partnerships with both principals in one working committee.
We will also assess the feasibility of RFF supporters mentoring some of these kids.
As for D'joy, it will continue to be an area of focus for RFF.
We will plug gaps where the government can't, hopefully with support of corporate sponsorships.
So if your company wants to give back to society, please let me know J
Have a blessed year ahead.