Metta e-Newsletter: Vol 20 Issue 3

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

MENTAL & PHYSICAL WELLBEING

1In our society, the hurried fast pace of living has led many to compromise on their general wellbeing. Wellbeing is not just the absence of illness or mental ability. It is a complex combination of an individual’s physical, mental, emotional and social health factors. Believing that worldly possession is the key to happiness can also harm a person’s wellbeing. A person who chooses to over work misses out on time with family, friends, leisure pursuits and his health as a result of stress-induced habits. A poor lifestyle ultimately may culminate into serious health ailments which could deteriorate if habits are not changed. Quality of living might be compromised as poor health impede simple daily tasks’ performance or might jeopardise the livelihood of an individual.

It is essential that we play our part by making positive changes to our lifestyle and be responsible for our own health and wellbeing. Metta regularly upgrades it healthcare services to meet the rising challenges of the ageing population and people with special needs. Introducing Metta Home Nursing, it bridges intervention and medical assistance of elderly patients requiring frequent re-admittance to the hospital. This allows the elderly to age in place by providing nursing services at their homes through telecommunications and home visits.

Together with appropriate care, adequate family and social support, our clients can still enjoy a meaningful and good quality of life. Metta will continue to work towards the seamless and holistic care of our clients for their total wellbeing through the enhancements of our programmes and services. Ultimately, our goal is to help our clients lead a beneficial and fulfilling life with their loved ones.

With Triple Gems Blessings
Venerable Shi Fa Zhao BBM


UPCOMING EVENTS

KEPPEL OFFSHORE AND MARINE-METTA CHARITY GOLF TOURNAMENT 2016

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28 July 2016
Tanah Merah Country Club (Tampines Course)

Metta Welfare Association is back for its annual 17th fundraising golf event, Metta Charity Golf Tournament 2016 partnering with Keppel Offshore and Marine again. The tournament will be held at the Tanah Merah Country Club.

It will be an exciting tournament as golfers pit their skills against each other for a good game. Participating golfers stand a chance to win a Hole-In-One prize of a Mercedes-Benz CLA 180 Shooting Brake among other prizes. The fulfilling afternoon wraps up with a relaxing dinner with entertaining performances and a lucky draw.

Wish to do your part for charity and join us in this golfing tournament? Log on to www.metta.org.sg for more information.


HEALTHWISE

HEALTH BENEFITS OF PLAYING GOLF

Golf has quickly become a popular sport all over the globe. Players of all ages, walks of life and geographic locations find solace in a good game of golf. Golf can be good for your health and your heart. Be it taking the buggy or walking on the course, you would be working every single muscle in your body with just a golf game. If you traverse 18 holes 3 to 5 times a week, you’ll get an optimal amount of endurance exercise for your heart. If you pull your clubs or carry them, you’ll burn even more calories and benefit much more.

  • Golf players who carry their bags while walking the course burn 721 calories on average.
  • Players who travel the course using pull-carts actually burn 718 calories on average.
  • Golfers who walk the course, but have caddies carry their bags burn 613 calories on average.
  • Those who ride in golf carts throughout the game still burn an average of 411 calories.

Benefits of Golfing!

  1. Reduces Stress – It’s been said that playing a round of golf releases endorphins. These are all-natural, powerful, mood-enhancing “drugs” within our brains. Basically, golfing helps one to relax and reduce stress, which can affect health drastically.
  2. Stimulates Blood Circulation – Some studies suggest that playing golf may actually stimulate blood circulation within our brains. This helps to improve nerve cell connections, and may actually delay an onset of dementia.
  3. Improves Mortality Rate – A Swedish Study in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports concluded that golf just may affect life expectancy. According to the publication, of those who play golf regularly, there was a 40% decrease in mortality rates. That’s an increase of a 5-year life expectancy.
  4. Help You Get a Better Night’s Sleep – It’s during sleep when our bodies heal most. Therefore, any activity that causes us to sleep well, naturally, is good for our health. Between walking the course, lugging your bag, prepping and swinging, you’ll get enough of a physical workout to fall asleep fast and stay asleep all night long.
  5. Improves Vision – It takes pretty good vision to zoom in on that round, little white ball. Each time you take a swing at it, you get the opportunity to evaluate the keenness of your vision. This is especially true when you’re trying to figure out where your ball has landed.
  6. Gets Your Bladder Trained – This is a surprising revelation from the golfers worth taking note of. Those frequent visits from your friendly course beer-cart steward can give your bladder a run for its time. The longer you learn to hold it, the more you strengthen the capacity of your bladder. And, as noted by several women golfers, it is also an effective way to strengthen leg muscles, especially the thighs. Crouching manoeuvres used by those who can’t “hold it” are a unique way of doing leg exercises.
  7. Stimulates the Heart – Remember that any form of physical exercise helps to get your adrenaline going. This, in turn, gets the blood pumping to the heart, strengthening it naturally. Exercising for just 30 minutes each day can help you lower your blood pressure by up to 5-7 points. Workouts also help you improve your cholesterol, lose weight and lower one’s risks of getting heart disease.

Article republished from: http://www.sggolfcoach.com/#!health-benefits-of-golfing/cq1i


ACTIVITY

HEALTHY FRIED VEGETARIAN BEE HOON

3This simple Chinese-style fried vegetarian bee hoon with mixed vegetables and shiitake mushrooms is fuss-free and easy to prepare in the kitchen. Contributed by Mdm Jessica Feng, who created this recipe, this dish, free of alliums such as garlic and onions, is among the many vegetarian meals served to the beneficiaries at Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly.

Ingredients:

  • 600 g rice vermicelli (bee hoon)
  • 20 dried or fresh shitake mushrooms, for dried shitake, soaked till soft, discard the stems and slice the caps
  • 200 g celery, sliced
  • 200 g round cabbage, sliced thinly
  • 100 g french beans, sliced into ½ inch
  • 100 g carrots, julienned
  • 1 tablespoon vegetarian oyster sauce (can be substituted with mushroom sauce)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt (adjust according to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, julienned
  • 1 teaspoons sugar
  • 500g water or vegetable stock
  • Pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Chillies, sliced for garnishing

Method:

  1. Soften vermicelli in cold water for 15-30 minutes till soft. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in wok over high heat and saute shredded ginger. Pour in mushrooms, carrots and stir-fry until fragrant. Add in sliced celery, cabbage and french beans.
  3. Stir in soy sauce, vegetarian oyster sauce, sugar, and water or vegetable stock. Mix evenly then braise over low heat for 5 minutes.
  4. Add vermicelli. Cook until water is absorbed. Season with salt and pepper. Stir continuously to coat all the noodles and incorporate all the vegetables.
  5. Use tongs or a large pair of chopsticks to toss the vermicelli, so as not to risk breaking the vermicelli strands up.
  6. Serve and garnish with sliced chillies.

Recipe courtesy of Mdm Jessica Feng. Jessica is a cook at the Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly who has been whipping up vegetarian meals for the centre’s beneficiaries since 2008.


SHOUT OUT

GOING DIGITAL

Metta Café is proud to jump on board with food delivery service, Food Panda, and rush-hour discount app, 11-Hour.

Now you can enjoy our various range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare delivered hot to your doorstep! Follow Metta Café on 11-Hour and be updated Live on special promotions and discount deals.

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NURTURING TIES

PRACTICE GOOD HANDWRITING HABITS

Article contributed by Metta Preschool Occupational Therapists, Amelia Juntado and Heidi Mosqueriola.

5.jpgSome children may find writing an easy and fun activity but to some others, it may find be a difficult and tedious process. Legible handwriting technique requires coordination of the eyes, arms, hands, pencil grip, letter formation and body posture. There are many reasons why some children have difficulty holding a pencil, sitting with a good body posture, learning to form letters, and writing legibly and neatly. Often, Occupational Therapists are present to assess a child’s muscle strength, coordination, endurance and motor control and guide them through a series of activities to improve their handwriting skills.

Metta PreSchool Occupational Therapists, Amelia and Heidi, offers some simple activities which can be practised in the classroom or at home.

  1. Sports and Games that could improve visual, motor, and coordination skills
    –    Play ball (catching, throwing, rolling, bouncing)
    –    Play balloon ( catching, throwing, hitting)
    –    Toss rings over a pole
  2. Hand/Finger Activities
    –    Play dough (rolling, pinching, pulling, twisting, cutting)
    –    Clip/unclip clothes pegs
    –    Pick small objects such as beads, blocks, pom-poms using tongs or tweezers
  3. Pencil Grasp Activities
    –    String beads
    –    Pick up sticks
    –    Crumple bits of paper for arts and crafts
  4. Letter Formation
    –    Form letters by gluing together beans, buttons, seeds
    –    Form letters with play dough, putty, clay
    –    Form letters in the sand, shaving cream
    –    Write letters in the air
    * Note: Letters should be written from top to bottom and from left to right
  5. Writing on Paper with Guided Lines
    –    Use coloured lines to indicate top, middle, and bottom line for tall letters and shorts letters
    –    Highlight the bottom half of the line
    –    Make a raised base (bottom line) using glue
  6. Word Spacing
    –    Teach your child to use “finger space” by placing an index finger after each word that is written
    –    Place a dot or small line after each word the child writes. Erase it after he/she has finished writing.
    –    Play a game of arranging cut-out words to form a sentence on a whiteboard and placing coloured magnet after each word

Coaching a child good handwriting skills is not an easy task as it requires patience, attention, communication, and constant encouragement. Thus, teachers and parents are encouraged to schedule and plan activities for handwriting to be fun, interactive and enjoyable. Make it a habit to let your child write, draw, colour or create little notes. More importantly, remember to bring out those fanciful stamps; stickers; or just simply reward your child with a kiss or a big hug in showing how proud you are about his/her performance.


MAKE A WISH

LIVING HIS DREAM

What would you do if you knew your days are limited? Most of us would try our best to live our hopes and dreams in that remaining period of our time. For hospice patient, Mr Lim Eng Chui, that is a chance to visit the Gardens by The Bay for the first time with his loved ones.

6.jpgMost of us would have visited Gardens by The Bay since it opened its doors to the public in 2012. However, for some like Mr Lim, it is a dream come true to get close to nature and step foot in the City in A Garden. Unfortunately for the 45-year old, he is not able to walk long distances and move as freely as before. The former coffee-shop assistant used to toil long hours at work, neglecting his health until he was inflicted with colon cancer in late 2014. Hospice patients like Mr Lim are grateful for The Singapore Ireland Fund and Metta Hospice’s Make-A-Wish program that enables patients like himself to fulfil their final wishes.

Accompanied by Mr Lim’s girlfriend and the Metta Hospice palliative care team, Mr Lim spent an enjoyable fruitful day at the Flower Dome in Gardens by The Bay. He was exceptionally blown away by the many various variety of sakuras and cherry blossoms on display in the air-conditioned flora enclosure. What completed the day was having his girlfriend by his side all through this time as he hopes to leave behind lasting memories for her.

“It doesn’t matter if it is short-lived. What matters most is that I have lived it.”
Mr Lim Eng Chui, 45 years old, Metta Hospice patient

Metta Hospice Care introduced the Make-A-Wish program in April 2014 for its patients to fulfil their final wishes to their heart’s content. This program aims to bring across the message to our clients that regardless of where we come from, who we are or what we have become, no one should deserve anything less in our final moments. The Metta Hospice Make-A-Wish program is sponsored by The Singapore Ireland Fund.

 


WHAT’S NEW

METTA HOME SHELTERED ARTS WORKSHOP

7.jpgMetta Home for the Disabled has introduced a new art therapy that aims to provide relaxation and calm agitated behaviour in our adult clients with special needs. The Sheltered Arts Workshop is an indoor craft session that involves paper quilling among other art activities. Held in an environment that is familiar to the clients, the workshop is conducted by staff who are trained to work with people with special needs. The objective of this new art therapy provides an opportunity for our clients to have a sense of achievement while enhancing their skills.

Adopting simple step-by-step instructions by Metta’s workshop supervisor, Lalitha, clients are taught to coil and shape narrow strips of paper to create designs such as hearts and flowers for their quilling project. This activity requires focus, attention to fine details and helps in improving the fine motor skills of the client with each degree catering to the individuals’ level of competence.

The fun workshop is a hit among our clients as they look forward to each session conducted on a daily basis. Under close supervision, several clients have shown improvements as they independently complete the paper quilling to produce a final artwork.

Art pieces are available for sale. Enquire about these pieces at Tel: 6365 7666.


CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES EVENTS

BRINGING JOY AND LIFE TO THE ELDERLY
30 April 2016

Clients from Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly spent a fruitful Saturday afternoon on a “fishy” excursion to S.E.A Aquarium (Sentosa), accompanied by volunteers of philanthropic organisation, Direct Life Foundation. It was a great time of interaction between the clients, volunteers and staff of Metta. Random bits of knowledge were exchanged along the way as each volunteer accompanied a client. Direct Life Foundation founder, Darren Cheng and his wife, Jenny Tay (accompanied by Mr and Mrs Roland Tay) joined in the fun-filled outing as they wheeled the clients around the gargantuan compound of the indoor aquarium. Clients thoroughly enjoyed the outing which ended with delectable bento lunches for all.8.jpg

Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly thanks Direct Life Foundation and all participating volunteers for the eventful day.

 

CUPCAKES WITH LOVE – BAKING WITH NKF AT METTA PRESCHOOL@SIMEI
13 May 2016

9.jpgIn a series of ongoing community outreach programme, a team of staff from National Kidney Foundation (NKF) dropped in for a bake and play time with Metta’s pre-schoolers. The staff took turns to mix and prepare the batter while the children had a whole lot of fun unleashing their creativity on the baked cupcakes. With little fingers, the children piped yellow icing in various designs and topped it off with colourful rainbow jimmies.

It was a refreshing experience for the staff of NKF who deals with a different set of clients in their daily work.

“This outreach is a different experience from our daily work. The only similar concept to our job is the care and passion to what we do.” Chua Cheng Wah, NKF Volunteer Leader

 

A CURIOUS MIND IS A BEAUTIFUL MIND
6 May 2016

10.jpgMetta Home Day Activity Centre clients got their curiosity filled when they visited the Science Centre with an energetic group of Zendesk volunteers. Enthusiasm and laughter were clearly seen on the clients’ faces as they touched and explored the magic of science. Eager Zendesk volunteers patiently guided and explained to the clients the various exhibits which fascinated them to no end.

Visiting the Eco-Garden, Tesla Coil Show, Immersive Experience and Butterfly Sanctuary gave the clients an opportunity to feel the allure of Mother Nature. They felt the touch of a butterfly, experienced the force of a typhoon, observed the mesmerising beauty of electricity and awaken their auditory sensory perceptions to the pattering sound of rain.

Thank you Zendesk for making it an unforgettable day


MY STORY

AGAINST ALL ODDS
An early retirement is the last thing on the mind of Mr. Mohamed Rafi Bin K M Abdul. The feisty-spirited 52-year-old who was previously a private bus driver, suffered a stroke in 2013 that rendered him poor mobility to be gainfully employed.

11.jpgA client of Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly since April 2015, Rafi was stricken with partial stroke late one night. Awoken to numbness on the right side of his body, Rafi called for an ambulance and dragged himself to allow the medics in. He was rushed to the hospital for emergency treatment and spent the next 5 months at the hospital. Fortunately for Rafi, his condition stabilised and he spent an additional 5 months at a community hospital before his admittance to Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly for regular rehabilitation therapy.

During Rafi’s difficult times, his selfless sister gave up her job to become his main caregiver. This adds on to an additional loss of income for the family. Thankfully for Rafi, he receives subsidy from Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly. The family also receives basic food rations which Metta Welfare Association regularly hands out to its clients in need.

Always having an optimistic outlook on life, Rafi enjoyed independence and meeting new people when he used to work. Despite his current challenges in limited Activities of Daily Living (ADL), it did not stop him from continuously receiving rehabilitation at Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly in order to be independent again. Rafi’s persistence and perseverance paid off and almost a year later, he is able to perform simple tasks such as going to the nearby shops by himself. With a never-say-die attitude, Rafi hopes with regular rehabilitative therapy, he would get back on his own two feet and return to the workforce. Chirped the optimistic man,

“I have no problem coming to Metta. I like coming every day for my therapy.”


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Metta Welfare Association has recently launched a new FREE mobile app that makes tracking of our upcoming fundraising events, various welfare centre’s information and best of all, registering and tracking the progress of your volunteer application a breeze!

What you can expect:
Volunteering Opportunities – Registration now made easy on the app. Be a volunteer at our events, activities and our various welfare centres islandwide. Get alerts on your volunteering sign-ups.

Event Updates – Receive updates on events from Metta such as our community fundraising activities with easy participation and sign up through the app.

Publications – Read the latest bi-monthly Metta News from the app. Get updated on the latest CSR activities, news, information, health tips and inspirational stories of our clients.

Donate – Easy, fuss-free online donation to do your part in helping the less privileged.

Metta App is currently available on GOOGLE PLAY and APPLE STORE

Metta e-Newsletter: Vol 20 Issue 2

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE

Embracing Acceptance of Disabilities

1World Autism Awareness Day fell on 2 April and it is with great comfort to know that the world is beginning to open up and accept autism with more awareness to the condition.

People with autism and other various mild intellectual disabilities rightly want to feel accepted in schools, at work places and in a community setting. They also want to be heard. Programmes with specially tailored training and activities need to make reasonable improvements to make sure there is full inclusivity for people with mild intellectual disabilities. At Metta, we play our part by providing early intervention programmes for our young beneficiaries in the hope that they may overcome their challenges and be self-reliant.

There is, however, a lot more we can do to embrace people with special needs. Public perception of young adults with mild intellectual disabilities can be intimidating. Too many employers are still missing out on the skills of people who would love to work for them and who would do a great job. I am heartened to know that we have assistance, such as the Metta Alumni, in place to not only match jobs for our youths, but also train them for life skills necessary for independence and assimilating to society.

It is with the dedication and compassion of our donors, sponsors, volunteers and stall that supported the cause of Metta in providing these services to the less privileged. I like to take this moment to thank all of whom have come together over the years to share our passion in engendering a compassionate society.

Yours in the Dharma
Venerable Shi Pu En
Executive Director
Metta Welfare Association


RECENT EVENTS

METTA LUNAR NEW YEAR BLESSING CEREMONY cum ‘LOU HEI’ BUFFET LUNCHEON 2016
13 Feb 2016
Metta Building

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In our time-honoured tradition, the Lunar New Year “Lou Hei” Luncheon was held at Metta’s premises to acknowledge its charitable donors, volunteers and supporters for their stalwart contributions to the organisation throughout the year. Bringing alive to the ceremony was the lively lion dance troupe by students of Metta School. The lions ushered in the New Year by performing a “Cai Qing” (Picking the Green) segment to usher in auspicious luck to all attendees. The hearty event commenced with a blessing ceremony and welcome speech by Metta’s Executive Director, Venerable Shi Pu-En.

And like almost all Lunar New Year luncheons, no feast is complete without the yusheng tossing tradition. Good wishes were loudly proclaimed as the “Lou Hei” progressed. Amidst the hearty fare and mingling, everyone was also entertained by a group of youths from the Seik Phu Taung Youth Development Centre who performed lively beats of the traditional ethnic dance moves from the Karen tribesmen of Myanmar.

METTA CHARITY CARNIVAL 2016
20 March 2016
Metta Building & Metta School

Metta Welfare Association (MWA) recently celebrated its annual mega, familybonding charity carnival in the heartlands. Gracing the event was Guest-of-Honour, Ms Jessica Tan, MP for East Coast GRC and Advisor to East Coast GRC GROs, who flagged of the 3-km Charity Walk around Simei estate that preceded the carnival. Five Metta School students from the “Healthy Fit Club” kept the adrenalin kicking with an energetic Zumba warm-up prior to the Walk. After the invigorating walk, participants were greeted by a gastronomic endless array of vegetarian spread from mouthwatering dim sums, vegetarian kong bak paus (braised ‘pork’ buns), curried potato spring rolls, rich and savoury lontongs and laksa, sushi, and many more.

Entertaining the masses were a non-stop programme of stage performances from Metta School’s Lion Dance, Stomp Warriors and Hotsteppers; Compassvale Secondary School; Serangoon Secondary School; Bollywood dance group, Dedancestar; balloon sculpting, and many more! We took the opportunity to award 7 out of our 17 students who graduated from Metta School last year. These students had undergone four modules of ITE Skills Certificate courses in Baking Practices and Hospitality Services. They did well in their Workplace Literacy and ISC courses and are currently studying Nitec Courses in ITE College West.

The Carnival also saw the launch of the new Metta mobile app that was introduced during the event. Explore volunteering opportunities with Metta and be updated on all its future fundraising activities and online news with the new app which shows the various  volunteering duties available in Metta’s respective centres. Making a unique highlight to the Carnival this year is a Sherlock Holmes-style, “Metta Adventure Discovery Trail”.

Participants had to hunt around Metta’s premises to uncover answers in order to win a prize in a sure-win lucky dip. And what is a carnival without a bazaar of good deals from fashionable shoes, bags and costume jewellery, to attractive terrariums, electrical  appliances, health food products and many more! Young kids had a frolicking good time on bouncy castle inflatables, joyride on animal kiddy rides and indulge themselves in challenging Gladiator inflatable and other games!

IF YOU MISSED BEING WITH US AT THE RECENT METTA CHARITY CARNIVAL 2016, DO JOIN US NEXT YEAR!3


NURTURING TIES

6 CLASSIC OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM

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If you have to pick a time of year to get outside, this is it! Step away from the computer and get outside for some sunshine and fun. Sounds, sights and feelings are at their peak therapeutic value and all you have to do is to admire nature. But before you do, let’s take a look at some top favourite outdoor activities so that you can maximize the time you spend with Mother Nature.

1. Obstacle Course
The great outdoors provides the most awesome of obstacle courses. Jump over a stick, run around a bush, hug a tree and down the slide you go! You really don’t need much in equipment, though it can enhance your obstacle course options. Be creative and let your child help you set it up.

2. Head for the Playground
Who doesn’t love a playground? Well maybe your sensory avoiders, but a playground is a perfect place for children to work on motor planning, balance, vestibular orientation, confidence and social skills. Though you don’t need to hover, stay close by for safety and to encourage some new heights and skills.

3. Hide N’ Seek
This game just never gets old. Most people like to play it indoors, but outdoors is great. Little ones just giggle when you find them sticking out behind a pillar. You can incorporate counting, turn taking and visual perception.

4. Treasure Hunt
Make a list and send your children out to find the items listed. Rocks, sticks, leaf, etc.… can be just a few of the items on the Treasure Hunt list. Or make it a real hunt and place notes in various spots outside. Each note can direct your child to a new location and at the end you  can have a special treasure waiting. You can even download the Geocache app and go  hunting for a real hidden treasure with your children not too far.

5. Water Therapy
Of course you think I’m referring to a swimming pool, but I’m actually talking about rain! Wait for the rain and send your children outside. With clothes or swimsuits, it doesn’t matter. Hand them an umbrella or let them just get soaked. Give them buckets to collect water and a broom to slosh it up with. The rain provides a phenomenal sensory integration experience.

6. Rolling Along
Got wheels? Then your child is good to go! Bikes, scooters and skateboards encourage balance, motor planning and linear acceleration, all necessary for effective sensory processing. Make sure helmets and pads are worn at all times! Have a reticent roller on your hands? That’s OK. Start out slowly. Try taking the pedals off the bike, lowering the seat so their feet are flat on the ground. Once they learn to walk and glide, you can put the pedals back on and raise the seat.

Caution
Please don’t leave your children unattended outdoors! An ounce of prevention goes a long way. In addition, make sure their feet are protected with shoes appropriate for the outdoors and they have plenty of sunscreen applied. Have a wonderful time in the great outdoors!

Article republished from: http://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2015/05/19/6-classic-outdoor-activities-for-children-with-autism/


HEALTH WISE

THE BEST BRAIN FOOD YOU SHOULD BE EATING

Here are some suggested foods to protect your brain cells, improve memory, and even reduce your odds of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Walnuts
5eThese wrinkly nuts—which kind of resemble the human brain—are rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center studied the lifestyle habits of 6,000 people who were unaffected by the memory-robbing condition, and found that those who ate the most vitamin E-rich foods had a reduced Alzheimer’s risk. Vitamin E may trap free radicals that can damage brain cells, explains the Alzheimer’s Research Center.

Eggs
5aThose bright, round yolks are rich in choline, a B vitamin-like nutrient. When you eat eggs, your brain uses choline to make acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that may be important  for maintaining memory and communication among brain cells. Boston University researchers tracked the eating habits of nearly 1,400 healthy adults for 10 years and found that choline intake correlated positively with better performance on certain types of memory tests.

Blueberries
5d“Brainberries” is what Steven Pratt, MD, author of Superfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life, calls these antioxidant packed fruits on WebMD.com. In select animal studies, researchers found that blueberries helped protect the brain from oxidative stress, and may have worked to reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, Pratt said. A Harvard study published last year in the journal Annals of Neurology found that women who reported eating more blueberries and strawberries were  likely to have less-rapid cognitive decline than those who ate fewer of the fruits. (The research was partially funded by the California Strawberry Commission.)

Wine and Champagne
While too much alcohol can certainly destroy healthy brain tissue, drinking in moderation  may be good for your mind. A study published earlier this year in the Journal of Biological Chemistry found that the antioxidant EGCG— found in red wine and green tea—helped stop beta-amyloid proteins from harming brain cells in the lab. Additionally, research from  UCLA found that wine’s antioxidants may block proteins that build brain-destroying plaques. In other recent news, British researchers discovered that rats improved spatial  memory when they consumed what would be the equivalent of a daily glass of Champagne; certain antioxidants in the bubbly may encourage growth of and better communication among nerve cells.

Avocados
5cAvocados are almost as good as blueberries in promoting brain health, Dr. Pratt told WebMD.com. These buttery fruits are rich in monounsaturated fat, which contributes to healthy blood #ow in the brain, according to Ann Kulze, MD, author of Dr. Ann’s 10-Step Diet: A Simple Plan for Permanent Weight Loss & Lifelong Vitality. They may also help lower blood pressure, which can reduce your risks for hypertension or a stroke that could permanently damage brain tissue.

Kale and Other Cruciferous Veggies
5bThese superfoods contain powerful antioxidants that can protect your brain from toxic free  radicals. One study of older women found that those who ate the most green, leafy vegetables had minds that functioned like women who were one to two years younger than they actually were, compared to women who ate fewer leafy greens, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Salmon
Your brain loves omega-3 fatty acids, which are thought to play an important role in cognitive function. According to the New York Times describing research in the journal Neurology, low levels of these unsaturated fats in the blood are linked with smaller brain volume and worse performance on certain tests of mental function. Omega-3s, which are found in salmon and other cold-water fish, may also bolster the brainpower of younger adults. According to University of Pittsburgh research published last year, adults under age 25 who increased their omega-3 intake over six months improved their scores on tests measuring working memory.

Article republished from: http://www.rd.com/health/conditions/best-brain-food/


CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES EVENTS

PUB BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION AT METTA PRESCHOOL @PUNGGOL
29 January 2016

6In our regular bi-monthly CSR initiative with PUB, PUB staff made the day of 16 Preschool@Punggol students when they came down to celebrate the birthdays of children born in the months of January and February.

In view of the Lunar New Year season, arts activities related to the festive period were the theme of the party. Each kid prepared their own Chinese lion mask with help from PUB volunteers in colouring and decorating the tail. The indispensable birthday cake cutting and presents for the birthday girls and boys completed the memorable and joyful day for the children.

HANDMADE EDIBLE TREATS WITH PRESCHOOL @SIMEI
19 February 2016

7As part of its ongoing volunteering programme with Metta, staff of NKF volunteered their time to join Preschool@Simei students in a baking craft session. Coming well equipped with cookie moulds and ingredients, the NKF volunteers helped the students create various cookie shapes and designs in a hands-on ‘Play Doh’ session. The children’s creativity were unleashed by creating works of edible art in a theme of the festive Lunar New Year.

INTERACTIVE LEARNING PLAYGROUND AT THE CITY WITH METTA PRESCHOOL @SIMEI
24 February 2016

8Staff from Siemens Postal, Parcel & Airport Logistics Pte. Ltd. (SPPAL) took a day off to bring our preschoolers to The City at Liang Court. The City is an Interactive Learning Playground that brings an exciting, first-of-its-kind children’s indoor ‘playground’. Role play & pretend play experiences in realistic environments and scenarios such as being in a supermarket, a doctor’s office and superhero rooms were among the settings to enrich the child’s playful imagination. It was both fun and educational at the same time as the children were enthusiastically trying on various costumes with the volunteers engaging them in the role play.

From the looks of it, it was definitely a fun-filled enjoyable experience for our students!

LUNAR NEW YEAR FESTIVITIES WITH METTA DAY REHABILIATION CENTRE FOR THE ELDERLY
20 February 2016

9A team of energetic staff from Eelit Placement Agency LLP spent a fulfilling day with elderly clients from the Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Mr. Desmond Choo, MP for Tampines Changkat made his appearance as the Guest-of-Honour to the event when he mingled with the elderly. Volunteers from Eelit arrived early in the morning to pack the goodie bags and distributed them to the elderly later in the afternoon. Everyone was treated to a lion dance performance from Metta School, a Chinese dance by Metta’s multi-cultural staff and volunteers, an entertaining magic show act, the indispensable auspicious lou-hei tossing, and a vegetarian buffet lunch. A special appearance by the God of Fortune brought smiles to the faces of our clients as each took home a hong bao.


MY STORY

WHERE THE SMALLEST SUCCESS ARE THE MOST JOYOUS
Name: Rachel Tan Wei-Lin
Age: 21 years old

10Every little step and every little achievement is a milestone for 21 year old demure Rachel Tan Wei-Lin. While most of her peers are in tertiary education or basking in the latest trends, Rachel, who is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at a young age, face basic challenges such as social interactions with people around her.

Rachel was a graduate from Metta School which she transitioned to Metta’s Alumni  programme for youths with special needs upon her graduation. These youths undergo an apprenticeship to be skilled in either the arts or in an F&B setting. For Rachel, the new role at Arts@Metta was a dream come true as that could mean unleashing her creativity and self-expression in the world of colours. Among the creative art pieces done by Rachel are cross stitching works and acrylic paintings which are made into bookmarks, bags, and handphone charms for sale.

As Rachel spends her youth with her equally like-minded and cheerful colleagues at Arts@Metta, she has also improved on her interaction skills and ability to adapt to new changes in the environment. She has opened up to her mentors and gained more courage to ask for assistance from the people around her. Fortunately for Rachel, she has the strong support from her mother who guides her patiently which helps bolster her development.

Looking forward, Rachel hopes to be able to be more self-reliant and independent as she gets older. For youths like Rachel, the support of a good social community is essential to give them a chance to experience self-reliance, proper work conduct, responsibility, employment and develop good social skills.


SHOUT OUT

WE HAVE FINALLY FOUND A NAME FOR METTA’S ELEPHANT MASCOT!

11.jpgAmong the many entries poured in on our Facebook page since January 2016, it was a tough decision for our judges to determine the winner as all entries were equally creative. After much deliberation, we would like to congratulate two Facebook fans for their entries and winning the contest.

Congratulations to Jane Chong and Pulu Pumen Pulu for their creative entries. Metta’s elephant mascot is now called Ello the Precious!

Winner 1: Pulu Pumen Pulu
Submission: Precious the Metta Elephant
Why was the name chosen:

In Buddhism, the elephant is a symbol of strength. Exhibiting noble gentleness, the mammal represents the symbol of the calm majesty possessed by one who is on the path.

Winner 2: Jane Chong
Submission: MettaEllo
Why was the name chosen:
A cute name that would convey a happy mascot because Ello sounds like Hello.

METTA’S VOLUNTEERING SERVICES ARE NOW AVAILABLE AT THE TOUCH OF YOUR FINGERS!

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Metta Welfare Association has recently launched a new FREE mobile app that makes tracking of our upcoming fundraising events, various welfare centre’s information and best of all, registering and tracking the progress of your volunteer application a breeze!

What you can expect:
Volunteering Opportunities – Registration now made easy on the app. Be a volunteer at our events, activities and our various welfare centres islandwide. Get alerts on your volunteering sign-ups.

Event Updates – Receive updates on events from Metta such as our community fundraising activities with easy participation and sign up through the app.

Publications – Read the latest bi-monthly Metta News from the app. Get updated on the latest CSR activities, news, information, health tips and inspirational stories of our clients.

Donate – Easy, fuss-free online donation to do your part in helping the less privileged.

Metta App is currently available on GOOGLE PLAY.

The Metta Charity Carnival 2016 Is Back Again!

Date: 20 March 2016
Venue: Metta Building
Time: 9am – 4pm

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Metta Welfare Association (MWA) recently celebrated its annual mega, family-bonding charity carnival in the heartlands.  Gracing the event was Guest-of-Honour, Ms Jessica Tan, MP for East Coast GRC and Advisor to East Coast GRC GROs, who flagged off the 3-km Charity Walk around Simei estate that preceded the carnival.

 

After the invigorating walk, participants were greeted by a gastronomic endless array of vegetarian spreads from mouth-watering dim sums, vegetarian kong bak paus (braised ‘pork’ buns), potato spring rolls, rich and savoury lontongs and laksa, sushi, and many more.

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Making a unique highlight to the Carnival this year is a Sherlock Holmes-style, Metta Adventure Discovery Trail. Participants have to hunt around Metta’s premise to uncover answers in order to win a prize in a sure-win lucky dip.

And what is a carnival without the bazaar of good deals from fashionable shoes, bags and costume jewellery, to attractive terrariums, electrical appliances, health food products and many more!

Not forgetting the little ones as they immerse themselves in bouncy castle inflatables, joyride on animal kiddy rides and indulge themselves in challenging Gladiator inflatables games!

Entertaining the masses are a non-stop programme of stage performances from Metta School; Compassvale Secondary School; Serangoon Secondary School; Bollywood dance group, Dedancestar; balloon sculpting, Lion Dance, and many more!

IF YOU MISSED BEING WITH US AT THE RECENT METTA CHARITY CARNIVAL 2016, BOOKMARK YOUR CALENDAR AND JOIN US FOR NEXT YEAR!

As part of the Metta Charity Carnival 2016’s success, we like to thank one of our sponsor for their support in our cause.

French restaurant OCF Singapore, at Arts House at The Old Parliament, serves up classic French cuisine with top-notch wines. It’s sister establishment, Olivia & Co. Bistro with their inspiration from world cuisines, are both pleased to be among the sponsors for the Metta Charity Carnival 2016.

More on OCF Singapore: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pckG3RBOb38

 

 

 

Touch a Life, Foster a Child

Every year in Singapore, hundreds of children and youths are unable to remain with their parents. These children are in critical need of safe and loving foster homes. More than just a roof over their heads, foster families provide these children with care, nurture and a safe and conducive home environment in which to thrive.

Currently, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) are piloting a recruitment project to recruit more foster families for children above 7 years of age, children with high care needs, and sibling groups of 2-3 siblings as many such children are still waiting to be placed in a loving home.

For more information on the Fostering Scheme, please call 6354 8799 or visit www.msf.gov.sg/fostering

Combined brochure 5

Metta e-Newsletter: Vol 20 Issue 1

2015 IN REVIEW

A quick walk through at the major events and fundraisers of yesteryear as we bid 2015 goodbye!

METTA LUNAR NEW YEAR BLESSING CEREMONY cum ‘LOU HEI’ BUFFET LUNCHEON
28 Feb 2015
Metta Building

7.jpgThe annual Lunar New Year buffet luncheon is held in appreciation of its charitable donors, volunteers and supporters for their dedicated contributions to the organisation over the year. The God of Fortune mascot made an auspicious visit as he delighted everyone with his sudden presence.

The luncheon was preceded by the auspicious yu sheng tossing ceremony when everyone tried their best to toss the ingredients as high as they could go for luck and fortune.

METTA CHARITY WALK cum FAMILY CARNIVAL 2015
22 Mar 2015
Metta School/Building

5.jpgThe annual family-themed carnival put together a carefully handpicked selection of treats and offerings as it went into “Singapore Revisted”. Into its 18th year, the event combines a healthy 3km morning walk and a carnival packed with delish foods, fun games, lucky draws and entertaining stage performances for all ages. Guest-of-Honour, Ms Jessica Tan, MP for East Coast GRC and Advisor to East Coast GRC GROs graced the event opening. The event successfully raise over $227,000 in funds for Metta’s less fortunate beneficiaries, while promoting family and community bonding.

METTA CHARITY GOLF TOURNAMENT 2015
15 & 16 Jul 2015
Tanah Merah Country Club

Sponsor: Keppel Offshore and Marine

6.jpgInto its 16th year, Metta’s annual flagship event enjoys yet another long-time support from its title sponsor, Keppel Offshore and Marine. Guest-of-Honour is Senior Advisor of Keppel Corporation Limited, Mr Choo Chiau Beng graced the event for Keppel.

A gala dinner bash for the two-day tournament saw entertaining acts from our talented students from Metta School who displayed and enthralled the audience with their magnificent performances.

LUNAR SEVENTH MONTH CHARITY AUCTIONS 2015
7 Jul 2015
Metta Building

4.jpgThis annual cultural event officiates the start of the month-long lunar seventh month as it thanks the temples, 7th month organising committees, auctioneers, donors and volunteers for their warm support to Metta’s fundraising efforts.

The highlight for 2015’s auspicious centrepiece is the “Vessels of Double Blessings” (“欢喜壶”) intricately carved out of Liu Li and a symbolism that all good things should come in a pair

METTA CHARITY RUN 2015
5 Sept 2015
Big Splash, East Coast Park

Running for its 6th year, this adrenalin pumping event symbolises the significance of journeying with the less fortunate. The sporting event aims to foster community bonding and get the hearts and feet of participants moving in favour of a good cause and a healthy lifestyle.

METTA CHARITY BOWL 2015
31 Oct 2015
SAFRA, Tampines

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For its 2nd year, Metta held its indoor sporting event, the Metta Charity Bowl 2015 as part of its fundraising efforts to support its programmes and services while increasing the awareness of the abilities of our clients. Teams consisted of corporate partners paired with beneficiaries from Metta Home and Metta School.

METTA SHINE NIGHT 2015
6 Nov 2015
ITE College East

8.jpgYet another talent hunt among the beneficiaries of Metta! This 12th year event saw a myriad of creative and entertaining song and dance performances from students of Metta School and staff of Metta Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly.


UPCOMING HAPPENINGS

METTA CHARITY CARNIVAL 2016
Date: 20 March 2016
Venue: Metta Building
Time: 9am – 4pm

Come join us at the annual Metta Charity Carnival 2016 for a fun-filled, family-bonding experience that will fascinate everyone! Metta Welfare Association (MWA) is holding its annual mega, family-bonding charity carnival once again in the heartlands.

2.jpgThe Carnival will be graced by Guest-of-Honour, Ms Jessica Tan, MP for East Coast GRC. A healthy leisure 3-km walkathon precedes the start of the carnival around the estate of Simei.

Feeling famished after a long stroll? Indulge and fill those bellies as our various stalls whip up a gastronomic array of vegetarian spreads from mouth-watering dim sums, rich and savoury lontongs and laksa, sushi, and succulent lotus leaf wrapped dumplings.

A special highlight for the Charity Carnival 2016 is an exciting adventure discovery trail. Purchase a booklet of coupons worth $50 to participate in this challenging treasure hunt quiz. Play Sherlock Holmes as you scour the building for the correct answers. Complete all 10 questions and redeem a prize.

Miniature pet lovers would definitely not want to miss this carnival as a petting zoo is amongst our showcase highlights. Be lost in a world of exotic rabbit breeds while you cuddle them and have a photo taken.

Hunt down the best deals from fashionable shoes, bags and costume jewellery, to attractive terrariums, electrical appliances, health food products and many more!

Get your little ones hyped up when they bounce on giant inflatables, peddle on kiddy rides and indulge themselves in challenging games!

What’s a carnival without any entertainment, surprise goodie bags and lucky draw. Win attractive prizes and stay on for exciting performances in a kaleidoscope of enchanting songs, acts and dance.

DON’T MISS ALL THAT EXCITEMENT! JOIN US NOW!!

To purchase Coupons or register for the Charity Walk, please visit www.metta.org.sg/mettacarnival2016/ for more information.

* Metta Welfare Association plays a pivotal role in realising its mission through nine welfare centres located islandwide. Currently serving over 1000 beneficiaries from various races and religions, these centres are segregated into the areas of Disability Care, Medical Care, Children Care, Special Education and Alumni Care. Metta aims to deliver a holistic approach of development and enrichment programmes for its beneficiaries through the efforts of its fundraising activities.


HEALTHWISE

The Sugar Wars: Using Diet to Treat ADHD Symptoms in Children

Simple changes in diet, like cutting back on snacks with sugar, could bring out the sweeter side in your child with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).

1With festive seasons of indulging in sweet treats coming back to back, chances are your child will find it irresistible in popping that candy or sweet drinks in his mouth.
And you’ve might had the following chat with the doctor of your child with attention deficit disorder (ADHD) — probably just before the holidays…

“Every time Johnny has lots of sugar in his diet, his symptoms of ADHD worsen, and he becomes irritable and hyper. I dread this season because Johnny turns it into unhappy days for everyone.”

Your doctor leans back in his leather chair and says, “What your child eats has nothing to do with his behaviour! There is no research that supports this idea.”

Think again. While some studies have found no correlation between sugar and increased hyperactivity in ADHD children, other studies on nutrition suggest that some ADHD kids are “turned on” by copious amounts of sweet stuff.

A study conducted by the University of South Carolina concluded that the more sugar hyperactive children consumed, the more destructive and restless they became. A study conducted at Yale University indicates that high-sugar diets may increase inattention in some ADHD kids.

So where does this leave you, in between birthday cupcakes, holiday treats, and summer ice cream? Don’t panic. The first thing to do is to determine whether sugar affects your child the way it affected children in the studies. Start by removing as much sugar, corn syrup, and other natural sweeteners as you can from his diet for 10 days — a difficult but doable task!

On the eleventh day, give him a sugar test, stirring a tablespoon of sugar into 100 percent pure fruit juice. Does he kick it up a gear or three in terms of hyperactivity? Does he have less ability to focus? If yes, you have your answer.

Healthy Holidays

It’s time to go on sugar alert. But how can you possibly cut back on sweets during the holidays? Here are some strategies:

Set a good example at parties by giving out sugar-free mints. If candy is a must, then look for white peppermints sweetened with sorbitol.

Manage the candy your child consumes at Lunar New Year house visitations. You can make a deal beforehand about exactly how much candy he can consume at each visitation.

Substitute nuts, a platter of fresh veggies, or colourful fruits with tasty dips for the chocolates and sweets served at gatherings.

Serve chilled punch, made with 100 percent fruit juice, in holiday cups. Avoid fruit “drinks” or “cocktails,” both of which are higher in sugar. When serving juice, accompany it with sides of wholegrain biscuits or crackers. The fibre in the whole grain will help maintain steady blood sugar levels.

Sounds like a lot of work, and it is. But if your child is less hyperactive and inattentive, everyone benefits!

Article republished from: http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/2861.html

Metta e-Newsletter: Vol 19 Issue 4


presidentReviving the Child in Us
When we are children we seldom think of what’s to come. This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can. The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind. There is nothing more pure than the innocence of a child’s laughter.

Children’s Day is a day celebrated to honour all children in the world; a day where every child can unleash himself/herself as a child.

The month of September and October is a joyful one for most of us as we relish in the spirit of the festivities for everyone young and old, even as we passed and celebrated the recent nation’s milestone of 50 years of independence in a jubilee celebration on 9 August 2015.

I am happy that this Children’s Day celebrations has given the opportunity for participating organizations and their volunteers to come together in a meaningful cause to make a difference in the lives of our students at Metta School and Metta Preschool.

I wish to thank our stakeholders, donors and volunteers for walking the path with us all these years as your dedication and contribution have helped made all this possible for our students and beneficiaries. Together, let us join our hands and realise the dreams of our children.

Yours in the Dharma
Venerable Shi Pu En


RECENT & UPCOMING EVENTS

KEPPEL OFFSHORE & MARINE – METTA CHARITY GOLF 2015
15 & 16 July 2015
Tanah Merah Country Club

mettagolf

The recently ended annual flagship fundraising event held consecutively over two days at the Tanah Merah Country Club proved to be another successful collaboration between title sponsor, Keppel Offshore and Marine and Metta Welfare Association. Joining us again as our Guest-of-Honour is Mr. Choo Chiau Beng, Senior Advisor to Keppel Corporation.

With over 200 golfers joining us in our 16th charity golf tournament, the fundraising event raised over $250,000 on both days.

Despite inclement weather hampering a few hours of game play, it did not dash the spirits of our golfers as they gamely took to the course when the skies cleared up.

The programme ended with a sumptuous dinner and performances by our students from Metta School. In recognition of the long stalwart support with Metta, we presented the first ever Metta Star Partner award to Keppel Offshore and Marine during the award presentation segment that evening.

METTA SHINE NIGHT 2015
6 November 2015
ITE College East

Into its 12th year, Metta Shine Night will be making another comeback with its annual talent repertoire among students, clients and staff of Metta’s various welfare centres.

You can expect to see entertaining highlight performances such as lion and dragon dance, percussion Stomp Warriors, captivating Circus Arts stunts and joint performance collaboration with ITE College East.

Held at the ITE College East on 6 November 2015, this line-up of performances will take on a Singaporean feel to the stage as it embraces our local arts, culture and heritage.

*Photos taken from Metta Shine Night 2014.

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HEALTH WISE

10 Foods for the Growing Child
A dietitian’s tips for preparing healthy foods for children.

During a child’s growing years, foods that supply protein, calcium, iron and vitamins are critical to their growth and development, says Dr Han Wee Meng, Head and Senior Principal Dietitian at the Nutrition and Dietetics Department, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH). Without them, children may be stunted and, in serious cases, it can impact the development of their mental and motor skills. These nutrients are present in the major food groups – grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy and protein foods.

Here are Dr Han’s 10 top picks for a healthy diet for your child:

  1. Berries
    Strawberries and blueberries are rich in vitamin C, antioxidants and phytochemicals. They protect healthy cells from damage, boosting the immune system.
  2. Eggs
    High in protein and vitamins, eggs are one of the richest sources of choline – an essential nutrient that aids brain development.
  3. Cow’s milk
    It is a good source of calcium and phosphorous, which are important for building bones and muscles. Serve full-fat milk, not low-fat or skimmed varieties, if your child is not yet two years old. Unless she is overweight, she will need the extra energy to grow.
  4. Peanut butter
    Rich in monounsaturated fats, peanut butter provides children with energy and protein. However, some brands contain added salt, sugar, palm oil and partially hydrogenated fats, which reduce nutritional quality.
  5. Wholegrain foods
    Fibre in these foods maintains digestive health and prevents constipation.
  6. Meat
    It is a great source of protein and iron. Iron optimises brain development and function, and supports the immune system.
  7. Fish
    Packed with protein, fish helps build healthy muscles and bones. Oily fish like salmon, tuna and sardines also contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which support eye, brain and nerve development.
  8. Cheese
    Filled with protein, calcium, phosphorous and vitamin D, cheese is great for healthy bone growth.
  9. Broccoli
    It is packed with nutrients that optimise eye development and ward off cell damage. It also provides lots of fibre that boosts digestion and prevents constipation.
  10. Brightly coloured fruits and vegetables
    These include carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato, tomato and papaya, which are high in beta carotene and other carotenoids that are converted into active vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential for good skin and vision, growth and repair of body tissues.

Article taken from: http://www.healthxchange.com.sg/healthyliving/childrenhealth/Pages/10-foods-for-the-growing-child.aspx


SHOUT OUT

We are accredited the Singapore Quality Class certification!!

sqc

As Singapore attains a milestone in celebrating its 50th Anniversary, Metta Welfare Association too celebrates its attainment of SQC accreditation in Metta’s Business Excellence journey.

We thank our team of dedicated staff and partners for their continuous support in moving ahead with us.

Metta Cafe is now Halal certified!

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We thank you for your great support as we look forward to your continued patronage and hope to better serve our Muslim friends too!
See you at Metta Café!

Metta Café is open daily from 7am to 5pm, except on public holidays.


REVIVING THE CHILD IN US

Reviving the Child in Us: Metta School SG50 Celebrations
Contributed by Liu Ho Pui Han, Metta School Vice-Principal

school-sg50

This year, Metta School is celebrating SG50 in line with the national overall theme – all Singaporeans to celebrate as one people.

Several activities have been planned and spread across the months.  We hope that with this mix of programmes, everyone at Metta School will be able to find something enjoyable and meaningful as we celebrate SG50 as one people.

From February onwards, there was an Art Competition for all students to take part. Students were to draw pictures entitled ‘My Singapore’. Many beautiful art pieces were created. Another contest was on Photography, with the theme ‘Appreciating the Past’. It was open to all and responses were overwhelming. Winning entries from both contests were creative and of high standards.

The highlights of the celebration was in March. It started with Sports Corner on 6th March. On that day, all students at Metta School enjoyed a day of sporting activities such as Captain’s Ball, Bowling Challenge, flip corners, hoop walk, basketball shoot-out and tele-matches for both AM & PM sessions. Every student took part in the event and medals were presented for their participation.

On 13th March, an exciting cooking competition was held. A total of 12 teams came up with creative ideas to fuse local and western dishes together. Teams comprised of students, staff & friends of Metta School. Prizes were presented to the winning teams whose dishes were created with as many “Singapore elements” as possible.

On 22nd March, Metta School collaborated with Metta Welfare Association in organizing SG 50 Metta Charity Walk cum Family Carnival.

It was a joyous occasion for all Metta School students, their family members, school staff, friends in the community – from our CC & RC neighbourhood and our partners, to come together and immerse themselves in an array of activities. The highlights included sports, games, arts, entertainment and savouring “True Singaporean” food.

Early that morning, our Guest of Honour, Ms Jessica Tan, MP for East Coast GRC & Advisor for East Coast GRC GROs, arrived at Metta School and flagged off for the run. There were also stage performances, stall exhibits and most exciting of all- our Metta Kampung on Level 4 – in which authentic Singapore local delicacy including nasi lemak, mee siam, kacang puteh, ice-lolly, malay kueh kueh, vadai, otah and so on were served.  All participants were welcome to have a taste of various items at the food stalls. Children & families also enjoyed themselves in games like chapteh, ground zero, tin can, marbles, five stones and even congkak.

On level 2, in our V Café, winning dishes of the fusion food competition and a specially created Metta Mocktail by our instructor Chairul were prepared for all to enjoy as well.

On 26 July, 40 of our students participated in the national “Youth Celebrate!” event. One of our students was selected to join in the Record Setting Feat with hundreds of others on that day. Metta School student, Soh Wei Lun, was among the swimmers to participate in both feats “Largest Floating Singapore Flags” and “Most Number of Laps Swam in One Hour”.

The whole SG50 Celebration not only provides a good opportunity for bonding and harmonious interaction amongst members & friends of Metta School, but also fosters deeper emotional ties and cultivating a stronger sense of belonging to the nation.

HAPPY 50TH BIRTHDAY SINGAPORE!

preschool-sg50

Our chirpy teachers and occupational therapists at Metta Preschool in Simei and Punggol organised a National Day celebration for the little tots to commemorate this major milestone in our nation’s history.

It was an afternoon filled with games and songs, singing the National Anthem and National Day songs and reciting of the national pledge. Among the fun activities, the children participated in art and craft and cookie-making to resemble mini Singapore flags!


COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT EVENT

ITG Cup – The Great Tee-Off

itg

Metta Cafe is proud to be the beneficiary of the recent ITG, organised by PTC System(s) Pte Ltd. An annual event for the IT End-users vs IT Vendors to pitch their skills in a golf game, the golfing tournament took place at Sembawang Country Club on 28 July 2015 which saw over a hundred golfers strutting their pitch, raising a gross amount of approximately $70,000 in aid of Metta Café programmes and services, whose mission is to train and create employment opportunities for youths with special needs.

Official Opening of Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly’s Kampung Garden

commwork214 August 2015 marks a celebratory day for Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly (Metta) as it saw the official opening of the centre’s Kampung Garden.  This is made possible with the generous donation by Mizuho Bank, Ltd. (Mizuho), Garden City Fund and the Community in Bloom of National Parks Board.

Under NParks’ Community in Bloom programme, the staff of Mizuho had raised a total of $20,888 to help set up a lush landscaped garden with a kampung theme. This garden provides opportunities for the centre’s clients to get in touch with nature through gardening.

The official opening was graced by Guest-of-Honour, Ms Irene Ng, MP for Tampines Changkat; Mr Guan Yeow Kwang, Senior Joint-General Manager, Management team of Mizuho; Venerable Shi Pu En, Metta’s Executive Director; and Ms Loh Chay Hwee, Assistant Director of Community in Bloom, National Parks Board.

Ms Ng helped care for the plants in the garden together with centre’s clients, and the pioneers of the Kampung Garden project. To ensure a beautiful set up for the garden, Mizuho’s staff also helped to paint the concrete walls of the raised planter beds.

With the successful opening of the Kampung Garden, we look forward to more volunteers stepping forward to help us maintain our little vegetable and fruit plot.

Racial Harmony cum Hari Raya Celebration with Walton International

commwork3Real estate investment company, Walton International, celebrated an enjoyable belated Racial Harmony Day cum Hari Raya with the elderly clients from Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly on 24 July 2015. Organised by the staff of Walton International, our elderly had fun engaging in rewarding games such as Pass the Parcel, Bingo, rolling the dice and passing rubber bands on chopsticks challenge.

In conjunction with the festive Hari Raya season, green packets were given out to the elderly clients as well as a celebration of sponsored birthday cakes for clients whose birthday fell in July. The fruitful day ended with an entertaining karaoke session by the volunteers and our elderly clients.

Standard Chartered Bank CSR – Mural Wall Painting

commwork4

Kudos to approximately 20 staff and interns from Standard Chartered Bank who took time off their busy work schedule to engage in a CSR activity with us on 20 July by painting murals on the walls around the perimeter of our compound. Their enthusiastic goodwill shows in the creativity that can be clearly displayed in their final artwork. Thanks you SCB for brightening up our premises!


NURTURING TIES

Caregiving of a Child with Special Needs
Contributed by Metta Preschool Occupational Therapists, Ms Juntado Amelia Tungcol and Ms Belga Heidi Vasquez

occupationCaregivers are facing more challenges in caring for their children with special needs in areas of academic work, socialization, and integration into society. Many find it difficult to teach their child about concepts and how to apply it academically, making friends, engaging in communication and interaction, and to perform usual daily activities similar to their peers in an outdoor environment. Occupational therapists and paramedical staff can contribute to the child’s quality of life by providing additional education and training to the caregivers.

We share some strategies by our therapists in training caregivers with a child with special needs:

  • Education: The therapist acknowledges the caregiver’s role in the improvement and the child’s quality of life. Among the treatment plan is education for caregivers about therapy goals, strategies and training.
  • Flexibility: The therapist appreciates the caregiver’s responsibilities and demands of their role. They adjust the training methods in consideration of the caregiver’s demands and expect repetition and changes in information and instructions.
  • Showing empathy: Making an effort to empathize with the worries of the caregivers, the therapist is always ready and patiently addresses their concerns accordingly.
  • Continuous caregiving: The therapist collaborates with staff from the paramedical team to ensure that the caregiving process is continuous. When necessary, they refer the caregiver to respective professionals for additional education and counselling.
  • Practical learning: The therapist transfers their knowledge from preschool to the child’s home setting. Home visits are conducted to assess the environment and to give practical suggestions and strategies to the caregiver in coaching the child.
  • Recommends additional support: The therapist identifies and suggests possible resources, therapy centres, training, courses, or workshops for continued caregiver education and support for the future.

Indeed, caregiving is a rewarding but challenging role. However, the challenges can be overcome with collaborative efforts between educators and the full support of the child’s family members in achieving his maximum independence and attain a better quality of life.


MY STORY

The Attitude of Gratitude
Name: Zheng Yu Kai
Age: 34 years old

beneficiaryFor most folks in their mid-30s, life is mostly about settling into a good career and/or starting a young family. However, not everyone is able to attain this milestone in life.

34 year old Zheng Yu Kai is just blessed to be able to communicate in a smattering of English and hold a colour pencil to sketch colourful simple art pieces. Born with cerebral palsy and intellectual disability, Yu Kai has been a client of Metta Home Day Activity Centre (MHDAC) for 15 years. The middle of 3 children, Yu Kai’s mother is a housewife and caregiver to the young man who attends Metta Home’s day care service from Monday to Friday.

In a one to one setting, Metta’s training officers would constantly engage with Yu Kai to train his social and interaction skills with simple tasks such as learning to call the training officers and fellow clients by their names. Yu Kai also loves music as he would get into a little dance by himself whenever music is being played. This a far cry from his usual self when Yu Kai first came to Metta Home Day Activity Centre. An extremely non-social and quiet youth, Yu Kai would not talk to anyone nor engage in any social activities. Life hasn’t been easy for Yu Kai as he struggles with basic motor and social skills.

“When Yu Kai first joined us, he didn’t know simple tasks such as holding a pencil or even interacting with anyone around him. “
DAC Training Supervisor, John Tan

With the help of Metta’s training officers and years of patient coaching, Yu Kai has gradually opened up and progressed beyond his extremely introverted self. The cheerful young man is now capable of sketching simple rainbow hued art pieces and engage in basic community games and activities, such as passing of the ball. With much progress, John and his team of dedicated staff hopes that one day, Yu Kai’s art pieces would be displayed in an arts exhibition.

Metta e-Newsletter: Vol 19 Issue 3

A SG50 Special: Celebrating the Nation’s Milestone

president2015 marks a special milestone for Singapore as she turns 50 this year. Throughout the goliath challenges yet meaningful moments in the last half century, it is a good time for us to reflect on who we are and how far we have come together. Just as turning 50 is about looking ahead as it is about looking back, the achievements of our pioneer generation and diligence of our younger generation will propel our nation’s stability to even greater heights.

While we celebrate the joyous moment, we should never forget the community at large, especially the less privileged and disadvantaged sections of our society.

To mark this special occasion, our various centres have come up with their own initiatives to spread the joy with our beneficiaries as we commemorate Singapore’s 50th anniversary since independence.

I like to take this opportunity to thank our pioneer generation staff, volunteers and donors who have devoted their time, efforts and dedicated contributions to Metta. We are motivated to create a bigger impact on the many who are with us on this meaningful journey. Together, let us engender a more inclusive society in our community.

With Triple Gems Blessings
Venerable Shi Fa Zhao BBM


UPCOMING EVENTS

LUNAR 7TH MONTH CHARITY AUCTION 2015

auction

The Lunar 7th Month Charity Auction 2015 is an annual cultural fundraising event of Metta to raise funds for the programs and services for its various nine welfare centres.

The highlight for this year’s auspicious centrepiece is the “Vessels of Double Blessings” (“欢喜壶”) intricately carved out of Liu Li and a symbolism that all good things should come in a pair.

For more information or to purchase the “Vessels of Double Blessings” (“欢喜壶”), please visit www.metta.org.sg/hq/index.php/lunar-7th-month-charity-auctions/

METTA CHARITY RUN 2015
5 September 2015
East Coast Park (Big Splash)

runThe Metta Charity Run dashes into its sixth year in support of charity and community bonding while promoting a healthy lifestyle with a non-competitive run. The run which comprises of a 10km, 5km and a Parent and Child 1.5km Fun Run category will test the endurance of adults and entertain the little ones with fun and games. This year, we are honoured to have Siemens Pte Ltd joining us as our Platinum Sponsor to raise funds for the development and enrichment of our disability, medical, special education and early intervention programmes in aid of some 1,000 beneficiaries from various races and religions.

Look out for attractive goodie bags and exciting lucky draw prizes during the carnival. This is a healthy family sporting event not to be missed!

If you have a passion for running and like to run for a good cause, register with us at: www.metta.org.sg/hq/index.php/metta-charity-run-2015/

Can’t join to run for us but want to do your part for charity? Now you can when you help us fundraise for the Metta Charity Run 2015 at: https://www.simplygiving.com/event/mettarun2015

We’ll see you on the big day!!golf


HEALTH WISE

5 Tips to A Healthy Diet After 50

After the age of 50, the goal of one’s diet is to maintain weight, consume heart-healthy foods and, above all, stay strong!

Use the following 5 tips to live your 50s in fabulous health and avoid age-related illnesses.

  1. Add B12 to your daily supplements
    health1B12 supports healthy nerve and blood cells needed to make DNA. B12 is primarily found in fish and meat. As we age, our stomach acid decreases, making it more difficult to absorb nutrients such as B12.
  2. Really cut back on salt
    health2A high salt diet puts us at risk for hypertension which is a danger for cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Most salt in the average diet comes from processed foods. Cut back and eventually forego processed foods to aim for 1500 mg or less sodium per day.
  3. Check your multivitamin for Iron — and toss it if it has
    health3The average woman experiences menopause at age 50. After menopause, the need for iron decreases to 8 mg of iron a day. And excess of iron leads to toxicity because the body doesn’t have a natural way to excrete iron; too much can cause liver or heart damage and even death.
  4. Pay more attention to calcium and vitamin D
    health4Due to gastric and hormone changes, vitamin D levels (which is needed to absorb calcium) and calcium absorption tank around age 40. Postmenopausal women have an increased risk of osteoporosis because of their lack of estrogen. The body after 50 will break down more bone than it will build. Ideally, it’s ideal to consume adequate calcium before age 30.
  5. Eat like a Greek!
    health5When researchers looked at the populations in the world that had the most people over the age of 100, they noticed a common theme: the Mediterranean diet. A 2000 study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that the Mediterranean diet (which includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, moderate wine consumption and olive oil) was associated with longer survival.

Original articled extracted from: http://health.clevelandclinic.org/2013/05/5-tips-to-stay-fit-after-50-2/


NURTURING TIES

Parenting a Child with Global Developmental Delay
Contributed by Ms Evania Yeo, Metta Preschool Educational Psychologist

parenting

Children younger than 5 years old who fail to meet expected developmental milestones in multiple areas of motor, speech and language, cognition, social functioning, and activities of daily living are described to be having Global Developmental Delay (GDD). In this article, we share with you on strategies for parenting a child with GDD.

Children with GDD often experience difficulties with academic work. They may also face challenges in social skills and poor daily living skills such as feeding or dressing. If left untreated, this may contribute to behavioural problems such as task avoidance, low self-esteem or depression.
To help your child with learning difficulties, it is important for you to understand his current level of functioning. Learning is more effective when adults use multiple modalities (visual, auditory, tactile, and kinaesthetic) to guide them.

For example, when teaching a child to recognise an alphabet, parents can use the following methods:

  • Visual learning: use Flashcards that show the letter A, read books and look for words that contain the letter.
  • Auditory learning: Play songs that reinforce letter A, such as the ABC song, or phonics songs.
  • Tactile learning: Practice writing letter A on paper, chalkboard, sand or finger paint the letter. Or create the letter with clay.
  • Kinaesthetic learning: Find letter A in a child’s environment, such as on car plates and posters.Play games like freeze game or dance to the YMCA song.

Parents can read up more about the stages of communication from the book “More Than Words”, by Fern Sussman. The book provides practical strategies for each stage, increasing their understanding of activities so that they can respond to what their parents say.

Parents are encouraged to plan activities before carrying them out with their child, and think about their own teaching methods and interaction to better improve on them.

Parenting is never an easy job, so remember to reward yourself and your child at the end of the day for the good effort!


MAKE A WISH

Metta Hospice Care Make-A-Wish: Fulfilling the Dreams of Our Beneficiaries
Contributed by Mr Tay Jia Sen, Metta Hospice Care Counsellor

make-a-wish

As part of the Singapore Ireland Fund’s philanthropic initiative, Metta Hospice beneficiaries, Mr Koh Howe Chua and Mdm Zaleha Bt Syed Sidek got the chance to experience the Tulipmania Floral Display on 24 April 2015 for their first trip to the Gardens by The Bay.

Due to the onset of their medical condition, Mr Koh and Mdm Zaleha spend most of their time indoors as they tire easily if they travelled long distances. This is in contrast to the active lifestyle led by the two beneficiaries prior to their illnesses. Unfortunately, the opportunities for them to experience more outdoor activities were limited as their family members found it logistically challenging to take them out.
The two beneficiaries enjoyed the sight and smells of the flowers’ sweet aroma in the cool atmosphere of the flower dome. It was truly an outing not to be forgotten!


COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Kite Flying with The Associates & Advisors’ Clique
Date: 25 May 2015
Location: Marina Barrage
Contributed by Ms Eilynn Chin, Community Partnership Executive

community1

An energetic team from Advisors’ Clique, a group of financial consultants representing Great Eastern Financial Advisers, together with their participants from The Associate program, came together at the Marina Barrage to make it a special and enjoyable day for 26 clients of Metta Home Day Activity Centre.
The energetic volunteers guided the clients on the simple craft of kite-making before letting their kites soar into the clear blue skies. Despite the hot weather, our clients enjoyed the cool and vast spaciousness of the Barrage while learning how to fly their kites with the volunteers. It was truly a fun-filled Monday morning to start the week for everyone!

Breathing in Nature for Metta’s IDAC Clients
Date: 12 June 2015
Location: Gardens by the Bay
Contributed by Ms Eilynn Chin, Community Partnership Executive

community2

26 clients of Metta Day Activity Centre for the intellectually Disabled spent a lively eventful day at the Gardens by the Bay with 40 volunteers from Siemens Singapore. The helpful and caring volunteers partnered each client as they toured the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest, taking in the colourful sights of the kaleidoscopic flora in the theme, Flowery Fun Times with Nursery Rhymes, during the outdoor befriending outing.
It was an enjoyable day for all as our clients got close to nature and Siemens volunteers gained exposure in team planning for a large group while learning to interact with Metta’s intellectually disabled clients.

Paint for Home & Hope
Date: June 2015
Location: Metta Day Activity Centre for the Intellectually Disabled

community3

The Nidana Youth Group initiated a community project to help refurbish the worn premises of Metta Day Activity Centre for the Intellectually Disabled in Hougang.

The centre, started in 1995, serves individuals with intellectual disabilities. Over two consecutive weekends in June, the Nidana Youth Group put together their time and effort into giving the centre a brand new look with a fresh coat of paint. They hope that with their efforts, the interior would offer Metta’s clients a more conducive and comfortable environment for learning and interaction.

About the Nidana Youth Group: A youth wing of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, the group is started by passionate youths with the vision that aims to create an impact on youths by being the hub where Buddha’s teachings (Dharma) are shared through meaningful activities.

If you like to volunteer your time or join us for a CSR activity with our clients, you may enquire more at events@metta.org.sg


SG50 Special

Tribute to Our Pioneer Generation Staff and Volunteers

As Singapore turns 50 this year, we would like to take this opportunity to thank and honour our pioneer generation staff and volunteers who have contributed to Metta in their own unique ways.

Thank you for your contributions and being a part of Metta’s achievements and success. We wouldn’t have done it without you!

sg501

Janet Tang, 66 years old
Therapist Aide with Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly since 2000.
“I love working with the elderly and they enjoy my presence. They even try to look for me when I am on leave!”

 

sg502

Lim Kim Chwee, 84 years old.
Volunteer with Arts@Metta since 2013.
“I believe the answer to be healthy in mind and body is to be constantly active. Volunteering lets me keep fit and meet many people from all walks of life.”

 

sg503
Tan Ah Choo, 71 years old.
Volunteer with Metta Welfare Association since 2001.
“Helping out at Metta allows me to return back to society what was given to me”


MY STORY

Love of A Family is Life’s Greatest Blessings.
Name: Mr Lim Sim Lin
Age: 53 years old

mystory

The old adage, blood is thicker than water, holds true for most of us, especially in the case of Mr Lim Sim Lin, a client of Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly. Ever since the 53-year old was struck with a partial right stroke in late 2013, his family have been his pillar of support to his daily needs.

Things was never that glum for Mr Lim who runs a ladies apparel store with his wife in Ang Mo Kio. They were a typical happy Singaporean family who loves holidaying in Thailand and Hong Kong; going to the beach frequently and shopping together. But all this changed when Mr Lim was struck with a sudden stroke in the midst of a family dinner. He was rushed to Changi General Hospital and diagnosed with stroke. Mr Lim spent 3 months in St Andrew’s Community Hospital before he was referred to Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre for The Elderly for rehabilitative physiotherapy.

There, Mr Lim receives strengthening exercises like skater board and hand cycle with the guidance of Metta’s physiotherapists and therapy aides. Gait training, stairs and step climbing are administered to improve his balance and strengthen his lower limbs.

In a matter of 14 months, Mr Lim made tremendous improvements with his mobility and is now less dependent on his family. It is their endearing support that made Mr Lim determined to regain at least at least 70% of his mobility. Looking forward, Mr Lim hopes to re-join his wife in their family business and proudly attend his son’s O Levels graduation without a walking stick.



mission

 

Metta e-Newsletter: Vol 19 Issue 2

Of Compassion and Charity

shifuAs we move ahead in our quest for growth and improvements, we should never forget our roots and return to society what was heaped unto us. This issue focuses on the essence of true charity and compassion. True charity is to give something without expecting anything in return for the gift and Compassion is to show benevolence to earth’s living things and respect for life.

The meritorious deed of charity is highly praised by every religion. Those who have enough to maintain themselves should think of others and extend their generosity deserving cases. Among people who practise charity, there are some who give as a means of attracting others into their religion or creed. Such an act of giving which is performed with the ulterior motive of conversion cannot really be said to be true charity.

The Buddhism views charity as an act to reduce personal greed which is an unwholesome mental state which hinders spiritual progress. A person who is on his way to spiritual growth must try to reduce his own selfishness and his strong desire for acquiring more and more. He should reduce his strong attachment to possessions which, if he is not mindful, can enslave him to greed. What he owns or has should instead be used for the benefit and happiness of others: his loved ones as well as those who need his help.

Whenever somebody is in trouble and needs help, they should respond if they are able to. Furthermore, they should extend the same loving-kindness to society at large, to people of all races and creeds. They can donate liberally according to their ability to worthy causes or they can start nearer to home by extending compassion and aid to their elderly neighbours or helping someone in need. Only by adopting a pure heart with a broad attitude will serve to make one’s life meaningful and rewarding.

Yours in the Dharma
Venerable Shi Pu En
Executive Director
Metta Welfare Association


Lunar New Year Lou Hei Buffet Luncheon 2015
28 February 2015
Metta Building

louhei

In appreciation to our donors, volunteers and supporters from all walks of life, Metta held its annual Lunar New Year Lou Hei Buffet Luncheon in recognition for their dedicated service to the organisation as well as to usher in the New Year.

The lunch isn’t complete without our God of Fortune mascot who popped in for a surprise visit and entertained everyone with upbeat Lunar New Year songs and tossing of ‘luck’. Metta’s Executive Director, Venerable Shi Pu En, officiated the ceremony with a blessing ritual prior to lunch of which commenced with the auspicious starter, tossing of the yu sheng. Everyone eagerly grabbed their chopsticks as they tossed the delectable ingredients as high as they could go, peppered with auspicious Chinese idioms, words and phrases in a symbolism of wealth and luck.

Metta Charity Walk Cum Family Carnival
22 March 2015
Metta Building and Metta School

carnival

The recent ended annual mega Metta Charity Walk cum Family Carnival 2015 proved to be another success as more than 5,000 participants and visitors joined us in the merry making in celebration of the nation’s SG50 anniversary.

In its 18th year, the Metta Charity Walk cum Family Carnival is not complete without the endless choice of delish vegetarian delights and snacks; kiddy rides and games; foodstuff and wares and exciting stage performances to attract anyone.

The event preceded with Ms Jessica Tan, MP for East Coast GRC, flagging off the charity walk at 9am. The hour-long 3km walk commenced from the entrance of Metta Building and looped behind East Point Mall. Participants were greeted with the appetizing smells of foods and the cheery bustle of the crowd when they returned.

Our engaging emcees, Hui Si and partner entertained the crowd with their witty jokes and playful bantering as dance and song performances from Metta School students, various schools and volunteers, enthralled the audiences.

Everyone went off with satisfied happy bellies and cart home bagfuls of  shopping hauls for that day. It was yet another successful carnival for Metta!


Keppel Offshore & Marine-Metta Charity Golf Tournament 2015
15 and 16 July 2015
Tanah Merah Country Club
Title Sponsor: Keppel Offshore and Marine

golf2014

8-1

Into its 16th year, Metta’s annual flagship event enjoys yet another long-time support from its title sponsor, Keppel Offshore and Marine. This year, the event is held over two days at the Tanah Merah Country Club with Metta having the first flights on the first day, and subsequently with Keppel Offshore and Marine having 36 flights on the second day.

Gracing the event for Keppel as the Guest-of-Honour is Senior Advisor of Keppel Corporation Limited, Mr Choo Chiau Beng.

A gala dinner bash for the two-day tournament will expect entertaining acts from our talented students from Metta School who will display and enthral the audience with their magnificent performances.


A Volunteers Tribute Special
This issue plays tribute to the remarkable people who have generously donated their time, expertise and energy to supporting and contributing to Metta Welfare Association. Read on as we uncover two angels who believed in paying it back to society in their own special ways.

Life’s Greatest Lesson

Retiree, Mdm Doris Foo, diligently commutes to Metta Welfare Association every Monday and Wednesday. The eloquent 65-year old senior who used to work as an administrator in a consultancy firm is a volunteer with Arts@Metta since 2013. On other days that she isn’t volunteering, Doris take turns to helps to look after her young grandchild.

5-2Doris is an active and feisty lady. She believes the happiness to active ageing is keeping a healthy mind and body without being an idling retiree. Flexible schedule, a comfortable environment with great like-minded folks, excellent leadership from Alumni Executive, Ms Catherine Wong, are among the many reasons that Doris has continued to be a regular volunteer with Metta.

 

“Keeping a healthy active lifestyle and mind is the answer to active ageing and there’s no better way to it than to give back to society through volunteering.”

Doris Foo, regular volunteer at Arts@Metta

Through her volunteering experience at Arts@Metta also brings about new craft skills and the art of batik painting for Doris. Some of her adhoc duties includes framing the canvas cloths for the alumni youths to create their wonder pieces of batik art.

Doris added that volunteering opportunity allows her to improve on her well-being. Many times, the carefree schedule of being a volunteer makes her less anxious in life as she enjoys what she does. Volunteering also taught Doris new things she never knew before: learning to communicate with youths with special needs. As she shared,

“I never knew much about autism until I volunteered at Metta. This experience opens up my knowledge on how to communicate with people with autism.”

The experience also trains Doris to be a less anxious person and understand the importance of a good teamwork.

An advice that Doris would dish out to younger folks on the volunteerism spirit is to see that society can be more caring, giving and helpful. This way, the world would be a much betterplace to live in.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Filial Piety Beyond Borders
Hairstylist, Li Hui, makes it a point to drop by Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly during his off days to offer free haircuts to the elderly clients because it brings joy and happiness to the 39-year old. A regular volunteer, Li Hui has been volunteering at Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre since July 2014.

5-1At Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre, Li Hui could relate to the elderly clients, many of whom reminds him dearly of his aged parents. Using his hairstyling skills, Li Hui trims the hairs of the elderly clients as each took turns in queueing up for the free haircut.

A quiet man, Li Hui shares that by offering his free service to the elderly clients, he is reminded of his parents back in China. He relates in Mandarin,

 

“I enjoy giving free haircuts to the elderly as this reminds me greatly of my aged parents back home.
Through my simple efforts, I feel this is the best that I can do to honour them in my absence.”

Li Hui, regular volunteer at Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre

Hailing from Hubei, China, Li Hui came to Singapore in 2008. Like most foreigners, Li Hui sought to seek a better prospect for his future.

In a span of 7 years of working in Singapore, Li Hui, has grown to embrace Singapore as his new home. However, the distance and time away has also made him miss his family in China. It wasn’t till a customer of Li Hui introduced the young man to Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre that he found a whole new experience in volunteering.

Li Hui’s volunteer stint at Metta Day Rehabilitation Centre is only the beginning. He hopes to do more for society through other means of volunteerism if he had more time away from work. In the meantime, Li Hui continues to work hard at his dream of opening his own hair salon while returning to society the
blessings that he has been given.


Altruism May Help Shield Teens From Depression

Teens who like to help others may be less likely to develop depression, a new study suggests. The study included 15- and 16-yearolds who were given three types of tasks: give money to others, keep the money for themselves or take financial risks with the hope of earning a reward.

altruismThe researchers monitored activity levels in a brain area called the ventral striatum, which controls feelings of pleasure linked to rewards. The teens were checked for symptoms of depression at the start of the study and a year later.

Activity in the ventral striatum in response to the different types of rewards predicted whether the teens would have an increase or decrease in depression symptoms, according to the study published online recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“If they show higher levels of reward activation in the ventral striatum in the context of the risk-taking task, they show increases in depressive symptoms over time. And if they show higher reward activation in the pro-social context, they show declines in depression,” study author Eva Telzer, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said in a university news release.

“This study suggests that if we can somehow redirect adolescents away from risk-taking or self-centered rewards and toward engaging in these more pro-social behaviors, then perhaps that can have a positive impact on their well-being over time,” she added.

Previous research has shown that teens tend to have higher levels of ventral striatum activity, suggesting that they experience the pleasure of rewards more intensely than adults or younger children, according to the news release. Most of that research has focused on the link between ventral striatum activity and risk-taking by teens.

This study shows that  ventral striatum activity may also have a positive effect in teens, Telzer said.

Original article extracted from: http://news.health.com/2014/04/29/altruism-may-helpshield-teens-from-depression-study/

My Story – Finding Strength in Adversity

6While most teenagers his age are engaged in the latest pop music and trends, Metta School student, Nazri, who has mild intellectual disability, spends most of his youth in KKH (Kandang Kerbau Hospital) battling acute leukaemia.

Nazri was first diagnosed with the condition two years ago during Hari Raya celebrations at home. He fell extremely sick for many days and was referred to the hospital for further checks. At 16, the unfortunate news was a great blow to the boy and his parents. Nazri had to stop attending classes at Metta School and spent the next year at KKH for chemotherapy sessions under close observation. During his hospitalisaion, Nazri was not able to go out of his ward for fear of an infection that might worsen his condition.

Despite his condition, Nazri remains an optimistic teen. He is not saddened by his condition and in fact, accepts it. Thankfully for Nazri, his friends and Metta school teachers and social worker visits him at the hospital regularly. Metta School social worker, Ms Jobina Chia, even brought a laptop for Nazri to play some computer games as he spends his time recuperating. But most of all, Nazri brightens up whenever his mother visits him at KKH. Nazri is immensely grateful to his mother for saving his life when she donated her blood cells to him for his treatment.

As he puts it,

“Without my mother, I wouldn’t have survived. I wouldn’t be here right now.”

Through his personal experience, Nazri hopes to be able to help and counsel other young people who have similar illnesses to overcome their grief and pain. With his cancer gradually in remission, Nazri also dreams to be able to be a commercial pilot one day; flying passengers all over the world and being able to visit less privileged countries to help the less fortunate.


7 Ways To Teach Your Child About Charity

It is said that a family that practices giving and charity inculcates children who will carry on the good habit into their adulthood. While most young people are living in the technological age of the latest electronic smart devices, it is a common sight to see young commuters not giving up their seats to the elderly and needy while on their smart gadgets leading to social media public shaming. How do we evolve from a nation of uncaring citizens to a gracious society where altruistic selflessness could be the next trend in Singapore?

Charity and the spirit of giving have been elevated to a new level in the past few years, following terrible natural disasters, wars, anarchic unrest in other countries, and terrorist attacks around the globe. After
witnessing the horrific images of pain and suffering streaming steadily across their TV sets, more people than ever before have dipped deeper into their own pockets to offer much needed relief to the survivors of unprecedented tragedies.

Some parents are using the destruction delivered by these catastrophes as an opportunity to help children learn about charity and the importance of reaching out to others in their time of need. They have made generous family donations, often involving their children in picking out the charity, writing the cheque, preparing and mailing the envelope or simply to help out at a church service or a welfare organisation as a weekend family activity. They have allowed their children to witness how fortunate it is to be born in an average Singaporean family and not to take life for granted.

Clearly, recent disaster provide an opportune time to teach children about charity. How do parents teach their children to make charity an everyday affair? What if they want the spirit of giving to be a way of life for their children? How do they make charity become a habit?

7

Family Charity Ideas
To help your children acquire the habit of charity, consider implementing the following tips as a family:

  1. Donate clothes and toys
    Periodically go through your closets rooting out clothes you haven’t worn in a while, which can be given to charity organisations. Encourage your children to do the same. Allow them to select which clothes or toys they wish to donate. The value of this activity is diminished greatly if you go through their closets for them without their presence. For maximum benefit, get your children involved in choosing the appropriate items. Take your children with you when you drop the items off at the charitable destination.
  2. Help neighbours
    Regularly engage in a service-oriented project. Offer to clean the house/corridor of an elderly
    neighbour; perform little acts of kindness such as holding the door for others as they enter the
    lift, or even assisting an elderly neighbour if they are struggling with heavy loads.
  3. Give blood
    Take your children with you so they see you as a model for giving. Talk to them about why you choose to donate blood and how a little small effort can save a life.
  4. Make birthdays charitable
    Set up birthday parties as a time for giving to others. At your child’s first school-age birthday party, ask guests to bring a gift of a book (new or used) to be donated to a local charity. Talk to your son about the books he has and about children who have no books. Explain that one way to celebrate a birthday would be to give to those who have less. Involve the birthday boy in the decision of whether not to give the books to charity. When you deliver the books with your child, record it on camera, and revisit that movie (or those pictures) on future birthdays as a remembrance that a birthday is never about oneself, but about sharing the joy and privilege with those who have less.
  5. Include pets
    At regular intervals, buy dog or cat food and take it to the pet welfare centres. Allow your children to spend some time with the recipients of the gift. And if it may be possible, adopt a pet to save a life. Letting your child partake in the caring and looking after a pet gives him a sense of responsibility.
  6. Change for a difference
    Create a charity jar to be used by the family when allowances are distributed. Invite children to share some of their allowance with others through donating to the jar. As the jar fills, decide as a family where to contribute the contents. You may choose to save a stray, buy food supplies for a needy low-income person, or contribute to a charity among others. Read about various charities
    on the Internet and share this information with your children to help them make an informed
    decision.
  7. Help elders
    Do things for the elderly that they have trouble doing for themselves. Mop the floor for grandma. Teach grandpa how to use the Internet. Clean their windows or simply help them to plant flowers

By implementing some of these ideas or others like them, you will be teaching your children that charity is not reserved only for emergencies. You will be helping them appreciate that reaching out to others in need is a way of life, rather than a moment in time when a catastrophic disaster occurs. Remember, while you are giving to others, you are giving your children important messages about your beliefs concerning the spirit of giving.

Metta e-Newsletter: Vol 19 Issue 1

Soaring Ahead with Times

shifuThe past years have seen Metta take bigger strides in its advancements towards better governance and  management development. Into its 23rd year in serving the needs of the community, I am heartened to add that our presence has made a difference to society since our inception.

Keeping up with our quest to get ahead with changing times, we have embarked on the Singapore Quality Class (SQC) journey to upgrade our organisation model for managing business excellence. Through its progress, this has helped us to identify and upgrade new existing processes towards a quality and holistic improvement to our centres and programs.

Among the varied betterments of our progress and keeping in line with our core values, we have adopted a new tagline for Metta: Caring for Our Communities. This is our dedicated commitment to provide welfare services to meet the needs of the community at our centres by working closely with our clients, donors, partners, suppliers and community organisations. This year, we look forward to further cultivate closer ties with our corporate donors and volunteers as an appreciation to their continuous efforts and contribution.

Looking back at 2014, I am heartened that twenty-two Metta staff volunteered in giving Metta School in Chiang Rai a brand new look. Metta School in Chiang Rai provides supplementary education to children from local ethnic groups in their rural country side. As part of our community involvement, the staff cleaned and painted the school building such that the students would have a more conducive environment for their studies.

In the practise of dana paramita, the spirit of generosity is an important foundation of practice. Being grateful for the generosity shown to one self is another fundamental belief of the practice. Similarly, I like to express my heartfelt gratification to the donors, sponsors, volunteers, and staff who have contributed to the development of the association in the last two decades. All that we have achieved would not have been possible if not for your continuous unwavering support. With this, I appeal to everyone to keep your faith and walk with us to weather challenging obstacles as we put our passion together to care for our communities.

With Triple Gems Blessings,
Venerable Shi Fa Zhao BBM


Metta Café Re-Opening
31 March 2014

mettacafe

Metta Café was refurbished last March to create employment opportunities for Metta School graduates aged 18 and above, with mild intellect disability and/or autism by providing them with F&B vocational training. Armed with the ITE Skill Certificate (ISC), these graduates start their apprenticeship at Metta Café prior to finding employment in the commercial sector.

Metta Café rotates its weekday daily lunch specials on a biweekly basis. Diners are spoilt for daily choice specials of the popular Olive Fried Rice, to the western non-vegetarian Roast Chicken with Fries. The Cafe’s specialty lies in their art of patisserie and churning out beautiful eggless cakes and confectioneries.

Metta Café is open daily from 7am to 5pm, except on public holidays.

Keppel Offshore & Marine-Metta Charity Golf Tournament 2014
4 July 2014
Photography and article contributed by: Migs C. Bravo-Dutt (Guest contributor)

charitygolf2014

Metta’s 15th Annual Golf Tournament was held at the Raffles Country Club with title sponsor, Keppel Offshore & Marine. We were privileged to have Mr Choo Chiau Beng, Senior Advisor to Keppel join us as the Guest-of-Honour of the golfing event. As with previous years, the tournament saw a good game with healthy competition and camaraderie amongst golfers.

The fun and engaging tournament and dinner generated about $232,000 for Metta Charity. Clearly, it was another successful event and partnership for both Metta and Keppel teams as everyone was effectively a winner that night, having fun while helping with a great cause.

Playing a Green Part for the Environment
August 2014

gardeningMetta Welfare Association is proud to be among the four chosen recipients out of 700 community gardens to attain the prestigious Environmental & Biodiversity Award in NParks’ Community in Bloom Awards 2014.

Years of staff and clients’ active participation in flourishing our community garden paid off when we were recognised by NParks to be one of the best environmental and bio diversified gardens in Singapore.

The Community in Bloom (CIB) programme started in May 2005 aims to kick-start a contribution to a green and unique landscape of Singapore by creating gardening communities with residential estates and institutions.

With this wonderful achievement as a strong motivation, Metta will no doubt continue to uphold its gardening efforts, high quality and standards to serve as a beacon and inspiration to other community gardeners in Singapore.

Baxter-Metta School Master Chef Competition 2014
8 November 2014

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Baxter held its fifth CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activity with Metta last November. The Master Chef 2014 pits Baxter staff and Metta School students from the Food Preparation and Baking course against one another in a culinary test.

Prior to the competition, Baxter staff engaged in a friendly cooperation with Metta School students in unleashing their inner creativity by decorating cupcakes.

The judging panel for the competition came from chefs of various restaurants: Chef Fok of Zi Yean Restaurant, Chef Ah Chye and Chef Adrian from Huo Yow Cook’s Association. The dishes prepared are judged based on their Taste, Creativity, Presentation, Team Building efforts and Hygiene.

To wrap up the event prior to lunch, Baxter presented Metta with a cheque of $50,800 in support of Metta Café to fund its training program for its Alumni youths.

Metta Charity Run 2014
6 September 2014

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East Coast Park In its fifth year running, the annual Metta Charity Run 2014 saw over 1,000 participants joining in the  run to fulfil their passion of running and in support of charity.

We were honoured to have Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, Minister of State, Ministry of National Development & Ministry of Defence and Mayor, South East District grace our high-adrenaline event and flag off for all race categories: the 10km Run, 5km Run and the 1.5km Parent and Child Fun Run.

Food and game stalls operated by corporate volunteers and staff from UPS and Lagardere were thronged by the crowd of participants as stage performances entertained the rest.

This was another successful well-executed running event with favourable weather conditions. If you missed our last marathon charity run, stay tune for the next one coming up on 5 September 2015.

Metta Charity Bowling 2014
29 November 2014

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Metta held its inaugural charity bowling competition at the Orchard Country Club. We are delighted to have Minister for Manpower, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin as our Guest of Honour, who gamely bowled with our top student bowlers from Metta School and 19 other competing teams for the title of grand champion. Among the teams are beneficiaries from the Metta Day Activity Centre.

The inaugural charity bowling competition turned out a success and we look forward to hosting a consecutive tournament in the following year and thereafter.


Coming to Terms with Your Child’s Autism

childautismWorld Autism Awareness Day is celebrated on 2 April 2015. Every year, autism organizations around the world celebrate the day with unique fundraising and awarenessraising events. However, despite the acknowledgement of the condition in society, it is a stigma that is still not widely accepted by most parents.

If your child is diagnosed as having autism you will probably be overwhelmed with the decision. You will probably go into some form of denial. It can be very difficult to come to terms with the fact that there is something wrong. The first thing that you might want to do is to contend the findings. The earlier that you accept that the diagnosis is correct, the quicker you will be able to receive help and advice on what care is available for you and your child.

Of all the emotions that can strike you after receiving the diagnosis, the worst is anger. You may be angry with yourself, your doctor, or even with parents who have seemingly healthy children. You have to realize that this is not anybody’s fault. The best thing to do is to seek out other people who are in situations like yours and share experiences.

After anger there is grief. You may have had lots of hopes and dreams for your child, and now feel they have all changed. You may also have the fear that your child may experience difficulties from other children because they are different. You must not let grief takeover your parental role. Try to focus on the positive and not the negative of the situation, and adapt accordingly. If you are having problems it might be a good idea to seek out some form of therapy to help you pass the grieving process.

An autism diagnosis is not made by scientific means such as drug tests and genetic make up, but purely on the observation of certain aspects of behaviour. This is because there are no common factors in a person’s make up that causes autism. Sometimes a diagnosis can be made when the child is about one-year-old, though some do not show signs of the disorder until they are nearly 18 months.

It is natural to compare your child’s behaviour to other children of the same age. This is because the speed of development of children varies according to certain circumstances. Just because they are not matching your friends’ children with regard to speech ability or motor control, do not assume that there is a problem. If you do have concerns, it would be wise to contact your physician, who will observe your child’s behaviour against a predetermined checklist.

Sometimes it is years before the child is  diagnosed as being autistic, because they are on the higher level of the autism spectrum. It is also true that just because your child shows certain mannerisms, such as temper tantrums and not wishing to communicate, they are not necessarily autistic. This is because they have a developmental disability or inadequate social skills.

It could take some time to come to terms with the fact that your child is autistic. Nevertheless, you are now a parent, and now must concentrate on helping your child in whatever way possible. Join a group that relates to your problems, and if there is not one in your neighbourhood, why not form one. Support line that is going to be a tremendous help to the child, and you, in the future.

Original article extracted from: http://social-psychiatry.com/coming-terms-result-childs-autismdiagnosis/


Tai Chi – The New Rehabilitation Exercise

taichiIt used to be that Tai Chi is synonymous with an Asian senior citizens’ sport. However, western doctors and occupational therapists are beginning to embrace this traditional Chinese art form as one of the best effective activity for cardiac and post-stroke rehabilitative therapy.

Tai Chi is often described as “meditation in motion,” but it might well be called “medication in motion.” There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice, which originated in China as a martial art, has value in treating or preventing many health problems. And you can get started even if you aren’t in top shape or the best of health.

Among the many benefits of Tai Chi ranges from normalising blood pressure, aids in strength, mobility and flexibility, prevents arthritis,helps regulate one’s immune system, improves the body’s circulation, posture and back aches and promote better balance and coordination.

The movements of Tai Chi are effective in improving both intrinsic motor control and functional status. They increase aerobic capacity and sensorimotor function, and improve the timing of muscle activation and strength, cardio respiratory fitness, mobility, coordination, balance and most importantly one’s circulation.They also calm the mind. Tai Chi has a favourable effect on the prevention of recurrent stroke and cardiovascular episodes.

This low-impact, slow motion exercise involves movements without pausing through a series of motions. But Tai Chi differs from other types of exercise in several respects. The movements are usually circular and never forced, the muscles are relaxed rather than tensed, the joints are not fully extended or bent, and connective tissues are not stretched. Tai Chi can be easily adapted for anyone, from the most fit folks to those confined to wheelchairs or folks recovering from surgery. And the best news of all? There is no need for gym memberships just to be healthy and get in shape with Tai Chi.


Metta Hospice’s Make-A-Wish

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The story of Madam Aminah: From Dream to Reality Living life to the fullest is the ultimate goal for all of Metta Hospice palliative care team’s dreams for their patients. Yet, fulfilling it is another matter. As of April 2014, Metta Hospice introduced the Make-A-Wish program for its patients to fulfil their final wishes to their heart’s content. This program aims to bring across the message to our clients that regardless of where we come from, who we are or what we have become, no one should deserve anything less in our final moments.

“I wish to spend a day at the zoo with my family.”
– Mdm Aminah, 77 years old, Metta Hospice patient

hospice2For 25 years, Mdm Aminah, has not stepped into the Singapore Zoo due to her busy lifestyle as a housewife and subsequent poor health in her later years that rendered her immobile in moving around freely.

Mdm Aminah is a patient with Metta Hospice since July 2011. She suffers from end stage renal failure and is wheelchair bound as a result of her condition. Due to this, Mdm Aminah has not been able to go outdoors to enjoy nature’s beauty with her family.

However, on 17 December 2014, Metta palliative care team made that dream come true for Mdm Aminah. The palliative care team, together with Mdm Aminah’s family and herself, took a day trip to the Singapore Zoo. The occasional bumpy terrain of the pavements did not deter Mdm Aminah from having her spirits dampened. Mdm Aminah’s adrenaline surged sky high as she was instantly energised by the excitement of having her dream realised. Her favourite attractions of the excursion was the primate sanctuary, spectacular polar bear and elephant show that brought laughter and a big smile to Mdm Aminah. So happy was she that she had a hearty lunch despite her usual small appetite.

It was a fruitful day of fun and joy for Mdm Aminah and her family as they got to spend quality family bonding time together. It was a day which Mdm Aminah could cast aside her worries and illness to relive her dreams of re-visiting the zoo. Mdm Aminah and her family thanked the palliative care team for making it a special and memorable day for them to remember.

To the Metta Hospice palliative care team, it was another fulfilling and contented day that they were able to fulfil the wishes of those under their care.

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”
– Winston Churchill

The Metta Hospice Make-A-Wish program is sponsored by The Singapore Ireland Fund.

 Green Rooms

11 Apr 5:50 AM

Indoor gardens take pride of place at several organisations, with both corporates and institutions bringing the community garden concept a step further. BT Weekend takes a walk in the park.

 Article extracted from http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/lifestyle/design/green-rooms

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Budding talent

FOR staff of the Metta Welfare Association, creating green spaces within its Simei building is not so much about aesthetics but a therapeutic activity to benefit both themselves and students of the Metta School.

“Our students with mild intellectual disability, special needs or autism enjoy growing things with their own hands and experiencing the joy of taking care of other living beings, instead of always having others take care of them,” says Ee Tiang Hwee, deputy executive director of the Buddhist charity organisation. “It is very good for developing their self esteem.”

Founded in 1992 by Venerable Shi Fa Zhao, abbot of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum, the association’s six-storey building was opened in 2002 and has always been adorned with plants and greenery. Today, apart from housing its special education school, offices, art studio, cafe and retail store for vocational training, it boasts multiple green spaces – from an indoor garden located in an airwell of the building and butterfly garden that flanks the carpark, to a herb garden corner and offices filled with potted plants.

The school’s special needs students tend to the gardens and paint or create batik artworks featuring butterflies or blooms inspired by the plants that they see around them. Mr Ee would also pick up caterpillars from “host plants” – plants that attract the insects to lay eggs, and keep them in netted laundry baskets so students could observe the stages of metamorphosis before releasing the butterflies.

And it isn’t just the children who engage in gardening. Every Friday evening, staff members are encouraged to engage in recreational activities such as brisk walking or badminton. Around 20 staff would attend workshops on gardening or tend to the greenery. Mr Ee personally conducts workshops on various aspects of the pastime, from planting orchids to creating terrariums. In fact, most of the office cubicles resemble miniature gardens with pots of plants lining desks and shelves.

“My office is really a nursery,” reveals Mr Ee, who lovingly cultivates young plants, saplings and terrariums in his office before transferring them to the gardens when the plants are more developed. “I also like to give our guests of honour and VIPs a potted plant. They already have so many acrylic mementos from various organisations. So they will always remember us when they see my plant.”

From a tender age, Mr Ee would help his parents tend the garden in their Serangoon Gardens home. His mother was a fan of orchids while his father enjoyed the fruits from their own fruit trees – Mr Ee recalls climbing up jackfruit trees to retrieve the pungent-smelling fruit. He even sold cuttings of African violets to nurseries to earn extra pocket money as a pre-university student. Asked if he has green fingers, he remarks: “You don’t need to have green fingers. Even my plants die. It’s all trial and error.”

Among the plethora of plant species found at the Metta Building is a wide range of edibles, including fruits like pomelo, starfruit, rambutan, longan and jambu. Its Metta Cafe, which provides food and beverage vocational training for the school’s graduates, also harvests the produce from this mini farm – especially its curry and laksa leaves, and other fresh herbs. Mr Ee, who stashes a plastic bag in his pocket on his jogs, keeps a lookout for seeds which he collects. Through a Skype chat, he announces his newest acquisitions to Metta’s gardening group and passes them on to any takers. These budding gardeners also help themselves to soil and gardening tools kept in the pantry.

“There is no grand master plan,” admits Mr Ee, who recommends indoor gardening newbies start with growing money plants. “Sometimes I wonder if I am gardening or working here.”

By May Yip