On 28 October 2017, COH marked the opening of Emmanuel Activity Centre @ Toa Payoh (Autism) with joy and thanksgiving.
Guest of Honour, Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Defence, Grassroots Advisor and Member of Parliament for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC said, “Congratulations on the new centre. It will really help Toa Payoh residents and Singaporeans. Toa Payoh is fortunate. We are central. Many voluntary welfare organisations want to be located here. I tell them the more the better.”“Social Activity Centres for adults with Autism are rare and hard to find. There are services for children with Autism, but when they reach a certain age, there are not many places for them to go to…Thank you for your passion, faith, and big-heartedness. Thank you for reaching out to people of all races and religions.”
Dr Ng thanked COH for its contributions to the less fortunate. “All of us are trying to find our way forward. There are no perfect solutions. But, I do find perfection in the moment. I do find perfection when a teacher just sits with a child who has special needs. I do find perfection when a parent is completely loving…completely giving (to his or her child). I find perfection when a person struggles even when no one is looking. What spurs us on is passion, something that you and the volunteers demonstrate day in day out…Thank you for enlightening and brightening up their lives daily.”
“This celebration marks our step forward as a society that is inclusive and compassionate.”
“We believe that each person has a God-given right to be heard and recognised. They are people with inherent worth, and to be respected for the potential they carry. This is the core of COH’s work,” said President of the COH Board, Pastor Dennis Huang Shaojun.
“We gather here at a special place and at a special time. We welcome our new EAC@Toa Payoh (Autism), a place that will become a remarkable centre of refuge for people with special needs,” he said. “At the heart of it all, we do what we do because of love. The spirit of generosity, kindness and humility is part of our identity.”
Dr Ng with : (L-R) Ms Ivy Goh & Pastor Dennis Huang (Board Members); Rev Dr K Steven (Executive Director).
The uniqueness of COH’s third Emmanuel Activity Centre (EAC) lies in its focus on caring for adults with Autism. The other EACs, located in Tampines and Toa Payoh, serve clients with a variety conditions including Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy. EAC@Toa Payoh (Autism), however, was conceptualised and designed for this specific group of clients.
With a capacity to serve over 30 clients, EAC@Toa Payoh (Autism) is a response to a call to better support people with special needs and their caregivers in the community. “This is a milestone for COH. I am excited! We look forward to caring for more clients with Autism,” said COH Executive Director, Rev Dr K Steven Thanigasalam.
Hopeful –Bringing Meaning to Life
Compassion –A Way of Life
COH is an organisation with ardent and caring supporters. Clients and family members from EAC@Tampines and EAC@Toa Payoh came to witness the memorable event. Pioneer Social Worker, Ms Leaena Tambyah and Mrs Lorna Jenner were among the guests. Donors, sponsors and grassroots leaders came with their well wishes. COH staff lovingly made sure everyone had their fill at the buffet dinner, and former staff lent their hand at various tasks.
People were excited to meet each other again and tour the Centre for the first time. It was a gathering of friends. Ms Ting Ai Hwa, a former COH programme staff was touched to see the new centre decorated with artwork from the Tree of Life project that she continues to volunteer in.
“The facilities are very good. My son is fortunate to be at the Centre,” said Mrs Thomas Wong, mother of Johnson, 34, a client who had the honour of holding the ribbon for the opening ceremony.
About the Author: The COH Resource Team comprises volunteers, content writers and experts, including psychologists, counsellors, educators and social service professionals.