Inspiring creativity through play
SHARE as One programme promotes regular giving and volunteerism in corporations
The idea of learning through play seems too good to be true, but this is what Playeumhas been encouraging since its inception in 2008.
Its executive director Anna Salaman, 45, said: "Playeum's founders started this independent charity as they felt that there were new and more accurate ways to view children - to see them as fellow cultural citizens and not as grown-ups looking down on them and telling them what to do all the time. That was something that drove the founders to provide creative- and art-based activities for children, so they can really do the activities to the best of their abilities."
As a non-profit organisation, Playeum constantly faces the challenge of bringing in funds and volunteers.
Ms Salaman said: "We do not have core funding, so we have to make sure we have money coming in to keep the centre going, and that is pressurising."
As of March last year, Playeum had 30 volunteers. With its volunteer training programme, it has engaged 42 volunteers. But more are needed.
It decided to go under the care of Community Chest's SHARE as One to increase and improve its pool of volunteers and volunteer programme.
In SHARE as One, a dollar-for-dollar matching grant is provided by the Government for any additional donations through SHARE, Community Chest's regular monthly giving programme, over and above the amount donated in the financial year 2015.
"SHARE as One was offering a grant that could help us develop our volunteer management capability.
"We had the experience and knew what we wanted to do, but now we have some funding, which could contribute to more training, which we really need," said Ms Salaman.
Community Chest awarded a $10,000 grant to Playeum last December, where part of it went to working with "a leading pedagogist who groomed a lot of our facilitators", said Ms Salaman.
"Getting a qualified professional has always been a struggle. A portion of the SHARE as One grant also goes towards covering the expenses for volunteers."
Playeum is also planning to use the matching grant to develop a Volunteer Program Management Software to improve its management of volunteers such as recruitment and tracking of volunteer data.
A beneficiary of SHARE is Mr Daryl Tan (left), 31, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2005.
He hopes to become a full-time peer supporter to help people with mental health issues.
Similar to the volunteers at Playeum, Mr Tan wishes to learn integral skills that can help him reach out to others in need.
One Playeum volunteer, Miss Vienn Han, 23, said the creative workshops organised by Playeum for volunteers taught her how to be creative when it comes to guiding children.
She has been volunteering at Playeum since 2014 and said the volunteers learnt to incorporate more fun when talking to children and helping them with activities.
Said Ms Salaman: "Our volunteers are critical to the success of the children's experiences. We don't train them only in child development, but in social skills as well. This contributes to the success of learning.
"We really wanted to build up our volunteer programme so more minds can be changed, resulting in more advocates in the society, such as people like Vienn."