Journeying Wholeheartedly with Morning Star
When our Comms Manager told me that it was my turn to write a post for the blog, I decided that I’d share about my journey in Morning Star. I was initially a bit apprehensive before I stepped into the social service sector, but it has turned out to be a Heart–warming and all-around Heartening experience.
Before I joined Morning Star, I had worked in the private sector for more than thirty years. I realised that in the daily hubbub of life, we are sometimes so caught up with work and routine, that we do not spend enough time reflecting on our choices. It got me pondering on what I wanted to do for the rest of my active working life before I retired. It wasn’t easy, but I finally rested on the decision to join the social service sector.
One day, while I was sending my youngest daughter to school, I drove past a sign board that read “Morning Star Community Services” along Lorong Low Koon. I had applied for work at the organisation, but hadn’t realised that it was so close to home. I remember wishfully thinking that it would be nice to work near where I lived. Luck was on my side when several days later, I was called up for an interview, and after the shortlisted round, I was recruited to be Centre Manager for Student Care Services. I have not looked back since.
My Heart was deeply touched when I saw for myself the social issues that are present in our society, though not all may be aware of them: the struggles of families in need, conflict between parents, family violence and child abuse; the list goes on. Morning Star seeks to serve families facing difficulties, such as financial crises and single-parenthood. Being a single parent myself— my wife passed away ten years ago— with three schooling children to care for, I can empathise with the struggles that these families face in their daily lives. However, this did not prepare me for the social issues I was to witness on the job.
It was Heart-wrenching for me when I encountered children who were physically abused by their parents and guardians. There was a child at one of our centres who arrived from school wearing a long-sleeved sweater. We found out that she was hiding an open wound on her inner arm. Upon further probing, we discovered that her father had heated the blunt side of a kitchen knife and pressed it onto her arm. It gives me goosebumps whenever I recall the incident. We advocated for the child, and the Child Protection Unit stepped in and worked with the parent to ensure the child’s safety. That said, working in a social service also has its upsides.
It was Heart–warming to serve alongside centre facilitators who put in their all in coaching and guiding the children under their care, especially those with special needs and behavioural difficulties. I was encouraged as the children improved in their behaviour and became more confident. Some were even confident enough to reach out to help their peers. There is much to learn from the young ones if only we allow ourselves the opportunity.
All in all, it has been a Heartening experience for me to see happy, healthy children whenever I visit the after-school care centres and get the opportunity to interact with them. Sometimes, when the students see me outside at a food court or shopping mall, they will approach to say hello. The smiles on their faces will always put one on mine.
Just last December, I received the Morning Star Community Services Long Service Award. Looking back on the past five years, I am grateful that I was given the opportunity to start this journey with Morning Star. With the support of my superior and fellow colleagues, I hope to be able to contribute wholeheartedly and make a difference to society in the years to come. My heartfelt wish is that more people will join me on this journey because, truly, every helping hand enriches a Heart.
Wee Tai Seng