President Halimah spends ‘lively evening’ with children on community after hours programme

President Halimah Yacob participating in a bi-monthly birthday celebration, for children whose birthdays fall within the period, at Morning Star Community Services’ Bedok North branch on April 22, 2019.ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

President Halimah Yacob with children at Morning Star Community Services’ Bedok North branch on April 22, 2019.ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

APR 22, 2019, 10:47 PM SGT
Euodia Chi

As a single mother of three young children, Ms Lydia Indranee, 34, has to juggle care of her energetic youngsters, aged seven to 11, with full-time work. This presents a challenge for the human resource manager, who often has to work overtime as well.

But thanks to the CareNights @ Morning Star programme offered by Morning Star Community Services, she and other parents in tight situations can get some respite.

Conceived in November 2016, it is a free after hours programme for children of parents who face pressing needs such as overtime work or night classes, have to attend to family crises, are from low-income households, or single parents like Ms Indranee. It is offered at three of its six centres, in Bedok North, Sengkang and Primavera.

On Monday (April 22), the Bedok North branch received a visit from President Halimah Yacob, who was greeted with a dance performed by the children at the centre. President Halimah also interacted with parents, and participated in a birthday celebration held every two months for all children whose birthdays fall within the period.

CareNights runs from 6pm to 10pm on weekdays, during which children aged six to 14 get homework supervision and are engaged in various activities like journalling. Dinner is also provided.

Parents can enrol their children for up to six months while they sort out their short-term challenges. Sometimes they are recommended by social service organisations.

President Halimah said in a post on Facebook that she enjoyed a lively evening with the children from the programme.

“Glad to know that parents with lower income background are receiving respite care support through the centre’s programme. Such support is vital in maintaining a cohesive family relationship,” she wrote.

This article was originally published in The Straits Times on 22 April 2019

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