Where Family Is A Postal Code

Family goes beyond just blood. Read on to discover how Singaporeans have built families within their own communities.



Families inspire compassion, love and support. And families go beyond just blood. That’s why we sat down with the volunteers of Dakota Adventures (Cassia Resettlement Team), A Dakota Crescent — Cassia Crescent resettlement project, and MCYC Community Services Society, a volunteer welfare organisation for at-risk youths, to talk about the families they’ve formed within their communities.

Jingzhou of Dakota Adventures

1. Can you give us an introduction to your neighbourhood family?

My journey started with Dakota Adventures through this project called Between Two Homes. In short, it looks at the theme of conservation, community and home through the lens of two homes – Dakota Crescent and Cassia Crescent.

2. What are some of the ways you nurture your neighbourhood family?

We conduct house visits, a community project called the Cassia Potluck Party, which brings residents together to cook and eat together and a Cassia Gardening Class which provides a platform for residents and volunteers to learn or impart skills to each other. These activities nurture and build the common Cassia identity by bonding the neighbourhood, consisting not only of the residents but also the volunteers.

3. What motivates you to contribute to your neighbourhood family?

After spending the past year volunteering, going to Cassia Crescent now invokes a sense of familiarity and a gentle feeling of home. As the uncle and aunties say hello and wave with a warm smile, as the kids bump into me playfully, and as residents open up their doors to me, I do feel as if I am part of their community and their lives, even if it is just a small fraction. This is an indescribable feeling, especially given that I live so far away from them! I think that is what motivates me to help the residents in Cassia: not about the scale, but about making friends, forming deep trust and relationships, and gradually building a community together with the residents.

4. What’s an upcoming event that you guys have planned?

We have the Cassia Potluck Party that provides a platform to grow a space for the residents to come together. This allows residents to establish and rekindle friendships with both old and new neighbours, and volunteers.

For further information: https://www.facebook.com/Dakotaadventure/ and www.betweentwohomes.sg

Families beyond blood

Families Beyond Blood

MCYC Community Services Society

1. How does MCYC help to nurture family bonds?

MCYC believes that family is at the core of the holistic development of children and youths. We engage and nurture bonds through various initiatives, such as FosterConnections@MCYC and the iPEAK programme. In the past four years, our programmes and services have built a community around 23,993 children, youths, volunteers and their parents.

2. Who are some of the voices behind this family of community service volunteers?

Shauna: As a regular volunteer for kidsREAD, I feel heartened to see the children develop an interest in reading. They often start reading at the reception while waiting for lessons to start, and stack up a pile of books in anticipation of the reading sessions with volunteers. I always look forward to these sessions because of the bond I’ve built with the children.

Dominica: I volunteer in the weekly kidsREAD programme, under iPEAK, where I read to children with learning difficulties. Apart from reading, I also guide them in making simple crafts which engages the children as they get to express themselves creatively.

3. How have you created a familial bond with the children you assist?

Dominica: Volunteering simply means being present with the children. I know that many children in kidsREAD have much to share with us. More so than encouraging the children to read and guiding them in the crafts, I am present as a source of support for them by listening to them and acknowledging each child as an individual. It is heartening to see the quieter children warming up to become chatty and engaged. Sometimes, they even approach us to find out about the activities we have planned even before the programme starts! Every child is special and by being present, we get to affirm that and help them see that for themselves.

Carmen and Celeste: Ivy, an 8 year-old child came to us when she was unable to read, write or communicate in English. We spent time teaching her English through songs, reading story books with her, and took turns to converse with her. We also carefully created a sense of family and community for her at Oasis where she came to study every day. Over half a year, Ivy’s confidence, her command of the English language and her bonds with the volunteer tutors grew tremendously. Just recently, she was admitted into a local Primary school after good results at placement tests. We rejoiced and celebrated her success together as a family!

4. How does MCYC wish to strengthen the idea of family through community?

We would like to see more volunteers in two areas: Firstly, our foster agency; where volunteers, after going through selection and training, can support foster families and children through activities and tuition. The second area in which volunteers can contribute is through our Kids Club. We hope to see volunteers initiate, plan and execute meaningful programmes that will benefit the children in the Bukit Batok community.

For further information: www.mcyc.sg/

"Volunteering simply means being present with the children. I know that many children in kids READ have much to share with us. More so than encouraging the children to read and guiding them in the crafts."