COVID-19: Athletes take part in mentoring project funded by FAS' OneStrong Fund

Singapore’s Nurul Suhaila Mohd Saiful claimedher first world title after having defeated her opponent Janejira Wankrue from Thailand in Class D (60-65kg)with a score of 5-0. (PHOTO: Singapore Silat Federation)
Singapore silat athlete Nurul Suhaila (centre) is one of the Team Singapore athlete-mentors in the Circuit Breaker School Buddies project. (FILE PHOTO: Singapore Silat Federation)

SINGAPORE — Team Singapore athletes and the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) have given their support to a pilot community project to help less privileged children and their families amid the COVID-19 pandemic situation.

The Circuit Breaker School Buddies (CBSB) project was launched on Wednesday (13 May) to provide children and youth with mentors to empower their dreams. It also seeks to provide children and their families with computing devices, learning tools and books, experiential learning journeys and essential items such as grocery and food vouchers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mentoring 31 children over 10 weeks

Administered by volunteer movement Beautiful People (BP) and non-profit organisation New Life Stories (NLS), the project will see 24 former and current Team Singapore athletes and sports fraternity members mentoring 31 children over 10 weeks.

“Team Singapore athletes understands the kind of support, values and mindset that keeps them motivated to persevere for their dreams,” the project administrators said in a media release on Wednesday.

“This includes feeling part of support system, having passion and belief in themselves, and being able to celebrate each setback as an opportunity to learn and grow.

“Through the CBSB project, athletes can become the role model and friend that the children need to feel supported as part of a team and empowered to dare to dream.”

One of the athlete-mentors, silat athlete Nurul Suhaila, said the CBSB project was an opportunity to help others cope with the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

“It has been a humbling experience for me so far,” she said. “My mentee and I are getting along well. We exchange stories about our lives and aspirations, and that was when I found out about her love for poetry. She had shared a personal piece that she had wrote with me and now, we are working on a poem together.”

OneStrong Fund spearheaded by national football coach

The CBSB project is funded by the OneStrong Fund, a new voluntary initiative by FAS. It was established with an initial amount of $25,000, which comprises the 2019 annual salary bonuses being given up in full by nine FAS staff members, as well as national head coach Tatsuma Yoshida volunteering to contribute a significant portion of his monthly salary in support of this cause.

“I am very grateful for the support shown to me by Singaporeans during my time here and this is one way I am able to show my gratitude in return,” Yoshida said in media release by FAS on Wednesday.

“I have personally seen how different communities, especially the essential workers and all of those who are working on the frontlines, have come together to help those in need since this pandemic started.

“It inspired me to play my part and show my appreciation, since I am part of the community as well. I am happy that the money will be used in a way that is much more beneficial to someone else who needs it more during this period.”

In addition, the OneStrong Fund will receive the government’s dollar-for-dollar matching grant, bringing the total amount to about $50,000.

A committee has been set up within BP and NLS to assess applications and approve fund disbursement. There will be no administrative cost in the management and disbursement of the fund, as all parties have agreed to volunteer their expertise and resources without any compensation.

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