NUS Students' Community Service Club - Signature Love Project

Signature Love Project

Introduction

Signature Love Project (SLP) is our only fund-raising project in CSC. Initiated in 2003 and currently in its 14th year, SLP seeks to raise funds and awareness for their beneficiary groups which vary from year to year, allowing for the project to be exposed to and help out different pockets of our society. The funds collected will be donated to the adopted beneficiary of the year at the end of the project for specific purposes. SLP uses the simple concept of $2-for-a-signature, whereby donors can pen down messages for the beneficiaries upon a donation of $2 or more.

In addition, SLP strives to promote interaction between our volunteers and beneficiaries. Through meaningful and interactive activities during beneficiary visits, we endeavour to bring a difference to the lives of the beneficiaries as well as to allow volunteers to learn more about the beneficiaries.


Signature Love Project XIV

In its 14th year, Signature Love Project XIV (SLP XIV) was targeted at raising funds and awareness for intellectually disabled youths under MIJ Special Education Hub (MIJ). Founded in 2011, MIJ is a one-stop center that provides school readiness, student care for youth and intervention programs for individuals with learning differences ranging from age 4 to 30 years old. As MIJ was set up as a social enterprise, the funds raised in SLP XIV would provide MIJ with the financial assistance needed to carry out life skills programmes for these individuals.


First External Outing at Botanic Gardens

Our theme this year was "Metamorphosis: Resolve to Evolve" to signify the process of growth and development that these individuals go through in life. Revolving around the idea of the wondrous process by which a caterpillar morphs into a butterfly, we aimed to create awareness that intellectually disabled individuals are no different from everyone else, and that there should not be any boundaries between them and the rest of the society. The origami butterflies used as Signature Items this year represents these individuals as they morph into independent individuals. The messages of encouragement and well wishes were then put onto a Tree of Hope that was presented to MIJ to remind these students to keep pressing on!


Collection of messages on our Signature Item during Internal Fundraising Drive in UTown

Origami butterflies with donor’s well wishes on Tree of Hope displayed in MIJ (Signature Item)

SLP XIV embarked on five beneficiary visits, 2 of which were internal visits conducted at MIJ’s center. The other visits were conducted externally, a new initiative to get these students out of their comfort zone and expose them to a public setting. The visits were conducted at Botanic Gardens, National Stadium and Sentosa Butterfly Park, which had been kindly sponsored as our finale venue. A 3-day internal drive on NUS campus, as well as a 2-day external drive at Heartland Mall in Kovan, Junction 8 in Bishan and Northpoint City in Yishun had also been conducted to raise funds for our cause.

Beyond the external visits, SLP XIV had created more awareness by forging partnerships with other clubs and introducing interactive means of fundraising. During our second visit, in line with MIJ’s goal of exposing their students to music as a form of therapy, SLP XIV had solicited the help of both Angklung and Dikir Barat clubs in NUS to create a fun musical visit. Passive donors were also converted into active participants of our campaign as they were given a mini experience of the challenges that people with intellectual disability face through the educational games and simulations that we created.


Donors and children getting to know more about Intellectual Disability through games

The level of engagement with the public during the drives and the excitement of the MIJ students during the visits had truly encouraged us. It was indeed heart-warming to see that our actions had succeeded in bringing joy to them as they explored the world beyond the comfortable setting of their classroom.

Volunteers' Thoughts

This is my first project for the special needs. Understanding their needs was challenging. During our first encounter, some of them talked and clapped continuously. They were too excited and it was hard to contain their feelings. This help me to understand the difficulties they faced in trying to connect with others. The thought provoking external drive games helped the public, my friends and I to gain a better understanding of their daily challenges. I'm glad to be part of this meaningful project and I hope that more people will be aware of special needs and develop more empathy for them.

– Wan Lin, Marketing & Logistics Director

I felt that today was a good experience interacting with the MIJ students, spending quality time with them while ensuring that they play the games to their fullest. I was worried that there would be communication barriers and being unable to work well together with them, but their enthusiasm and excitement actually rubbed off us, which made the playing of games so much more fun!

– Daryl, Volunteer