Guests from HCA Hospice get the full UWCSEA experience
It was all smiles on Friday, 10 May, as 18 men and women from HCA Hospice were taken on a customised, wheelchair-friendly Sustainability Tour of Dover Campus.
The special event was the long-awaited brainchild of parent volunteer group, Parents’ Action for Community and Education (PACE). The PACE volunteers organised a wonderful array of activities and experiences for the visitors which began the moment they stepped onto campus.
Throughout the morning, our guests were given the full UWCSEA experience - from being serenaded by our Junior School student-singers and soloists, to traveling to far-away places at the exciting IDEAS Hub green screen room, to getting their creative juices flowing with a fun string-art activity. The tour also took them around the campus, where they learnt about UWCSEA’s sustainability mission and exchanged stories with our students. Look across the group and the joy from all present was palpable. And for good reason: it was a big occasion for both PACE and HCA - two groups who have worked closely together for a decade.
A long-standing relationship
HCA Hospice Care is a registered charity providing comfort and support to patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families. For years, PACE has been tirelessly working with HCA Day Hospice, organising entertainment, celebrating many different cultural events, keeping them company and learning about their lives and stories twice a month.
It seemed natural then, for PACE volunteers to, conversely, bring some of the hospice patients to us, giving them an interactive experience of UWCSEA, to celebrate this long-standing relationship between UWCSEA and the tight-knit HCA community. This time, it would be all hands on deck, with support and contributions for the day-tour enlisted from Foundation, the Junior School Music Department and IDEAS Hub.
The tour thoughtfully combined four elements of UWCSEA’s goals: sustainability, service, activities and community engagement. When Rachelle Gaa, PACE Local Outreach coordinator, came up with the idea to celebrate the HCA and PACE relationship, she thought, “Why not bring the patients to UWCSEA to see what goes on, and what is so special about this school first hand?”
With the variety of activities programmed for the day, our guests had an all-rounded experience of the uniqueness of UWCSEA. Said Robin McAdoo, Head of Communications at PACE, “The effort toward sustainability is celebrated and shared, the benefit for both volunteers and patients in giving service is received, the creativity and physical movement provides exercise for the brain and memories to come, and finally, the whole of the community coming together to collaborate on this multifaceted event engages people who might not meet or work side by side otherwise.
Our appreciation to everyone involved in planning and working toward making this event successful and productive is bottomless.”
A lasting impact
The positive impact of the visit on the men and women from HCA Hospice cannot be understated. It takes a lot to be able to engage with people from all walks of life and the event successfully allowed for seamless and meaningful engagement.
Said one participant, “I feel excited today, because this is the first time I come back onto a school campus after my own school graduation about 60 years ago. This school is, of course, significantly different from my old school. Upon visiting the campus, I find that the campus is not only clean, large and beautiful, but also designed and built in an environmental-friendly style. It is very impressive to learn that students here are learning and practicing energy-saving and water-saving on a daily basis. I especially like the students' performances, as well as the way they come to sit side by side and chat with us during lunch time, which show that students in this school are well-educated and have loving hearts. Teachers here have done a good job! Their performances and company greatly cheered up my spirit.”
CEO of HCA Hospice, Angeline Wee, said, “These are the types of outings our patients thoroughly enjoy! Thank you very much PACE, UWCSEA Foundation and Junior School Music department and IDEAS Hub! We really appreciate it!”
The hard work of community engagement goes beyond the tour. PACE’s regular visits to HCA Day Hospice in Kwong Wai Shu Hospital leave a lasting mark on the Hospice’s patients. This year, patients from Kang Le, the satelite day hospice of HCA, were even taken on an outing to the Science Centre by PACE volunteers.
For many of the patients, the volunteers’ regular visits bring joy to their days. Shared Carol Lam, a PACE volunteer, “A patient asked me to sit down next to him. He couldn’t help burst into tears, saying that he really appreciates our love and help, while he feels that usually the elderly are the group being neglected. When he sees us, he’s happy. I told him honestly that we enjoy being and helping at HCA. I think it’s a place to celebrate life, to celebrate what the elderly have achieved in their lives, and what they have contributed to the society.”
PACE hopes to continue the campus tour annually, with plans to expand its array of activities to include planting rainforest tree seedlings in biodegradable pots out in the forthcoming Dover Green Heart. To everyone who was involved in ways big and small – thank you for making this event possible!
Parents’ Action for Community and Education (PACE) is a volunteer parent-led organisation that falls under the Service umbrella of the College, with many active members, and over 1500 supporters and friends who subscribe to our mailing list. PACE serves the UWCSEA community, across both campuses, via activities and events that provide both a social network and the opportunity to contribute. To get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.uwcsea.edu.sg/pace.