School started early in Singapore - 7:30 AM and I always found it difficult to eat breakfast at 6:30 before leaving for school. My five-year old has the same problem, and I find myself struggling to get her to drink her half-cup of milk and granola bar before her school bus rumbles up at 7:05. As a Singaporean, as a foodie, and as a mother, I constantly worry about my children's nutrition. I want to give them the best possible start in life and nourishment is one of the building blocks I focus on.
A year ago, I approached a friend of mine in my neighborhood - a full time lawyer with a little family just like mine. She played the same juggling game of rearing children and keeping a balanced household with her husband while building a full-time career. She, however, managed to find the time to give back to society by volunteering at charities. She asked me what I was interested in and I said simply that I wanted to help empower women and children. This friend led me to Pat's Place, a child advocacy center for sexually abused children (www.patsplacecac.org). It's a one-stop center where a child and his/her family can go for forensic interviews, medical exams, lawyer meetings and support from social workers - a little more intense than what I was looking for, but if this what the Higher Powers wanted me to dedicate my time to, so be it.
I was there last week talking to the director for development and she was informing me about the issues of fund raising and that an important part of development included getting non-financial donations of granola bars and juice boxes. I held my breath. She carried on to explain that in many cases, families ended up at the center very upset, rushed, and panicked and would have invariably forgotten to give their child breakfast. "A granola bar and a juice box helps fill the little tummy and makes the interview process a lot easier." Yes, I have shed a tear or two at this place.
So, friends in North Carolina, if you are reading this and want to do something for these young victims and help Pat's Place empower these little souls, here are some ideas:
- Drop off a box of granola bars and juice boxes at Pat's Place. Or drop them off at my place and I will take them there.
- Join me at their "Blue Jeans and Barbeque" fund raiser on the 11th of September - $50 a ticket.
- Tell your corporate charitable committee about Pat's Place and put them in touch with the Director of Development. Let me know if you want a name and number.
- Tell people about Pat's Place and spread the word. Schools, clubs, churches, friends whom you think might want to help. Networks are powerful.
We have 70 readers. If each and everyone of the 70 decides to do one thing for Pat's Place, what will the total impact be? At the very least, it will be 70 breakfasts for abused children in North Carolina.