By Jocelyn Koh, Citizenship Coordinator, Microsoft Singapore
Many of us at Microsoft are committed to using the best of our abilities and resources to help those who are less fortunate. As part of our efforts to spread goodwill during the recent festive season, we were delighted to have teamed up with 11 nonprofits in Singapore in December for our annual 12 Days of Giving campaign.
This marked the second year in which our employees volunteered to bring festive joy to the needy in our community in a coordinated campaign. We saw a record number of more than 150 colleagues from the local subsidiary, Asia Regional Headquarters and the Asia Pacific Operations Center (APOC) taking part in the various volunteer activities. We also held a number of donation drives to pack essential items such as food and small gifts into over 200 goodie bags.
The following nonprofits were chosen because of our existing working relationships with them, or were suggested by employees when the 12 Days of Giving campaign kicked off in 2012.
Bishan Home for the Intellectually Disabled
Our volunteer team accompanied ten residents from the Bishan Home for the Intellectually Disabled on a tour around the newly opened River Safari, where they enjoyed spotting curious creatures in the zoo and aquarium; this was followed by a leisurely boat ride and tea at Mama Panda Kitchen.
Residents from Bishan Home for the Intellectually Disabled explored River Safari with Microsoft volunteers
Beyond Social Services
After celebrating the birthdays of children born in December at the Healthy Start Child Development Centre, the children and volunteers spent an entertaining afternoon among books, games, paintings and snacks. Chow Kiew Ling, Microsoft Financing (MSF) APAC Operations, observed, “It was a meaningful and well-spent afternoon. I believe each volunteer gained as much, or more, as what we gave to the children.”
Canossaville Children’s Home
Volunteers joined a group of children to make cards for the hardworking staff at St Joseph’s Home for the Elderly. Nicole Lee, Asia Compensation & Benefits (C&B) Specialist at Microsoft, said, “The happy smiles on the children’s faces while making the Christmas cards left a great impression. Even though we were strangers to them at the beginning, there was so much joy that we felt by joining the children in one simple activity.”
St Joseph’s Home for the Elderly
We sent some love to the staff in the form of handmade cards from the children at Canossaville Children’s Home, and also helped out during and after the Christmas dinner for residents.
Lion’s Home for the Elders
To spread the festive cheer, our volunteers gamely entertained the elderly with a round of Christmas carols that they belted out with much gusto, and later distributed goodie bags to the Home residents. We also arranged to have a Santa visit for the occasion, much to the amusement of the residents!
Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital
As the 103-year-old institution has a nursing home for elderly patients who do not have caregivers, we brought along some festive spirit with the help of Bingo, tea, Christmas carols and old pop songs.
Society for the Physically Disabled
Our staff helped the daycare clients during lunchtime, and later set up games such as bowling, floorball and Rummikub, before ending the day in a hearty karaoke-singing session.
Sun Love Home
The stationery packs that we donated to 88 underprivileged children sure got them excited about starting school!
Children-At-Risk Empowerment Association
Fourteen children visited the Microsoft Singapore premise and “battled” against each other and our employees while playing Kinect — the youth were also provided goodie bags that were specially prepared by the volunteer team.
Children from Children-At-Risk Empowerment Association watched Microsoft volunteer Jim Butler demonstrate a field goal in a round of Kinect American Football
Children’s Cancer Foundation
A group of nine young cancer patients and their family members came over for an office tour and enjoyed an engaging game of Kinect, after which they headed home with gift bags filled with delights.
Food from the Heart
We supported a food distribution programme run by Food from the Heart to help the less fortunate such as underprivileged single-income households by sorting donated food items and packing hampers. “Everyone in our team was very cooperative and we had a lot of fun working together to pack groceries for the needy,” said Adeline Ang, Executive Assistant, Microsoft IT.