2010 had been a relatively blessed year for Metta following the economic recovery. Riding on our available resources, we managed to reach out to more people this year. On top of that, a handful of our centres are fortunate to undergo upgrading of facilities and some adopt enhanced services.
Metta PreSchool @Punggol has officially commenced its operations in June 2010, providing early intervention programmes for children aged three to six, with mild to moderate autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and/or intellectual disabilities. Currently having a total headcount of 50 children, we are working towards utilising the facilities to cater up to 132 children in the near future.
Our Metta School is currently looking forward to the completion of the annexe, which is extended from the existing building. Having the piling and ground works commenced in June 2011, both our students and staff will be anticipating enhanced facilities and resources in the school within the next few years. We hope to bring about more fruitful results in the students’ learning as we put in efforts to meet their various training and developmental needs.
To further equip our students with practical lifelong skills, we are also stepping up in our vocational training. The Metta School’s students are now attending an extra vocational lesson every week from the start of 2011 to refine their skills like housekeeping and cooking.
Not neglecting our Metta School graduates who have completed their education and left school, we also strengthened our efforts by expanding the existing Alumni Services we provide. A small sanctuary has recently been set up to house facilities like computers, TV and a Wii game console for the alumni members’ social and recreational needs. In the pipeline are mentorship, befriending programmes, training resources and team activities.
We are also in the midst of setting up an Employment Support Centre for our Metta School’s graduates to ensure they have sufficient help in getting jobs upon graduation. Being an educator for special needs students, we see the need to nurture them beyond providing classroom lessons.
We believe our duty to these students does not end at the point of their graduation. Hence the purpose of this centre is to assist our graduates at our very best to see them through the next stage of their lives – into the working world. To prep our graduates, they will also receive training on soft skills and financial management skills, and career counselling to ensure they are well-equipped to take on a job.
Speaking of providing our students with more employment opportunities, we have recently opened a flagship store for our in-house label, Arts@Metta, at Suntec City Mall. Since the establishment of Arts@Metta in 2007, our artistic alumni youths have been working hard to polish their craftsmanship at the arts studio located within Metta headquarters. At last, their hard work has paid off; under the support of Community Chest, we have secured a rent-free unit at the shopping mall to showcase their exquisite handicrafts. As the unit comes with an attached vestibule, the alumni will also be utilising the area to conduct batik painting workshops and art demonstrations.
Receiving From Our Kind Donors
In order to have an adequate pool of resources to meet our organisational mission, which is to provide for the less fortunate, is always a challenge. Nonetheless, we have been very privileged to be constantly supported by kind givers of the society, regardless of how bad the times can be. With a continuous flow of revenue collected from our events in the past financial year, we were glad to maintain a healthy stream of funds.
On 8 October 2010, we have organised the 13th successful Metta Charity Banquet. We were honoured to engage the expertise of Huo Yow Cooks’ Association, out of pure charitable contribution, to whip up a feast for us for the event. Furthermore, the association collaborated with us to produce a commemorative booklet containing the recipes of the delectable dishes served during the banquet. The booklets were retailed to raise funds for Metta, all in the name of philanthropy.
Moving on to 2011, Metta School celebrated its 10th anniversary milestone with a Family Day cum Carnival on 30 April. I am extremely proud of the school’s achievements and would like to take this opportunity to thank all the donors and supporters who had contributed to the school in some ways.
The Buddhist Culture Department also saw pleasing results during the year in review. Like a proud parent, I am extremely uplifted to watch the department under my care gradually grow. The dharma classes and other activities organised were more popular in the fiscal year of 2010/2011, as shown in the rate of participation, compared to the previous years. Furthermore, we managed to extend our outreach through the increased number of activities and events this year.
I hereby extend my utmost gratitude to our numerous donors, sponsors, corporate partners, volunteers, well wishers, committee members, staff and families for their unstinting support and unwavering encouragement.
Venerable Shi Pu En