IT WAS in 1999 that Christian and Juliana Choo decided that they wanted to do something to help strengthen and enrich family relationships. He worked in the corporate world, she was a social worker and they had five children.
Using space offered by the Canossian sisters in Hougang, the Choos started a Student Care Service with a staff of five and drew 30 children needing supervision before and after school as they were from homes where both parents worked, or there was only one parent.
The project has grown significantly over the past 10 years, and today offers a wide range of family-centred services at its Hougang and Sengkang branches, as well as in schools and prisons.
Morning Star Community Services now has almost 40 staff assisted by a team of 30 active volunteers. Aside from the Student Care Service, its programmes include the following:
NOVA – Learning Support Services: This is for children struggling with the demands of school. To help a child with specific difficulties, the staff work with parents, family members, teachers and others to devise an individualised educa-tion programme to bring about change for the better.
Family Life Education: Several programmes are available to help parents learn useful parenting and relationship skills, enrich marriages and learn life skills.
Community Events: Fun activities are held regularly to bring together families and participants of Morning Star programmes. This provides a relaxed environment for family activity and allows people to connect, share experiences, draw support or just relax.
Counselling: Individuals, couples and families who need help to bring about positive change in their situations may use the counselling service.
Social Work Services: Social workers identify individuals and families who may benefit from early help, before further problems develop. Those with specific needs are referred to relevant social service agencies or government bodies, and the social workers also provide in-depth, longer-term support to those who need it.
How do you spend time together?
To mark its 10th anniversary, Morning Star Community Services is preparing a commemorative publication titled “The Things We Do”, to showcase how families spend quality time together .
“We would like to show that there is more to do in Singapore besides shopping and eating out,” said Ms Petrine Woo, Morning Star’s Community Engagement Manager.
If your family has a unique way of spending time together – playing a game, sharing a hobby, or visiting your favourite secret corner of Singapore – Morning Star wants to hear from you.
Contact : Petrine Woo
Tel : 62851377
Website : www.morningstar.org.sg
Hougang Centre, Headquarters
4, Lorong Low Koon
Sengkang Centre, Branch Oice
Block 261B Sengkang East Way