Having dropped out of school last year, the troubled teen got herself into a mess when she got hooked on glue sniffing. After several fallouts, her mother felt that she was beyond parental control and filed a police report. That is when she found herself in the Andrew and Grace Home.
The initial few months were not easy as she slowly adjusted to her new environment. After her initial confinement period, she did lapse back into glue sniffing twice but now she is confident that she has kicked the habit once and for all. That’s because she has found a new love in long distance running.
It all happened one day when her training coach got her to go for a jog together. Something finally clicked and she finally found something that she was really good at! Now she runs from AG home to Bedok Jetty and back, a distance of 17km in under 2 hours and hopes to be able to run competitively in the future.
When I asked her what made the biggest difference in her life, she mentioned that it was the love showered upon her by Ah Pa (Andrew), Mommy Grace and the other volunteers at the home. Her sports coach, who is an employee of the centre even sleeps in the same bedroom with the girls on a mattress strewn upon the floor!
The Andrew and Grace Home (AG Home) has its beginnings in 1988 when Pastor Andrew took in two troubled teens into his new four foom flat in Yishun. There was only one little problem. He and his wife had just been newly married and for Grace it was a bit of a shock. She recalled that Andrew had given away her music room which was her favourite room in the whole house. It was a bit of a tough time for the newly married couple but after a while, Love broke through. To love the lovely is easy, but it takes a very special kind of compassion to love the unlovely. Twenty years later, the couple now have 2 sons and 50 “adopted” daughters living in a hostel in Telok Kurau.
The present AG Home was set up 9 years ago and provides a haven for teen aged girls between the ages of 12 to 16. These girls may come from difficult home circumstances, drug addiction or are delinquents. They also provide shelter and protection for moms and mothers-to-be and sees about 20 babies being born a year who are subsequently put up for adoption.
The home runs several programs to help the girls develop skills to enhance their employability upon discharge. One of the projects is the AG Cafe which trains the girls for the F & B industry. Food is of course closest to the heart this blog so I thought it was a good project for us to support.
This picture shows the kitchen which has been set up in the hostel. It functions both as the kitchen to prepare dinner for the girls as well as a training kitchen for them to conduct culinary skill courses. I hope that we will be able to hook up with some readers from the F&B industry to see how we can support this project.
Currently, it takes $500 to house each girl every month. Parents are asked to contribute whatever they can and the rest of the money has to be raised from elsewhere. The centre receives a monthly contribution from MCYS which covers about one third of the total running costs. Another third comes from pledges from individuals and companies and the remaining third has to be raised ad hoc every month.
As you all know, ieatishootipost is one year old and I have hinted that there will be a makan session to mark its first anniversary. Rather than just coming together to enjoy food and make new friends, I thought it would be meaningful if we can make it a charity dinner instead and be able to raise funds to support the AG Home.
The picture on the left shows a mural on the wall of the the lobby area. This mural was drawn by an ex-addict and depicts Andrew and Grace with four of the girls in the centre.
OK, the details of the ieat Charity Makan Session are being finalized, but let me just give you all an idea of what has been planned so far.
Date: 15 Sep 2007 (Saturday evening)
Venue and Menu: I have found a Restaurant Owner who is willing to sponsor the event! I am finalizing the menu (5 course) with him so I will release the details later. But in the meantime, this is one of the items that will be on the menu:
Other Highlights: Found a sponsor for Wine as well! We are in the process of finalizing the Wine list!
Price: This is to be finalized. (Around $100 per pax)
What you can do:
- Come to the Makan Session! The money that you pay towards the food and wine will all go to AG Home.
- If you feel that you want to contribute more, there’s nothing to stop you from writing a check and supporting AG Home directly.
- If you or your company can sponsor the event (Cheques direct to AG Home) or provide stuff that we can auction or use as door gifts do let me know by writing to [email protected]. All sponsorship will be acknowledged on the blog.
I will provide final details later this week but if you are ready to reserve your seats, please write to me at [email protected]
Hope to see you all at the Charity Makan Session!
More about AG Home can be found on their website: www.aghome.org.sg