Founded in 2011, Arc Children’s Centre (Arc) is an independent charity centre dedicated to enriching the daily lives of children who are braving life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer and other critical diseases, and their families. The centre has been caring for children for the past 11 years.
Delivering holistic care
Open five days a week, the centre provides a holistic education for these children, where classes address their mental, physical and emotional needs. Academic classes include subjects found in a conventional school’s curriculum like mathematics or science. Children also attend physical education and music classes, where they expand their knowledge and focus on well-being beyond academic subjects. The centre also organises stayover camps for its children where they get to enjoy games and spend more time with their friends.
Arc’s commitment to its children goes beyond the walls of the classroom. The organisation’s centre includes facilities that benefit its children, such as a sensory room for them to relax in after mealtimes, a play area with slides and a climbing wall. To ensure cleanliness and hygiene, Arc’s volunteers and specialists, including retired nurses, clean the classrooms thoroughly to reduce any risk of infection. Children with critical illnesses have weak immune systems and there are cases where their siblings can only attend school sporadically to minimise contracting and spreading any pathogens. Hence, Arc also welcomes their siblings to attend the classes it conducts. Through Arc, the children and their siblings can continue to strengthen their bonds while keeping up with their studies.
Social and emotional well-being is a top priority
Apart from addressing children’s physical and academic developments through classes and various activities, Arc also focuses on the children’s social-emotional well-being. Arc staff spends time with the children to further understand how they view their conditions and their frame of mind. The children usually express a strong desire to move forward with their lives and to put behind them the painful journey they had to undertake to beat their illnesses.
Arc recognises the children’s inner strength to overcome their illness and to survive at all costs. The survivorship program at Arc addresses their need to continue their lives after treatment.
Cultivating lifelong relationships
Since it was set up, Arc has never rejected a child who has come to its doors. For every child that requires treatment that Arc’s team cannot provide, Arc will always look for specialists outside the organisation to help the child.
What defines the relationship between Arc and its children is the lifelong nature of this bond. Arc’s staff maintain and cultivate their connections with the children beyond their childhood. Many of the beneficiaries have fond memories of their time in Arc and continue to visit Arc even after they have recovered. Some, such as Ali (not his real name), are groomed to be the caretakers of the next generation. He was involved in planning the programmes for the children’s camps and the delegation of duties and responsibilities to the older children. With a caring and gentle disposition, the younger children at Arc naturally gravitated towards Ali and adored him as a ‘big brother’ figure.
Arc’s emphasis on building deep, lasting connections with children have brought comfort to many children’s lives. An Arc staff shared a story where a boy, Ahmad (not his real name), came over to the centre right after his chemotherapy. “We were shocked to find him ringing the doorbell as he was supposed to be home resting. He said that he felt lonely and would be depressed should he have to recuperate alone at home,” she said. Ahmad came with his family from Bangladesh to undergo cancer treatments in Singapore. Faced with an unfamiliar environment, Ahmad made many friends and memories at Arc. Stories like these are common among Arc’s staff and volunteers as Arc not only offers classes and programmes for its children, but also companionship and friendship.
Enriching and safeguarding children’s lives with the art of giving the right gifts
Donations help keep Arc running. With Amazon Singapore donating SGD25,000 in 2022, Arc can use the funds to bolster its survivorship programme. These include support services and workshops on team building, leadership, medical updates and activities like stayover camps during their school breaks.
Arc’s team must ensure that the gifts do not contain any materials or components that may cause complications for the children’s medical conditions or harm them. Through the Amazon Singapore x Shop for Good wish list it is a great way to help the children with Arc receive useful donations that will allow them to grow and thrive.
The initiative helps to raise awareness of non-profit organisations (NPOs) such as Arc. Amazon Singapore helps fulfill the deliveries, making the entire process transparent, fuss-free and, most importantly, safe for the gifts’ recipients.
A support network for a fulfilling life
Seeing the children at Arc, it can be easy to forget that they are like any child their age. While their recovery is of utmost importance, they want to live lives where they have fun with their friends and enjoy lessons together.
Arc not only provides this caring and loving environment, but also a support system for their families. Support is provided at both the emotional and social levels, where the children can lean on one another. Parents can also interact and relate with other parents in similar situations, or experience moments of rest when their children are at Arc.
At Arc, everyone forges lifelong relationships, which provides the children with the strength to recover and live life to the fullest.