The staff and volunteers of Habitat Singapore gathered at the Orchid Country Club in Yishun, at 4.30 am one dark Sunday morning on the 21st Feb 2016. As with everything that Habitat Singapore does, it was all for a good cause, for we were preparing the place for our second Cycle Out Poverty (COP) event!
Before long, cyclists arrived with their state-of-the-art bicycles, donning the official COP jerseys all ready to participate in the 80 km route or 40 km route. As more and more cyclists arrived, the atmosphere became exciting, as the young and old took their positions, gathered in groups known as 'waves'. The waves were then flagged off at different time intervals, starting at 7 am. Our oldest participant was Mr. Tan Geng Khye, only 72 years young! Altogether, we had more than 300 riders that morning.
While I was mingling with the participants, I was asked if this event was organised and run by a professional event-management company. When I replied that the event was largely run by my staff and volunteers, especially those from the cycling group PainKillers, I got an astonished look!
This was because the event was professionally run, and everything went smoothly. Indeed, we are thankful to our many volunteers, including Mr. Daniel See our chairman of the board and super-volunteer Mr. Collin Ng. Both cycling enthusiasts put in tremendous effort and time to make this event a success.
This was our second cycling event, and we are gaining much confidence and knowledge with each event held. This event in particular gave us the confidence that we can expand this event to accommodate up to twice the number of participants. We have also learned enough to better garner sponsorships and believe that we can raise more funds in the future, compared to the S$50,000 we raised this year.
In the end, this event will benefit the young people we help in our StarBuilders programme, where we assist young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to experience Habitat activities, like an overseas house-building trip. I have witnessed for myself the transformative power of Habitat's activities, as these young people return to give heart-warming testimonies of the positive experiences they had. All these would not be possible without the kind assistance and generosity of all our wonderful supporters, participants and volunteers.
May we have many more rounds of Cycle Out Poverty in the years to come, so that more young people will get to learn to have a positive outlook in life via our StarBuilders programme!