Wednesday July 25, 2012
Teaching needy kids
CATHERINE GOH, 70
THIS former teacher believes that education is the key to social mobility, which is why she started a literacy centre at Toa Payoh East Community Club three years ago.
Every Saturday, she, two teachers and 20 volunteers from the Lasallian Youth Mentors, a Catholic charity, coach about 30 children from needy homes at the centre. For three hours, the five- to 13-year-olds read storybooks, do worksheets and play games to improve their vocabulary and mathematics.
The children were referred to the StarHub-Central Singapore Nurture programme by the Central Singapore Community Development Council.
As this council funds the activity, it’s free of charge.
“They come from homes with three to four children and the family does not stress studies,” says Goh, who started the scheme in 2009.
A disciplinarian with 40 years of teaching experience, she casts an eye over the group, checking unruly behaviour and foul language. Improved marks prove that the coaching and counselling sessions have helped.
“When they started, some of them scored only 10% for English and maths. Their marks went up to about 40% over two years,” she says.
Goh also helps out with the Lions Befrienders, distributing sponsored lunch boxes for 60 seniors at Block 31 in Toa Payoh every Sunday, as well as with church work. The rest of the time, she takes care of her husband, John Goh, 71, a cancer survivor, and nine grandchildren, aged one to 16. – The Straits Times Singapore/Asia News Network