CapitaLand Hope Foundation reaches out to underprivileged children islandwide
Over 90 beneficiaries of the Green for Hope Programme take a PEEK at ION Orchard's green facilities
Issue: May 2011
Underprivileged school children in the five Community Development Councils with (second from left) Mr Teo Ser Luck, Mayor of North East District, Dr Teo Ho Pin, Mayor of North West District, Dr Amy Khor, Mayor of South West District, and Mr James Koh, Director of CapitaLand Hope Foundation at the launch of Green for Hope @ CapitaLand's partnership with Community Development Councils at ION Sky
The air was abuzz with excitement as a sea of red swarmed into ION Sky at Level 55 of ION Orchard. Over 90 children aged seven to 12 from five primary schools participated in the PEEK (Providing Educational Exposure for Kids) programme organised by CapitaLand at ION Orchard.
Sounds of appreciation could be heard all around as the children took in the panoramic view of the city and were educated on the eco-friendly facilities of ION.
"We appreciate Green for Hope @ CapitaLand," said the children in chorus.
For many, it was the first time they had been to ION Orchard and certainly the first time they had come all the way up to ION Sky.
PEEK @ ION marked the first-time collaboration between CapitaLand and five Community Development Councils (CDC) as part of Green for Hope @ CapitaLand 2011. Green for Hope @ CapitaLand is an annual recycling campaign that marries green efforts with philanthropy.
"The Green for Hope campaign is in line with CapitaLand Hope Foundation's focus on supporting programmes for the shelter, education and healthcare needs of underprivileged children. Since the campaign's launch, over 2,400 tonnes of paper, plastic and aluminium have been recycled through the green efforts of CapitaLand's tenants, shoppers and serviced residence guests, as well as primary schools across Singapore. CapitaLand Hope Foundation's total donation of over S$3.2 million since 2008 has benefited underprivileged children from 10 children's charities and 170 primary schools. We are pleased to partner the five CDCs for the first time in Green for Hope @ CapitaLand 2011, extending our donations to a wider community and reaching more beneficiaries across Singapore,” said Mr Lim Chin Beng, Chairman of CapitaLand Hope Foundation (CHF), CapitaLand's philanthropic arm.
The CapitaFrog, CapitaLand's mascot, made an appearance and was a hit with the children
Now into its fourth year, Green for Hope is an annual campaign that turns recycling into a charitable endeavour. For every kilogramme of recyclable wastes collected from the 24 participating CapitaLand properties from 1 January to 30 June 2011, CapitaLand Hope Foundation (CHF) donates S$2. The money will benefit 5,000 needy school-going children islandwide identified by the CDCs, to buy school and daily necessities.
"It is encouraging to see such an innovative approach to CSR. CapitaLand is not only doing its part to save the earth but to 'invest' the savings in our future – by providing our children with education essentials," said Mr Teo Ser Luck, Mayor of North East District.
Hope of Tomorrow
Children were precisely the reason 23-year-old Le Thanh Dung signed up to be a staff volunteer for PEEK @ ION. The Vietnamese who is a management executive at CapitaLand has a soft spot for children. In her student days in the United Kingdom, she had volunteered for programmes to help disabled children.
"I want to contribute to the community and kids are the future," said Le.
Mayors joining the children on the trail at the recycling bins pit stop
About 40 CapitaLand volunteers gave the children a behind-the-scene PEEK tour of ION Orchard, introducing them to facilities such as the electronic parking guidance system, the green wall, carbon monoxide sensors and tap sensors.
For nine-year-old Gan Jia Hui from Sembawang Primary School, the educational trail at ION began with the green wall at the residential block of the development. Designed to help reduce noise and heat, the vertical garden also offers visual relaxation by softening the concrete façade.
"I like the green wall best because it is so interesting," quipped Gan who counts outdoor activities like camping and swimming among her favourite past-times.
An Early Start to Being Green
At the recycling bins pit stop of the trail, the children were taught to recognise the recycling bins and sort the different materials into each bin. Shutterbug, Ji Ruitian from Jurong Primary School, was so excited he took several pictures of his friends tossing trash into the three bins.
Children were taught on the effect of bringing nature as a vertical garden to the concrete jungle
But planned pit stops aside, the children were also keen observers of other eco-features of the mall. Many were quick to note that empty escalators moved very slowly and were told that this was an energy-saving feature.
"But why not have the escalators stop all together?" one child was heard asking.
The volunteers explained that a motionless escalator may lead shoppers to mistakenly think that it was out of order. Escalators seemed to fascinate the children in other ways. A highlight of the tour for Ji was the extra long escalator ride that took the children from the second to the fourth level. "But I forgot to take a picture of the escalator," lamented the 10-year-old.
Science of the Times
The children were then introduced to the Electronic Parking Guidance System (EPGS) at the mall's car park. With sensors that measure the reflection of a vehicle, the light above each car park lot turns from green to red when the lot is occupied. This helps drivers navigate the car park easily, saving fuel and time and reducing their carbon footprints.
Another lesser known but equally important feature of the car park is the carbon monoxide sensors. To squeals of the question “where?” by the kids, one volunteer crossed the car park to point at an innocuous white box that was the sensor. These sensors detect the level of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere. When the level gets too high, ventilation fans will be activated to draw out the polluted air.
Children were given a better understanding of the how and why of carbon monoxide sensors
The children each received a CapitaFrog mascot miniature to remind them to continue to cultivate green habits in their daily lives
But nothing drew quite as much childish glee as the visit to the toilets. Many boys were squeamish about entering a ladies' toilet. Once in, though, they marveled at the extra mirrors in the several islands at the centre of the bathroom.
"Why do the girls have these mirrors in their toilet? The boys' toilets don't have them," asked chubby-cheeked, seven-year-old Tan Hong Kai from Fengshan Primary School.
The simple answer they were told: for women to do their make-up. The children were directed to taps and soap dispensers that work on motion sensors to save water. Some with keen senses noted that the bathrooms had different scents. To their wide-eyed amazement, they were told that ION Orchard had commissioned special scents for its bathrooms and lobby areas to provide shoppers with a multi-sensory experience.
It is such wonder that makes introducing a new generation to the green campaign that much more satisfying for veteran volunteer, Melvin Song. The senior tax manager of CapitaLand Limited makes it a point to volunteer for PEEK every year.
"I have two boys of my own aged three and five. I find it so meaningful to be involved in this way," he said with a smile.