Did you ever wonder where the Interact Club got their helium tank from? On the 22nd and the 23rd of March, VJ Interact Club members were seen blowing balloon after balloon in the canteen. The sheer amount of balloons sold on those 2 days was astounding – we were one grumpy widower away from starring in our very own UP movie. The colourful, bobbing balloons not only reflected the kindness and giving spirit of Victorians – it also reflected the effort and hard work of all the Interact Club members.
A few weeks before the school exploded in colour, Interact Club members were running around trying to finalise all the preparations. The very first step was to decide what cause they were going to advocate. This decision was relatively painless, as Chiew Hui, a member of Interact Club, is a volunteer at Youth Council Singapore (YCS) which offers aid to people with intellectual disabilities (PWIDs). She quickly convinced her club to join her cause, so PWIDs it was! Conveniently, YCS offered to fund their expenditure, saving them one major headache.
Next came the planning of the event, which was not as easy. When asked, Claudia, an ad hoc member of Interact, admitted that coming up with the games was decidedly one of the most challenging obstacles they faced. “We had to come up with games that were quick and interesting, not something corny. We also had to make sure that the games would increase awareness of the challenges faced by PWIDs, but it was impossible replicate their situation 100%”. Initially, the games were Interact’s biggest source of worry, but it later turned out to be their greatest success. On the actual day, many Victorians were seen crowding around the game booths, holding up pieces of paper which had been cut (evidence of having participated in the games).
The game ‘Everyday Challenges and Read For Speed’ required the player to listen to some noise through an earpiece while reciting a passage in which letters were jumbled up. After that, 3 questions based on the passage were asked. Many Victorians found themselves unable to recall what they had read because they had been trying so hard to decipher what each individual word was. Interact members then proceeded to explain that this was how PWIDs felt – each and every time they read something.
“I think many Victorians took away with them the ability to empathise with PWIDs. Hopefully now, they feel a little closer, at heart, to PWIDs.” said Lim Rui, a member of Interact Club who was heartened by the support that Victorians had showed in the 2 hectic days. If the crowds that were around their booths is not evidence enough of their success, how about the fact that they had exceeded their initial donation goal threefold?
Laughing a little, Claudia said “ Money always goes out, it never comes in.” What a simple sentence, but it really sums up the essence of Interact Club. All the funds needed to organise an event comes from their very own pockets, yet they never think of using the funds raised to reimburse themselves. “We never raise funds for ourselves, instead any money put into our hands is handed over to another less fortunate group in need.”
By following this event and interviewing the Interact members, we found out what it truly means to be a member of Interact. Sadly enough, the origin of those helium tanks remains a closely-kept secret. (Editor’s note: Perhaps the subject of another investigation by our intrepid reporters. Stay tuned!)
Chloe Tan, 16S63
Ong Wei Siong, 15S38