PACE turns 20: Looking back at two decades of service
By Priyanka Elhence, PACE
Armed with a common mission and shared values, PACE (Parents Action for Community and Education) strives to support UWCSEA’s strategy to create a united community within the school and in Singapore. Over the last 20 years, PACE has made incredible strides in building a parent community that embodies the UWC values of compassion and service.
2019-20 marks the 20th anniversary in their endeavours to achieve just that, as they also celebrate their 20-year relationship with Lihuk Panaghiusa, a non-profit organisation operating in two of the most impoverished communities in Cebu, Philippines.
The impact of PACE’s work with these communities should not be understated, as explained by Jennifer Lim, PACE’s Chair, “By focusing our efforts on education and nutrition, PACE provides a dignified and fundamental solution to poverty for thousands of children.”
With support from sponsors, PACE has funded scholarships for more than 72 students in the Philippines, from elementary to college level. The funds raised go towards books, uniforms, and other school-related expenses. In the last two decades, we have contributed greatly to over 100 college graduates. PACE also provides financial support for a Nutrition Programme that includes a hot lunch every weekday for 100 children.
Said Jennifer, “In spite of the changes in the fundraising landscape, our raison d’être to serve others remains at the heart of what we do. We look forward to another fulfilling year of uniting the UWCSEA community through the service work we do, the friendships we create and the hope given to those we serve.”
PACE also organises Family Service Days once a term. In the past, we have partnered with Willing Hearts, Seven Clean Seas and Trash Hero Singapore. In a nutshell, PACE turns UWCSEA’s values into actions by supporting those in need and building community - for instance, through clearly defined projects such as building schools and libraries in Myanmar and Cambodia; outreach programs for hospice care patients in Singapore; and bringing UWCSEA families together to make lives better through our Family Service Day. These are some of the gems we’ve acquired over the years for our work which keeps PACE going:
“PACE is a deeply inspiring organisation at the College. The difference its passionate members make in the lives of the communities they touch is remarkable, but perhaps their greatest contribution is to be role models for our students and our whole community. If the UWC mission is about the responsibility we all have to create a positive impact on the world, then PACE is that mission in action: informed, thoughtful and determined, our PACE volunteers are energetically and enthusiastically taking positive action every day, and inspiring all of us to do the same. In the words of Martin Luther King, "Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve... You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love." PACE volunteers are those hearts and those souls (and those informed minds!). And they are great.” - Sinéad Collins, Director of Engagement and External Relations.
Alumni parent Ravina Kirpalani (who has held various positions at PACE over the years - Secretary (2008-2010), Chair 2010-2013, Special Events Chair (2013-2018), Vice Chair & Fundraising Chair (2017/2018) says, “PACE is an amazing organisation. Besides offering parents an opportunity to be involved with service through volunteering or participating by supporting fundraisers, it helps you make lifelong friends and connect with like-minded parents who you wouldn’t have met or become friends with otherwise. PACE has not only added to my experience as a UWC parent, but it has added to my life in Singapore. I have met the most amazing, talented and dynamic women who have a common goal of making a difference which has inspired me to grow as a person. I have had the opportunity to learn and develop skills that I didn’t even know I had and enjoyed every minute of it. When you first start volunteering with PACE, you may think that you are giving your time to help others, but what you gain in return is far more. I started local service for PACE in 2008/9 at Henderson old aged home followed by the start of service at HCA. Even after becoming an Alumni parent, I still continue to go to HCA when I can. A Trip to Cambodia to visit one of the PACE schools was a big milestone for me.”
With 34 students, parents and teachers from both Dover and East campus to participate in Habitat for Humanity’s “Unlitter the Red Dot” campaign, the zesty team of UWC volunteers picked up nearly 25kgs of trash in an hour, collecting the trash in reusable bags made by women in Cambodia in connection with the program Stitch in Time. From time to time, a resident or employee of the housing complex would call out their appreciation or stop to say hello to the young kids earnestly working in their community spaces. This is what one mom said to Neha Patel, PACE Vice Chair and organiser of the event, “My son Yohaan and I met you at this event. Just wanted to let you know that the event has inspired Yohaan to live his life differently and it makes my heart explode with pride when I see him notice trash around the city and use his own initiatives to help: yesterday we went for a walk around Sentosa and he decided to stop and pick up the loads of bottles and rubbish on the rocks!”. Natasha Thomas.
At PACE, we look forward to another 20 years of service with your support and passion for making the world a better place. Thank you for your commitment and for standing with us.