Singapore, 6 September 2014 – A total of 335 ex-offenders and their families attended the annual ISCOS Family Day organised by ISCOS (Industrial & Services Co-operative Society Ltd), in collaboration with law firm Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow. The fun activities and games of the family day inside River Safari revolved around the theme ”River of Hope”.
Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Environment and Water Resources and Member of Parliament for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC graced the event.
“When we think about life, we think about a river. The hope that there is a better tomorrow, the hope that there is a better future, the hope that our children can grow up and have happy, fulfilled lives, that hope is essential for all of us as human beings, as fathers, as mothers, as parents,” said Minister Balakrishnan during his speech.
“I have four children myself and children grow up so quickly. You cannot rewind time. The time that you spend away from our families for whatever reason, you can never get back. Therefore, we need to remind ourselves of the importance of family and the importance of spending time with our children,” Minister Balakrishnan added.
Fifty volunteers from law firm Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow served as ambassadors to the families. Ms Celeste Ang, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Principal of Baker & McKenzie. Wong & Leow said: “The ISCOS Family Day is a key event in the ISCOS calendar and highlights the importance of strong family ties and support in enabling ISCOS members to make positive changes. We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with ISCOS for the second year running to organise this meaningful event.”
Ms Ang added: “Hope is a powerful force – forward-looking and optimistic. At Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow, we believe in giving back to the community to which we belong, and through our collaboration with ISCOS, we wish to express our support to the beneficiaries and bring to them a message of hope – that the community is behind them and their families as they embark on or continue in their journey to rebuild their lives.”
ISCOS Member, River, brought his 10 year-old son, William (not his real name) to the family day. The 46-year-old single mother of two works as a cleaner for two households and takes care of her elderly mother. Her eldest son, 27, is also a member of ISCOS and is now studying in ITE.
“I’m glad to be able to relax and enjoy my time with my youngest son. I know that I am not alone in our family challenges.”
The ISCOS Family Day is one of the main activities under the Yellow Ribbon Fund-ISCOS Fairy Godparent Programme, or FGP, a children’s education and family support initiative which aims to break the cycle of inter-generational offending.
Since 1989, ISCOS has been extending friendship and support to ex-offenders and their families so that they can lead meaningful and productive lives. Together with the CARE Network/Yellow Ribbon Project partners, ISCOS takes an active role in engaging the community to help ex-offenders and their families gain a foothold in the society.
As a social Co-operative for ex-offenders under the purview of the Ministry of Home Affairs, our programmes and services are geared towards enhancing the skills level of our beneficiaries, connecting them with supportive employers, providing social support through positive peer groups and mentors, building stronger family units, as well as extending academic assistance to their children in order to break the cycle of intergenerational offending.
About Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow
Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow is the counsel of choice to many companies using Singapore as a hub for their regional operations. Its lawyers are adept at managing multijurisdictional transactions and neutralising cross-border risk and helps clients achieve their commercial objectives in the wider, regional context.
As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow shares its talents and resources from pro bono legal services, community service and volunteerism, to fund-raising and charitable giving. It encourages staff involvement across targeted community projects through partnerships with various independent and non-profit organizations, including ISCOS. Aside from its active involvement in this year’s ISCOS Family Day, the firm has been supporting the Tuition Bursary initiative of ISCOS for the last four years, where its lawyers and staff mentor the student beneficiaries for one year.