Caption: Rosalind mentoring Deaf clients from TOUCH Silent Club
Ms Rosalind Foo, 43, never fails to bring cheer and positivity to those around her. She raises her hands and shakes them sideways whenever she meets her friends as her sign of saying “hello”. Rosalind was born Deaf since birth.
As a volunteer with TOUCH Silent Club (TSC) for the past two decades, Rosalind reaches out to Deaf clients from eight to 60 years old. As a mentor, she coaches the younger ones in their studies and helps TSC staff in planning activities like cake making and popiah party. She also teaches Deaf clients digital skills. Rosalind is also one of TSC’s two Sign Language instructors. She currently works as a part-time teacher at a Student Care Centre.
Dealing with rejection and failures
Rosalind’s earlier years were fraught with obstacles at every turn – from being mocked by some of her classmates to failing her tests as struggled to understand her lessons.
“In primary school, I recalled my teachers using a mike in class so that I could hear through my hearing aids. However, the sounds were muffled and I couldn’t translate them into words. Imagine the fear in my heart as a child. Thankfully, my teacher could sign and she helped me along. That was how I managed to pass PSLE with flying colours,” said Rosalind with a smile.
From then on, Rosalind began to experience kindness from people she met along the way. When she was in secondary school and polytechnic, she relied on her hearing classmates to take notes and Deaf buddies to explain complex concepts. Her lecturers also lent a helping hand by setting aside time to coach her after classes.
Abled, not disabled
Caption: Feeling empowered to help others
“As I grew older, I realised I had the power to impact the lives of others, especially those who are Deaf like me. It is not easy for a person with special needs to feel confident about helping others. They face constant struggles in life - at home, in school or at their workplaces. They often see themselves as care recipients and may lack the courage to step out of their comfort zone,” added Rosalind.
With a Diploma in IT, Rosalind sought help from TSC to find a job. She then taught Deaf students from the former Singapore School for the Deaf. A few years later, a friend recommended her to volunteer with TSC at its Job Skills Workshop.
Growing in passion and skillsets
Caption: As a veteran volunteer, Rosalind also guides other volunteers as they support the needs of Deaf clients.
Since then, Rosalind has befriended and journeyed with many Deaf clients. She is currently mentoring a male student who is in Secondary One. During the pandemic outbreak last year, she encouraged and coached him in his studies via Zoom as he was preparing to sit for his PSLE.
Fulfilling her desire to better impact the lives of the disadvantaged, Rosalind is currently pursuing a Degree in Counselling, and has a keen interest in trauma and mental health counselling. She also intends to attend courses in art therapy and peer support specialist to better support the Deaf community.
Caption: Rosalind (left) supporting a baking class for TSC clients
Caption: Rosalind (right) feeling fulfilled as an active volunteer with TSC
“I always find joy in volunteering. During the pandemic, I delivered meals to frail seniors together with a hearing friend. It feels so good to give back to the community,” added Rosalind.
Like Rosalind, each of us can discover our greatness within us. Despite of our circumstances and physical abilities, we can still bring love, comfort and hope to those around us. Because #EveryoneCanBeSomeone.