By Mr Tan Khye Suan, Executive Director

Traditionally, when we celebrate Chinese New Year, our celebrative activities are focused on the family.  During the festivities, we turn our attention away from economic activities; from commerce; and, from social interactions with friends.  All these activities take a temporary halt.  The family takes precedence!

Family members gather together for a Reunion Dinner on the Eve of each Chinese New Year.  We visit the elders of our families to pay our respects during the fifteen-day duration of Chinese New Year.  All these are wonderful reminders for each of us of those who have loved us; those who have contributed to our growth and development; and, those who will continue to walk with us in life’s journey.  In this way, we express respect, gratitude and know that we have been blessed.

The focus on the family is a wonderful reminder of God’s intended purpose.  The family unit is designed to be closely knitted, so that members of each family can love, care for and support each other.

However, not all families are functioning well.  Some are fractured, unhappy and acrimonious.  Some families have completely fallen apart.  Some of these have family members not speaking to each other and being left to nurse their own wounds.  This leads to much pain and anger.  I have seen people, young and old, who have expressed anger and even hatred, for their family members during such family-centric festivities.

A strong family provides love, care and support for each member that belongs to it.  We all know this!  But we have taken this for granted.  Very often, we allow small differences and disagreements to ruin our family relationship that is a powerful source of strength to overcome the challenges we face every day.  We allow these small differences and disagreements to become incredibly large and irreconcilable, causing the breakdown in family relationship.  In today’s world, where there is much stress and challenges, the breakdown of family relationship also takes away the resource and support that can help maintain our mental well-being.  Hence, we see more people suffering from mental health issues.

Epworth Community Services is a social service agency that believes in the value of having Strong Families!

We promote Strong Families through Epworth Family Welfare, working to rebuild family relationships that have broken down; between children and youths, with their parents.  The department also works with at-risk youths whose parents find hard to manage them, helping them to build on common grounds and bridges.

Where there are difficulties in rebuilding bonds and relationships in biological families, we help children and youths to grow and develop in a family environment through Epworth Foster Care.  Foster families can provide a temporary and good substitute to support children and youths from biological families that are facing much difficulties in reconstituting.  Studies have shown that children and youths still develop better in family environment instead of institutions.  Hence, we are working hard with foster families, supporting foster children and youths to do well despite being away from their biological families.

As Epworth Community Services continues to work towards building Strong Families, we seek your support through donations during this Chinese New Year period.  Beyond the Chinese New Year period, we will be having a virtual “Flag Day” on 20 March 2021.  We will be launching the virtual “Flag Day” donation drive over a four-month period from March to June 2021.  Please give generously to Epworth Community Services through

Our work in the community will continue to grow in the coming years.  We ask for your continued support through donation, volunteerism and prayers.  We will be sharing our work through our quarterly newsletters and social media.  Stay connected with us!