Ms Aathira Jayadev shares her experiences on growing up as a “Child of the Mission”
Having practically grown up as a ‘child of the Mission’, Aathira Jeyadev firmly believes that the Sree Narayana Mission can have something for everyone, and mean something to everyone.
Aathira’s connection with the Mission can be traced to her grandparents, Mr and Mrs Unnithan, who were among its early members. Her sprightly grandmother still actively participates in its events, at the ripe old age of (XXX). Thus, it is no surprise that the urge to serve the Mission was seeded in young Aathira, naturally and unconsciously, in the course of the time she spent there. She recalls, “I have grown up, and grown, with the Mission. From enjoying the games as a child, I started organising them and, and then performing for the events. Every time we went to the Mission, I saw the elderly at the Mission’s Home for the Aged Sick, and always wanted to interact with them. It was always at the back of my mind. So, after my ‘A’ Level Examinations, I asked my father whether I could volunteer at the Mission. That’s how I ended up serving at its Dementia Care Centre first. I realise that being there for the elderly is something that I enjoy”. After that encouraging start, Aathira has taken on other roles in the Mission.
This deeper involvement with the Mission has opened Aathira’s eyes to the scope of its activities. “I now realise that the Mission caters to single parent families, low income groups, and others – not just the elderly. So, anyone with a heart to volunteer can come to the Mission and find something that they can do,” she shares.
Aathira feels that all this bodes well for the Mission’s ability to attract more likeminded people, and, thus, continue being an integral part of the evolving Singaporean society, as it has done since its very foundation. “The Mission has the facilities and the people to do much more, and I would like to see the Mission grow in that way. There are more youth coming in. We recently had a Youth Symposium called SOWOKE, as part of the 70th anniversary celebrations, and we heard the youth on their take regarding volunteering and service. So, we are also learning what drives today’s youth, to stay relevant.”
That includes staying relevant to the layman, who should be able to view the Mission as a place they can enjoy being at. “It is nice to have events that can attract the everyday person to chill out at the Mission, like boardgames, etc.” These are, indeed, the plans in the pipeline for the Mission’s new premises at Race Course Road, where activities can be held without impinging on the operations at the Home for the Aged in Yishun. “I am looking forward to hanging out at the Mission in Race Course Road; we can have workshops, the guys can plan soccer games, we can hold one-day events to attract people,” Aathira enthuses, as she envisions the future of the Mission.