Cheryl Chen loves a party – she’s spent most of her career in the hospitality industry masterminding charity and outreach events before joining Daughters Of Tomorrow in 2018 as its senior manager of fundraising and events management.
“Running events fuel my fire,” she says. “And I think it is important to do something that I love to keep this fire burning.”
Cheryl, 39, works with corporate partners, donors and community fundraisers on events that promote awareness and financial support for Daughters Of Tomorrow’s work and impact. These range from anniversary celebrations and Mother’s Day get-togethers to charity golf tournaments.
Founded in 2014, Daughters Of Tomorrow has supported more than 1,100 women in Singapore through skills training, job bridging and befriending programmes.
These women come from families that earn between $200 and $650 per month, and struggle to break out of unemployment and poverty. Of these, 82 per cent possess secondary school education or lower, and 44 per cent are single mothers.
Daughters Of Tomorrow connects these women to volunteers and community resources, and further improves their job opportunities. This empowers them to achieve financial independence and fulfil their potential.
“It gives me a sense of pride and hope when the team works together towards a common goal,” she says, before reminding us that “there’s still not a lot of awareness among the public”, and to “help us expand our reach”.
As a mother herself – she has an 8-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son – Cheryl knows it can be tough trying to find time to give back.
So what’s her advice? “Start small. Choose a charity that speaks to you and make a small recurring donation every month,” shares Cheryl.
“Get on the mailing list to learn about its events and programmes, so you can decide to get involved one step at a time.”
What made you decide to pursue a career at Daughters Of Tomorrow?
Five years ago, I was doing a master’s degree in counselling and searching for a practicum placement that offered volunteering and counselling hours. I found Daughters Of Tomorrow, where I volunteered with its Befriender Support and “Women In Action” Community Childminding Network programmes.
For the Befriender Support, I offered friendship to beneficiaries and connected them to resources and assistance that helped them acquire better jobs. For the Community Childminding Network, meanwhile, I worked with a team to grow a network of childminders to solve the childminding needs of low-income women. This enabled the latter to continue to work in service sectors that required shift work.
Tell us more.
I got to know many beneficiaries as well as members of the team; I was deeply touched by their strength, resilience and perseverance. Working on ground-up initiatives is never easy – we spend a lot of effort gathering resources, calling for donations, and establishing connections, among others.
When the opportunity to join the fundraising and events management team at DOT came, I jumped at it. I wanted to help advocate for this meaningful cause. That was nearly four years ago – and I’m still grateful to be able to do what I do.
As a senior manager with the fundraising and events management team, what are your key responsibilities?
I work with corporate partners, donors and community fundraisers on campaigns and events to raise awareness and funds. This ensures that Daughters Of Tomorrow’s work and impact remain sustainable.
Daughters Of Tomorrow connects low-income women to job opportunities so they can achieve financial independence and social mobility. What are some challenges that your programmes help them overcome?
The most common challenge our beneficiaries face while returning the workforce is the lack of childcare support. Among the women we serve at Daughters Of Tomorrow, 90 per cent are mothers without stable family support, hence they find it difficult to sustain employment.
How do you think Covid-19 has intensified these difficulties? And how does Daughters Of Tomorrow plan to extend further assistance?
Covid-19 has hit many low-income families hard. In addition to an emergency grocery voucher fund to enable these families to get necessities, we also sourced and distributed laptops to beneficiaries. And we plan to continue these efforts in digital inclusivity and data connectivity over the next couple of years.
Finally, how do you deal with challenging moments?
It is so easy to get disheartened by the chaos. Life can pull you in so many different directions so it can be hard to juggle it all. I always remind myself to do one thing at a time, one day at a time, and trust that everything will fall into place.
You can help to empower women and enable families through various programmes: Befriender, Volunteer Childminder, Supportive Employer, Poverty Sensitisation Workshops, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Donation/Fundraising. Find out more about these opportunities at Daughters Of Tomorrow here.