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Reaching out through sport

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Formed in 2012 by social worker Joe Chan, the Reach Dragons compete in dragon boat competitions, and aims to help youth develop good character, mental and physical fitness. (photo by John Yeong/SSC)

SportCares Movement Looks to Ignite Philanthrophy and Volunteerism

Singapore, 15 March 2013 - In a society where economic growth and educational excellence have become synonymous with the measure of success, sport has often played second fiddle to its bigger brothers. While many have acknowledged the benefits that sport brings to the individual, our development as a country in its early years has seen sport sidelined as something far less important, as a nice to have but not a must have. 

Yet this assumption cannot be farther from the truth. There can be no holistic development without sport. There are fewer more powerful tools than sport when it comes to character development, and the empowerment of both mind and body, making it extremely effective in reaching out to those marginalised by society.

This was what led Joe Chan, a social worker from Reach Community Services, to contact the SportCares movement about working together through sport to help youth in need. Launched on 25 August 2012 by Singapore Sports Council (SSC), SportCares is the first recommendation under Vision 2030 to be implemented and is a charitable movement seeking to help vulnerable segments of Singapore’s society to grow and develop lifelong skill sets through sports programmes and education.

Having a goal of using dragon boating to help youth develop good character and mental and physical fitness, Joe set up the Reach Dragons in 2012 with the aid of SportCares, and his project has touched many young lives since. One such youth was 17 year-old Mohd Hashri Bin Shahri, a mechatronics student at ITE.

Life Changing Experience

Hashri initially did not believe he had the mental strength to take up dragon boating, or the perseverance needed to compete in the sport. He joined the Reach Dragons in April 2012, and described his experience at the National Day Dragon Boat Parade with Reach as “a life-changing experience”. He has since rowed at almost every event where Reach has participated, without ever doubting in his own ability again thanks to the SportCares movement. More recently, SportCares has supported the Reach Dragons at the Corporate Community Games (CCG) 2013.

“We often say our hopes are in our young people, and that can sometimes feel like there’s a lot riding on their shoulders,” said Mr Lawrence Wong, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth at the Committee of Supply (COS) 2013 debate. “Which is why it’s important that our young people believe that we have created something special and precious here, a home they can protect and strive to make better.”

Indeed beyond inspiring youth, SportCares also encourages corporate, community and individual social responsibility through volunteerism and financial donations. To date, the movement has raised almost $300,000 from the corporate and community sectors for 2,600 beneficiaries, with SSC matching all donations dollar-for-dollar, up to the first $1 million raised.

Have a passion for sports and an interest in helping others? Charitable and interest groups, public and private organisations, as well as members of the community are welcome to join the SportCares Movement by emailing:

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