On May 14th, we had this year’s installation of BEST Café and needless to say, it was a great success. The objective of BEST Café is to provide a platform for the children and teenagers to learn life skills, be responsible with the task given, to cooperate with others such as parents or volunteers, gain their independence and learn problem solving skills. It is also part of our yearly entrepreneurship project. Each year, children are asked to do the same tasks and you can see the growth just a year can make. Children who had trouble with a certain task the previous year can now do it with much more ease and take up others’ tasks. Looking at these children grow and come into their own is fulfilling to no end.
This year, BEST Café officially began at 10 am. At around 9am am, the children showed up early to start the preparation for the day and to listen to any final briefings before the crowd arrived. The atmosphere was electric and charged with excitement as they got ready to welcome their family and friends and to show them what they have been busy preparing for so long. The kitchen was hustling with activity as they prepared and packed the meals that were being sold into boxes for easy transportation and the annex area outside was being set up with all the tables and activity for take away counters.
Tables were filled with delicious delicacies that have been prepared by the children, as well as set up with pre-loved items that the children can take home for a fraction of the price. We even had a very kind family, Daisy Poh and her family volunteer to set up an apple stand to help us out!
At around 10am, the kids took up their respective roles and the crowd started arriving!
The delicious smell of food wafted around and took over everyone’s appetites and you could tell that they could not wait to dig in. Coupons were quickly purchased as everyone went to the stands to pick up their favourite meals! You could see the parents’ joy and happiness as they looked on at what their children have achieved here at BEST and are now able to do little tasks and chores that they previously could not do before.
Laughter was heard all around as children played with their friends and family member and the game stands set up were all enjoyed by everyone. After tummies were filled, the games stalls were full as everyone took their turn in trying to collect as many points as possible in order to exchange them in for mini gifts such as their favourite Lego set! Children raced from one stall to the next, fully entertaining the other students and facilitators that were in charge of manning the different stalls.
Elaine Lee, one of the graduates at BEST who now has completed her Diploma in Baking had a cake decoration demonstration at the event. Everyone looked on in awe as she expertly and beautifully decorated the cake with buttercream and fondant icing. At the age of only 17, she now makes and sells beautiful cakes for a living and the demand for the cake is rising each day! There was a renewed sense of hope as suddenly, all the parents wanted their children to learn how to bake and decorate cakes as well!
In yet another area, we had an artist who drew beautiful portraits of the attendees that day. He managed to capture the audiences’ facial features so perfectly in such a short amount of time. Some people are willing to wait as they wanted to bring home a personalized portrait of themselves.
In addition to all the fun and games, there were also short talks that were running throughout the day. These short talks held different information and ways in order to help parents and caregivers in how to better handle their children with special needs. They were short enough to capture the audience’s attention yet informational enough that they could bring home the added knowledge and start implementing it in their daily life. The coordinators and facilitators were on hand to answer any questions that people had on the talk as well as any other information they wanted to know.
Finally, at 2.30pm, the crowds dwindled down and only the children, families and staff members remained to do a final clean up before heading home. It was a meaningful and fulfilling day indeed at BEST Café. Stay tuned for more of our events coming up!