Paying it forward with Mum’s book club
In 2011, Cecilia Eow nearly lost her life to an ectopic pregnancy when she and her family were based in Shanghai. Without family close by, it was a group of mums she got to know through a book club who pulled her through the tough time.
They took care of her one-year-old baby girl, brewed her tonics and were her arms and legs while she lay in hospital.
Cecilia said she was very thankful for them: “That incident made me realise the importance of human touch in our lives. Those who have been connecting with you on Facebook will only send you greetings online. Only those you connect with regularly in person can give you the best support,” she pointed out.
Her family returned to Singapore later that year and moved into the newly-developed Sengkang West area in 2012.
“Facing the four walls at home did me no good. I wanted to put myself on a learning schedule. Group learning can bring more insight than reading alone. I also missed my book club members in China,” said Cecilia, 37, who is married to 39-year-old Customer Services & Support Director, with a 5 year old daughter and new born baby girl.
The book club in Shanghai was started by Taiwan Pre-school educator and served as an informal parenting resource and support for young parents there. Older parents were there to share their experiences with the rest.
What motivates Cecilia?
With that in mind, she set up the Parenting Book Club to help parents in May 2012.
The group initially met on Saturdays in Cecilia’s home, growing from two to eight families. The parents would read a hardcopy / audio book together, discuss and share their views while the children played.
As the club grew, it moved out of Cecilia’s home to another location and underwent minor changes in its outreach efforts. Still, Cecilia never wavered from her goal – to exchange notes on parenting with like-minded parents in Sengkang.
To ensure it continues, she was advised to incorporate it as a social enterprise through a self-sustaining model. Thus the Parenting Club was incorporated in December 2014 to empower parents with skills for parenthood through its shared book reading and other activities such as family gatherings and workshops involving the children. In the pipeline are gardening workshops, museum outings and children’s art events.
Said Cecilia: “It is set up by parents, for parents, to provide a platform for parents to befriend and encourage one another.”
A handful of mums currently meet at Cecilia’s home near Seletar Mall while they search for a more suitable venue. There are now 50 families connected via private group chat. Cecilia’s husband co-fund the activities together with other members. They will soon apply for funding using the club’s social enterprise status.
The thought of benefiting more families, and ‘’paying it forward’’ when more families come together to support one another motivates her.
“When parents are happy, their children will be happy. We can bring up a healthy, happy generation,” she said, adding that the club has also improved her relationship with her husband.
More information on The Parenting Club can be found at https://www.facebook.com/parentingclub/