One of the aims of the SPD Ability Walk & Run is to reach out to different communities to raise awareness towards disability issues. We are glad to have found a new friend in Steven Ling, the founder of hiking and adventure group Go Wander Go Beyond (GWGB). Supporting the Walk & Run as the group’s first charity event, Steven’s call for participation saw more than 100 GWGB members signing up within a week and, in the process, spreading the message of building inclusive societies. We had a chat with him on the experience.
1. You walk and hike in your free time, outside work hours. But about your day job, what do you do?
I’m currently self-employed and dealing with mainly sales and purchases of properties in Singapore.
2. How did GWGB come about?
I started the GWGB Facebook group in August to connect friendly people from all walks of life to share their travel and hiking adventures during this period of travel limitations. In the beginning, the Facebook group managed to get the right footing by inviting members who are active in the hiking and adventure community. This strategy, in turn, gathered fast response and our members grew exponentially within a few weeks. As members continue to grow at a healthy pace, we have to constantly review and update ways to drive engagement among the members. The initial phase while starting the group is time-consuming, e.g. strategies to move traffic around to various platforms, networking with fellow members, content initiatives, video editing all require a lot of time.
3. The shoutout in your group saw more than 100 participants in the walk/run in just a few days! How did you and GWGB first embark on a giving journey with SPD, and why?
I joined Tony Gui, who is an active volunteer at SPD, on one of his charity walks and we had a wonderful conversation about giving back to society as well as how we can play a small part in social responsibility while managing a small community. A few days later, Tony shared with me about the SPD Ability Walk & Run and, after looking through what SPD is doing, it is fully in line with our strategic goal.
While we are engaged in our activities of interest, such as hiking, running, or walking, there are still some of us who have limitations. Being able to walk long distances without assistance and pain is a privilege to us as for some people, such as wheelchair users, being able to sit and stand without assistance is beyond reach and they must plan their life around physical limitations.
After a discussion with Tony, we put our plans into motion the next day by creating an event invitation in the GWGB group. We initially expected a turnout of between 20 to 30 people, but the response was so much better with a total of 103 registrants in one week. This motivated us to make our first charity event a success.
4. How has your experience with SPD been so far? Have the experiences helped you in any way, or changed your perspectives?
This has been one of the best experiences, being able to connect with a group of like-minded people, coming together to walk and run for a good cause. We even had one member who was clocking in her distance in –8 degree temperature in Alberta, Canada!
Although there were a lot of challenges along the way, the best take-away was that we were not attached to the results or outcome but we focused instead on the completing the whole event.
5. Are there other projects that you would like to initiate or be involved in beyond the current campaign?
Absolutely, many members have initiated their future support and we are now planning to liaise with some F&B outlets to provide lunch meals to SPD’s beneficiaries on a regular basis. This initiative would allow us to give back to society not just by supporting in monetary terms but also in more interactive ways, such as packing of lunch boxes, delivery and interaction with SPD’s beneficiaries.
6. What’s the most rewarding part of giving? Any words for other groups to consider including the CSR element in their activities?
One person’s effort is limited but a group’s effort is limitless. I would encourage more groups to stand out and give back to society as giving is a form of mindfulness and being grateful of what we have.
7. Anything else you’d like to add?
I’m very grateful that I have this opportunity to be part of this campaign and after visiting the SPD Ability Centre, I’m heartened by SPD’s work and impressed by what persons with disabilities can do. I now believe that disability is just a state of our own mind.
Here’s a compilation of Team GWGB’s experiences at the SPD Ability Walk & Run 2021!