I am proud of Yun Xuan – she is such a friendly individual who enjoys teaching and helping others.
– Yun Xuan's Mother
A very bubbly cheerleader who always looks out for her peers, Yun Xuan loves spending time with her fellow Special Needs Ambassadors while they work hard to train up for the YMCA Special Needs Inclusive Challenge together. Outside of her stint as a Special Needs Ambassador, she takes part in various sports such as dragon-boating together with fellow Ambassadors Ryan, Wei Kang and Ek Jin! Yun Xuan is also a very hardworking individual – assisting her mother in second-hand book sales while helping with logistics as an assistant teacher at a private music studio.
I'm so excited to attend the YMCA Special Needs Inclusive Challenge 2023 to Mount Fuji that I trained in various hiking places in Singapore such as Mount Faber, Keppel Reservoir, Bukit Batok Nature Park etc.
In general, it helps to keep our body strong and boost our stamina as well, in addition with confidence.
Gareth is a veteran in the YMCA Special Needs Inclusive Challenge, having actively participated since 2021. In 2021, through his admirable perseverance and dedication, Gareth completed the challenge of accumulating 3,776m in elevation around Singapore ahead of over 800 participants. He then continued his activities and accumulated enough elevation to have summitted Mt Fuji five times. Last year, he emerged as the champion for the individual climb category. This year, he is back to conquer Mt Fuji physically to further strengthen his physical and mental resilience!
Treat persons with special needs like any other! Patience is key.
– Weng Siong’s Father
Weng Siong has been a long-distance athlete for more than a decade and is currently running for the Special Olympics. Despite already having training sessions for long-distance running twice a week, he shows great determination and commits to his weekly hikes as he prepares for the YMCA Special Needs Inclusive Challenge. Weng Siong also enjoys photography as a hobby and is currently working as a data entry staff upon graduating with a Diploma in IT and Network Communications from Temasek Polytechnic.
Don’t underestimate the limits and abilities of persons with special needs!
– Janna's Father
Going on long hikes as she trains up for the YMCA Special Needs Inclusive Challenge brings great joy to Janna, with the company of the friends she has made! Apart from that, she keeps herself active and fit through taking part in Special Olympics Running weekly. Janna is also interested in the arts. Janna's mother shares the she has a very angelic voice, which is to no surprise that Janna has been singing her heart out in various choir groups over the past few years, even getting the opportunity to perform numerous times during the pre-pandemic days. Moreover, as part of the YoungStar community, she creates beautiful cards and artworks together with her parents for sale.
I feel happy hiking together with my friends! I have a lot of favourite hiking places… Sentosa and Chestnut Park are some of them!
– Shiaw Lun
Shiaw Lun is a very lovable and patient individual with a big heart for dancing. Ever since he was 6 years old, he found his love for dance and has shone on the international stage in Japan and Australia, and is currently an active member of the YMCA Dance! Apart from dance, he is an independent individual who works part-time assisting with logistics at a warehouse. Now, he takes on the YMCA Special Needs Inclusive Challenge with great joy and perseverance as a Special Needs Ambassador.
I’m excited to do this. I can do this!
– Ryan Yap
Ryan, who has Down syndrome, is a sweet and caring individual. His father shares how Ryan seemed to sense when he was tired and would give him hugs. However, the public avoided interaction with Ryan due to a lack of understanding, creating social isolation. He hopes that the YMCA Special Needs Inclusive Challenge will show the public that persons with special needs can achieve great heights, and serve as a platform to build better understanding towards persons with special needs.
He is resilient and determined. He always gives his best to achieve his goals in his sports. I am proud of him for the efforts he put into all that he’s doing.
– Ek Jin's Mother
Having conquered the waters, he now challenges himself on land. Once unable to complete his primary school's compulsory swimming lessons, Siau Ek Jin, who has mild intellectual disabilities with dyspraxia, persevered and trained every single day for years, eventually joining Singapore’s Special Olympics Swim Team. He has participated in many swimming competitions and even clinched a bronze medal at the Special Olympics World Games 2019, held in Abu Dhabi. Now, he takes on the YMCA Special Needs Inclusive Challenge in hopes of challenging himself to reach new heights. His dedication and strong will serve as great encouragement to his peers.
Cher Xuan is cheerful by nature. He is a very outdoors person, and enjoys dragon boating and many other activities. We are overjoyed when we see him learning, growing, and showing happiness in his daily life.
– Cher Xuan’s Mother
Cher Xuan, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, is living proof of how persons with special needs can live wildly colourful and fulfilling lives. He plays various musical instruments, sings in a choir, does dragon boating and even gardening, among other activities. With his amicable personality, he is well-liked by his peers and impresses those around him with his learning abilities and determined attitude. This year, he joins the YMCA Special Needs Inclusive Challenge to further build his confidence and physical capabilities while striving to reach new heights.
Wei Kang is a very easy-going person. He is such an obedient boy and brings us so much joy.
– Wei Kang’s Mother
Wei Kang is a talented athlete by nature who loves the great outdoors. He enjoys long-distance cycling with his friends and cycles almost 20km a day, with the longest distance clocked at 80km! Wei Kang is also currently a Special Olympics running athlete. Apart from sports, he enjoys listening to music and is a big fan of JJ Lin and Westlife! Wei Kang’s mother hopes that the YMCA Special Needs Inclusive Challenge can be a platform for him to further build up his social skills.
Vince is a very helpful and independent individual. I hope that the public can be more accepting and understanding towards persons with special needs like him.
– Vince's Mother
After scaling Mt Fuji in the first-ever YMCA Inclusive Climb 2019, Vince is back to conquer Mt Fuji again this year! He enjoys basking in nature during the training sessions that the Special Needs Ambassadors embark on every Saturday. Vince also truly shines bright like a diamond with his various talents and accomplishments. Apart from having his own diamond art venture @craftsbyvince on Instagram, the youth with autism is also a competent and independent housekeeping staff at YMCA @ One Orchard.
The YMCA Special Needs Inclusive Challenge is an awareness and fundraising event in support of youth with special needs. Funds raised will go to our special needs programmes so youth with special needs can lead an even more independent and dignified life.