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Meet Phyllis, a warm-hearted soul with four decades worth of experience working in the community and social service sector in Singapore. Her journey with Beautiful People (BP) began 16 years ago when she noticed a gap in services for girls leaving residential  homes who struggled to reintegrate back into society or successfully reconnect with their families. Teaming up with other fellow volunteers Shindy, Dawn and Gail, Phyllis initiated one of Beautiful People’s flagship programmes "My Beautiful Life" (MBL), offering  emotional and social support to these girls a year before being discharged from their respective residential homes, and following up with their progress on a frequent basis.. Starting out with around 20 to 30 volunteers, My Beautiful Life has a pool of more than 200 volunteers today. Besides overseeing matters related to My Beautiful Life, Phyllis also provides mentorship support to the girls. 

What keeps her devoted to Beautiful People? For Phyllis, it was a mixture of her own drive for change and a deep sense of community spirit through her involvement in various programmes within Beautiful People. Through Dream Fund, Phyllis and her team hope to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty by opening doors to new life opportunities. For instance, her team organised a trip to corporations like Amazon, where the girls learnt more about the organisation and job opportunities available, inspiring them to consider their future career paths. Additionally, her team previously worked with law firms in providing job shadowing opportunities for 2 of the girls who were keen in exploring Human Resource roles. With Dream Fund’s Education Sponsorship supported by Changi Foundation, the girls were able to fund their diploma studies and attain the necessary qualifications for their dream career. 

Through My Beautiful Family (MBF) @ Singapore Girls Home (SGH), volunteers pose as ‘adult figures’ for girls who do not have family support by attending various ceremonies and parent visits. Phyllis noted “Working with BP over 16 years, I saw how our programmes made it possible for the girls to break out of the cycle of intergenerational poverty and achieve positive life outcomes. Some even have their own house, cars and through their success, I’ve learnt to appreciate life more and be grateful for what I have.” 

One of Phyllis's fondest memories throughout her leadership journey with Beautiful People? She received a hamper from one of her mentees during Chinese New Year to express her appreciation and gratitude for the continuous support. Her mentee went through various challenges in her life and worked hard to turn her life around.

She successfully broke out of the intergenerational poverty cycle and bought her own house after achieving a good financial state. Today, the mentee has since received several awards at her workplace and is able to financially support her family.  

Seeing the girls thrive, breaking free from poverty and achieving their dreams, drives Phyllis to not only continue her efforts in transforming their own lives but also uplifting their communities as seen with a quote that resonates with her leadership values “Leaders create results by empowering others to shine.”

To those starting their journey, Phyllis shares a light-hearted nugget of wisdom: “For our girls who suffered years of trauma and violence, we should engage them sincerely and hope for positive change regardless of unforeseen circumstances. Our engagement with them spans beyond the programmes as we continue celebrating their personal milestones such as graduation, marriage and even having children more than 10 years later today. Witnessing these changes in our girls is inherently rewarding. Therefore, free your time to volunteer instead of volunteering in your free time.”

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