With the renewed GIFT (Giving in Faith & Thankfulness) appeal, to Ignite the Flame of Hope, Catholic Foundation aims to garner more support for the archdiocese. Contributions received by the GIFT campaign fund the work of several archdiocesan organisations. These organisations are driven by lay workers who are passionate about their work and labour tirelessly. We feature Merilyn from Archdiocesan Commission of Catholic Schools (ACCS) who share what and why she gives in this way.

My ten-year journey with ACCS started when I felt the need for a change. I had almost 18 years of experience in the preschool sector, but it was with a large secular organisation.

Deciding to work here was a difficult choice as I was also offered a managerial position by my then-employer at the same time that ACCS offered me the job. In the end, I chose ACCS as it allowed me to work on formation of principals and educators, as well as on the formation curriculum for the children.

My husband knew I needed this change. He agreed that the formation work would be beneficial for me, and indirectly for our family too. He had been very encouraging when I joined as a part-time staff. I have since found it very fulfilling as I had three kids and was able to spend extra time with them.

Initially, my role in ACCS was to oversee the Catholic preschools in Singapore – both archdiocesan schools as well as those under various religious orders. Additionally, for the past seven years, I have taken up collaborative work with the Brisbane Catholic Education Office. Together, we have brought the preschool, primary and secondary school educators from Catholic schools in both countries over to the other. These programmes have given educators a chance to learn from each other the methods to nurture and grow students in the faith.

Merilyn Dasson (fourth from left) works at the Archdiocesan Commission for Catholic Schools (ACCS). This archdiocesan body works with Catholic schools to develop whole persons who will grow to be men and women for God and for society.

Trying to organise these huge events with an office as lean as ours can be quite challenging. We deal with many stakeholders and the logistics can be overwhelming. Thankfully, we are blessed with many volunteers. Otherwise it would be tougher to do what we do. Most of our volunteers are participants of previous years’ events. They have gained from their experience with us and feel the need to give back.

I get a certain level of satisfaction when I see that educators are learning and growing from a programme, and knowing that the children and their families will ultimately be the ones benefitting. It is this fulfilment that keeps me going. Working in the Church, the fruits may not always be monetary and you have to look beyond. Your reward may not always be visible, but you will be richly blessed in many other ways.

– Published in Catholic News 8 Dec 2019

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