“The Red Pencil really opened my eyes to the amount of effort that organisations like TRP put in to be a light to others who face troubling situations."
Why did you want to intern at The Red Pencil?
I've always been interested in the arts, more specifically, the performing arts. I grew up surrounded by music and dance and experienced first-hand how they helped make me a better and more emotionally stable person. In that sense, I've always felt a special connection towards work that has to do with the arts. At the same time, after my student exchange programme in the US was cancelled, I was looking for an internship that I felt would give me the opportunity to understand the non-profit space and hone my marketing skills. Back then, my sister Sarah, who is currently undertaking her MA in AThR in LASALLE, shared with me about The Red Pencil, which led me to research more about the organization and apply for the internship role which I felt was a combination of all my interests.
How has the internship been beneficial to your personal and professional development?
On a personal level, my experience has been a humbling one. Especially since this was my first internship in a non-profit organisation, The Red Pencil really opened my eyes to the amount of effort that organisations like TRP put in to be a light to others who face troubling situations. It has made me more empathetic to others, and realise how unaware I've been of groups in society that need more on-the-ground support.
On a professional level, my internship at The Red Pencil taught me how to be disciplined in the work that I do. It is easy for people to underestimate the role of social media in the non-profit space, but through this internship, I've learnt the value of establishing a connection with the public to help them better understand and feel passionate towards our cause.
I've also had the privilege to try out new softwares, such as Mailchimp and Hootsuite, as well as grow my patience and attention to detail through data entry and administrative tasks.
What was your experience like working virtually from home?
Working from home was an interesting experience for me! I feel fortunate because Joyce and Daryl were very supportive. They took time to check in on my progress and were always easily reachable. Even though our communications were fully online, I could feel their sincerity and kindness quite tangibly!
What is the most valuable piece of insight you've gained from your time with The Red Pencil?
I would say the most valuable insight I gained came from my involvement in tasks regarding The Red Pencil's mission in Kibera, Kenya. Being able to see (virtually) the work that was being done there amidst the pandemic, made me understand the impact that art therapy has on people, especially on vulnerable groups like children. Being able to learn stories of the individuals who benefit from art therapy and such missions re-affirmed in me the power and value of the arts in practice. It gave me a better picture of why the arts and art therapy is so important. My experience has made me wish that more attention and support can be directed towards providing art therapy for others in need.
Have you used creative arts in your personal life as a form of self-expression, grounding or coping?
Yes! Music has always been a constant outlet for me to express myself. As someone who used to struggle with verbalising her thoughts and feelings to others, music provided me with the means to overcome my fear of vulnerability. At a low period of my life, I busked, performed and shared my music with others to help me gain confidence in myself and connect with others more deeply. Looking back, when I was a little girl, playing the guitar and singing with my dad was my favourite thing to do. Up until now, I pick up the guitar and sing every day, whether it is to ground myself, relax, and/or process certain situations in my life.
Dancing and choreographing has also been an important medium for me to self-express. I started dancing when I was six and often found myself in dance studios or dancing in my room whenever I needed time to think, hone my creativity and/or reflect on my feelings. At the same time, I've found dancing and freestyling with others as a strong source of comfort for myself. I've seen how dancing together has created a common space for others to be vulnerable in a safe and comfortable environment, which I've found to be quite rare and worth treasuring.
“Being able to learn stories of the individuals who benefit from art therapy and such missions re-affirmed in me the power and value of the arts in practice."
What's your favourite form of creative expression?
I won't say I have a favourite, but a form of creative expression that I've found the most accessible for me is writing. Writing poetry and lyrics is a personal form of creative expression that I enjoy, which I find quite different from the performing arts! There's something about putting your unfiltered thoughts down on paper solely for yourself that feels liberating and fulfilling.
What are some of your plans and goals after your internship at The Red Pencil?
I'm currently in my final semester in NUS and am working on a research project regarding environmentalism in Singapore. After graduation, I hope to pursue a Juris Doctor, or a career in the social services, sustainability, or arts sector!