Meet Anson Poh, the Assistant Head of Home at Epworth HomeSweetHome, a service under Epworth Community Services, that provides stay-in therapy for children between the ages of 7 and 12.
Stories about change
Switching from a banking career to social service and then going on to help clients in their recovery journey – Anson’s career has been all about stories being rewritten. He first heard about Epworth Community Services from a childhood friend who was working there. Anson was working in a bank at that point and as lucrative as the prospects seemed, hearing about his friend’s experiences encouraged him to give social service a shot. There was no looking back. Over the years he has taken on different roles at Epworth and is now the Assistant Head of Home at the organisation’s Therapeutic Group Home for children, called Epworth HomeSweetHome (HSH). “I establish rapport with clients referred to us through the Ministry of Social and Family Development and help them on their road to recovery, collaborating with social workers, clinical psychologists, residential care staff, child protection officers, volunteers, teachers and parents,” he shares. Anson believes that in bringing about positive change, he and his colleagues help to rewrite the life scripts of their clients – like his first client who recovered and went on to top his school in the PSLE. “But that involves listening to the inner voice of each client and really understanding them,” he adds.
“For those of us working in residential settings within social service, hardly a day goes by that’s the same. Though we do have a set routine to follow, working with young clients always presents surprises,” reveals Anson when asked about a typical day at HSH. He is thankful for his colleagues who have been instrumental in work processes running smoothly. “They are the most dedicated group of people. Even on their off days they give time to discussions, case reviews and meetings without complaining. From the bottom of their hearts, they understand that sacrifices made today can result in a better future for our clients,” he says.
Musings on social service
Having now been in social service for a few years, Anson finds that his perception of it has changed. “Initially, I thought social service was just about helping people but I understood over time that there was more to it than meets the eye. Social service has been growing year by year with capable organisations that are professionally operated. The public misconception that it is just about volunteering and cannot be a career – is changing. In addition, I realised that it takes more than just passion or heart work in social service, it requires unwavering conviction,” he claims. Anson recently completed his further studies in social work and hopes to continue excelling in his role and contributing to his organisation.
A role in centre management is one of many in Social Service. To find out more, read about a career in services and programme management..