As the CEO of Vanda Sports Group, a sports marketing agency in Singapore, while managing a stable of other companies, Ian Mullane’s schedule is packed with business meetings, overseas trips and family commitments.
However when ISCOS approached him in 2011 for professional advice on event management and fundraising initiatives, he not only offered his services but gamely took his involvement several steps further. He signed up as a volunteer for the ISCOS Support Group and Mentoring Programmes, employed one ISCOS member and opened up his boxing club facilities to young ISCOS members with the aim of developing their interest in the sport.
Explaining his passion for the organisation’s work, Ian said, “I felt the organisational approach and services provided by ISCOS were strong and the vision of the organisation was aligned with my view on rehabilitation.”
One of the support groups where he volunteered as a co-facilitator opened his eyes to the difficulties members face in finding employment due to their past records. “I could see one individual who had the personality and communication skills to progress further than he where currently was. We had a few discussions and he came over to work for one of our companies. His performance was excellent and he fulfilled his commitments over and above,” shared Ian.
Ian took it upon himself to mentor this new staff, who became all the more motivated to do better. When he expressed a desire to return to full-time education, Ian’s company sponsored him. “The challenges members have are often a lot more complex than their original offence. Socio-economic factors are often very complicated and it is not as simple as reform through punishment. The necessity to provide motivation, structure and assistance is imperative,” said Ian, who is also mentoring a youth offender due for release soon. The programme involves letter writing and face-to-face prison visits, followed by fortnightly meet-ups with his mentee once he is on Release-on-Supervision scheme.
“The best things about volunteering are learning about other people, understanding someone else’s challenges and being able in a small way to help them get back on their feet.”
As for his boxing club, 15 ISCOS members have since tried out while four are in constant training.
ISCOS members realised the commitment necessary to participate in the sport. It demands holistically that your lifestyle be as healthy as possible. Members have also learnt that to box well you must have full emotional control and self-awareness.
Ian’s clear passion for developing people has been amplified by his volunteer experience with ISCOS. He flourishes in environments where he is able to work with youth and assist them in improving their self-esteem and social skills. And it shows. For the past year, his work with ISCOS has been nothing short of life-changing.