I had the privilege of being invited to join the annual fundraising event of The Intellectually Disabled Education and Advocacy League Limited (IDEAL) at the Holiday Inn Golden Mile. The day was already in full swing when I arrived, and despite my exhaustion from a day of running, the positive energy in the packed ballroom was truly invigorating.
As we gathered for a sumptuous lunch, I was impressed by the generosity and thoughtfulness of the event organizers. Even with my last-minute request for a vegan meal, the Holiday Inn managed to craft a delightful and satisfying dish tailored to my dietary preferences.
Seated next to Katherine Li, the Chairperson of the NPO, and across from the remarkable Nancy Sit and Jo Junior, the room was brimming with incredible energy and warmth. Both Nancy Sit and Jo Junior radiated a kind of infectious positivity that truly uplifted the atmosphere.
The Intellectually Disabled Education and Advocacy League Limited (IDEAL) holds a vision of creating an inclusive society with a good quality of life for people with intellectual disabilities and their families. Their mission is to equip individuals with intellectual disabilities with skills for independent living, foster a community of mutual assistance and support, raise awareness and acceptance in society, and advocate for the rights and welfare of those with intellectual disabilities.
IDEAL, established in 1989 by a group of individuals with intellectual disabilities, parents, and volunteers, became a registered charitable organization in 1991. Rooted in the principle of "GIVE and TAKE," IDEAL actively works to uplift and support those with intellectual disabilities. It holds membership in esteemed organizations such as the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, The Hong Kong Sports Association for Persons with Intellectual Disability, and the Agency for Volunteer Service, and is also a proud supporter of the Life Care Movement.
The event was a delightful mix of entertainment and purpose, starting with an entertaining kids' catwalk that brought joy and laughter to everyone present. The highlight for me, however, was the soulful performance of a 13-year-old girl playing the Guzheng, an ancient Chinese zither with over 2,500 years of history. It was a mesmerizing cultural experience that left a lasting impression on everyone in the room.
Being part of this event reminded me once again of the extraordinary power of community and the importance of using our platforms to make a difference. The heartwarming performances and heart-to-heart conversations left an indelible mark on me, reaffirming that together, we can transform lives and create a brighter future for all.
A heartfelt thank you to The Intellectually Disabled Education and Advocacy League Limited for inviting me to be a part of this beautiful day. Let's continue to embrace compassion, unity, and the spirit of giving – after all, it's in these acts that we truly create a world worth living in.
"Individually, we are a drop. Together, we are an ocean of compassion, unity, and transformative change."
Jo Lodder is a trail runner, business leader, and philanthropist. He's the co-founder of JNW Asia, a property marketing company based in Hong Kong focused on Niseko projects, and a master agent of SnowDog, a hospitality brand. He's also became the first person in history to complete the HK5Trails in Hong Kong with the Run for Freedom challenge to raise money for charity. With a passion for helping others and a drive for success, Jo inspires through his love of adventure and entrepreneurship.
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