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The Salvation Army Kiss Mama Walk for Mums
Kiss Mothers Simultaneously
Support Mothers of Children with Special Needs
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Mother’s Day is the time to send our blessings, show our love and express our gratitude to mum. On Mother’s Day (10 May), The Salvation Army and nearly 1,700 supporters gathered at Kai Tak Runway Park for the “Kiss Mama Walk for Mums”. All participants putting on aprons kissed their mothers simultaneously, and more importantly, to recognise mother’s tireless love and raise funds for the families with special needs children.  
 
The Salvation Army is much honoured to have Dr Ko Wing-man, Secretary for Food and Health of the HKSAR Government, as the guest of honour. Mr Wilfred Lau, artist; Mr Fung Wai-tong, Head of Chinese Programme Service, Radio Television Hong Kong; Mrs Anson Chan and Professor S. P. Chow, Members of The Salvation Army Advisory Board; and Lt. Colonel Ian Swan, Officer Commanding of The Salvation Army, were the officiating guests.
 
Kiss Mothers Simultaneously
Over the past three years, The Salvation Army has called people to thank mums for their unconditional love. This Walk was supported by nearly 1,700 people. Many of them joined with the whole family or even three generations. When they arrived at Kai Tak Runway Park, they walked freely on the grass and enjoyed the carnival. A ceremony was held to create the moment of “Kissing Mothers Simultaneously” before the Walk started.
 
Four daughters of the Ho’s family put on wigs to dress up as their mother and brought her to the event. They said, “We wish Mom good health and a happy life without worry!”
 
Many booths of the carnival were managed by the mentally challenged. They demonstrated their art talents, served snacks and brewed coffee. Parents of The Salvation Army Shek Wu School students made hundreds of silk flowers, showing their appreciation to the participants for their support to the families with special needs children.
 
Opinion Poll on Mothers with Special Needs Children
In addition, The Salvation Army conducted an opinion poll between April and May 2015 in service units. 150 mothers whose children have special needs responded the questionnaire. The results showed that nearly half of the mothers (44.7%) had depression symptoms (27% had mild symptoms, 14.2% had moderate symptoms, 3.5% had severe symptoms).
 
Ms Miranda Tang, Service Supervisor of The Salvation Army SKY Family and Child Development Centre, said that the percentage was comparatively higher than that of the normal population. There was no significant difference found on depression scores between the mothers with children of different diagnosis. Severity of depression was strongly related to children’s impact on mothers’ social life. It was also moderately correlated with mothers’ negative and positive perceptions regarding their children, and the level of perceived support needed.
 
“The top three types of support that mothers perceived to need were 1) informational, 2) professional, and 3) social supports. Specifically, mothers expressed the strongest need for extra-curricular activities suitable for children with special needs, information regarding children’s educational options, and professional intervention and support services. Among different diagnosis, there was a trend for parents of children with ASD and ADHD to perceive relatively higher need for various supports.”
 
Ms Tang suggested that we can help create an accepting and nonjudgmental environment for the parents of children with special needs. When we see children misbehave in public areas, we can refrain from criticism, giving the parents room to manage their children’s behavioural problems. We can also take simple actions to help, such as providing a seat on public transportation or moving belongings out of the child’s way if she/he is having a meltdown. This can encourage the parents to have more family activities in the community.   
 
“Parents are the backbone of a family. Raising a child with special needs requires both skills and knowledge. We assist couples to understand their parenting obstacles and provide professional advice to help them build a positive and supportive family,” said Ms Tang.
 
Acknowledgment to Supporting Parties
This meaningful event is made possible by the generosity of supporting organisations. The Army would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to Radio 2, RTHK; The Association of Hong Kong Civil Aid Service Volunteers China and Platform Group International Limited for their strong support. Thanks also go to many other parties namely Hahaclown, IVE Lite of The Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education, Little Greet Feet Parent-Child Reading Club, PolyArts of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and St. John Ambulance Brigade for their invaluable contribution. The assistance offered by Salvation Army units, including Shek Wu School, SKY Family and Child Development Centre, Kowloon City Corps (church), Staff Band, Cheung Hong Community Day Rehabilitation and Residential Service, Fitness Box, Heng On Integrated Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Lai King Home, Senior Citizens Talent Advancement (Tung Tau Centre), Shatin Park Food Kiosk, Shaukeiwan Community Day Rehabilitation Services and Tak Tin Community Day Rehabilitation Service are of equal importance for the Walk.
 
The Salvation Army Rehabilitation Service
The Salvation Army provides a wide range of services to the mentally challenged, such as integrated community day service, integrated vocational service, hostels and on the job training. The Salvation Army SKY Family and Child Development Centre serves parents and their children with special needs providing professional assessments and support services to help parents/ care takers to develop their children. Nearly 2,600 people both the mentally challenged and their family served by The Salvation Army in a year.
 
The Salvation Army Shek Wu School
The Salvation Army Shek Wu School is a special school offering six-year primary education and six-year secondary education for nearly 200 students. The School is dedicated to helping students overcome obstacles and realise their potentials, preparing them for making contributions to the society upon graduation. For over 25 years, Shek Wu School has been strongly supported by the community and enthusiastic supporters so that its students can enjoy the opportunities to take part in community activities, building up their confidence through acceptance and social inclusion.
 
A thousand people kiss moth...
The officiating guests wear...
Four daughters of the Ho’s ...
Many participants join the ...
Dr Ko Wing-man (4th right, ...
Participants join the walka...
Participants enjoy the time...