“While many many think that (volunteering) is only about giving, it actually allows us to gain more than what we give.”
My name is Jayna, and I am currently completing my Masters of Art in Counselling at Singapore Bible College. The stories of single mothers always pull at my heartstrings. While hearing about them brings me to tears, it also reminds me of their resilience and makes me feel hopeful for them. Hence as part of my practicum, I am a volunteer counsellor at HCSA SPIN.
In my role, I conduct counselling sessions with HCSA SPIN members – sometimes together with their children – to better understand their predicaments and come up with comprehensive treatment plans that help to address their needs. Through these sessions, I learn about their upbringing, experiences, and struggles. With every individual I meet, I look forward to journeying and growing with them. Being able to witness positive transformation among our SPIN members and their families is one of my greatest joys.
Through these meaningful interactions, I am constantly reminded that growth does not happen overnight. Even small successes call for a celebration! While many may think that volunteering is only about giving, it actually allow us to gain more than what we give.
“Even when I feel tired from work and personal responsibilities, seeing positive outcomes from the relationships I have nurtured with my befriendee, and their family is a reward in itself.”
I am Jennifer and I work as a personnel assistant in a property management company. As a single mother of two myself, I understand the challenges, joys, and struggles of raising a child (or children) alone. Despite having to juggle multiple responsibilities, we must still remain emotionally strong for our children. On difficult days, this can be tough. So I have a natural inclination to want to reach out to other single mothers who may be facing similar situation and need support. In 2018, a friend introduced me to HCSA. When I learned about HCSA SPIN and how its programme serves single-parent families, I immediately knew I wanted to volunteer.
Being an Ally Befriender is fulfilling, but not an easy undertaking. Essentially, based on a HCSA SPIN member’s needs, we provide them with added emotional and social support. Through regular phone calls, meet-ups, or home visits, we listen, encourage them, and sometimes offer advice (if sought) throughout their journeys.
For me, I occasionally invite my befriendee and her son to dine out and enjoy a meal. I have fond memories of one particular night when my befriendee’s son held my hand and did not want to let go when it was time to go home. These unexpected moments made me realise that giving does not always require materialistic returns. Even when I feel tired from work and personal responsibilities, seeing positive outcomes from the relationships I have nurtured with my befriendee and their family is a reward in itself.
“There are a lot of people who need help and I’d love to be a part of a community that supports each other - that’s why I volunteer.”
HCSA Community Services
I am Cyril Ong, a 76-year-old man who can’t stop moving! I did business in the medical field for many decades, before deciding to retire in 2009. Since 2010, I have been a regular volunteer at various charitable organisations – from managing a youth football club, to cycling with seniors, and now to teaching fellow volunteers how to tend to community gardens.
In early 2022, I was introduced to HCSA via a contact. Since then, I have led its group of regular senior volunteers to bring the organisation’s urban farm to life and maintain it. As the lead volunteer for the urban farm, I coordinate and oversee its total operations by working alongside other volunteers to regularly manage its infrastructure and irrigation system. Fresh produce from HCSA’s urban farm – though still only in small batches – actually supplement the meals cooked by students from HCSA Academy.
Volunteer work has given me a different perspective in life. Even though I have stopped working, I am still able to live my life meaningfully by serving in areas that I previously had no chance to when I was working full-time. There are a lot of people who need help and I’d love to be part of a community that supports each other – that’s why I volunteer.
“When I offer my time, effort, and knowledge to make a positive impact on someone, it brings me simple, yet much-needed joy.”
As a former software consultant for numerous multinational corporations and statutory boards, my job gave me the opportunity to meet new people and engage in different projects, both of which I find exciting. Similarly, volunteering at HCSA as a lead volunteer guide for seniors who come in monthly to cook meals for the HCSA Highpoint residents, gives me the same satisfaction and excitement!
As lead volunteer guide I facilitate the cooking sessions, train new volunteer guides, gather feedback to improve existing processes, and have the autonomy to implement changes to help nurture a warm, friendly environment where both senior volunteers and residents can interact comfortably and meaningfully.
One of the contributions I feel most proud of was the creation of a set of slides containing important information for new volunteers to know. It has been successfully implemented and utilised by other volunteer guides to present at the start of each session. I am heartened that this initiative has helped improve the volunteers’ experience by keeping them engaged.
Volunteering is a chance for me to use my strengths that were given by God to bless others. When I offer my time, effort and knowledge to make a positive impact on someone, it brings me a simple, yet much-needed joy.
“Since I’ve started volunteering, there has been more positivity in our lives. I hope this brings similar positivity into the girls’ lives too and contribute to their recovery.”
I am Kate, and together with my helper, Jenelyn, we run a ‘Dog Play’ at HCSA DRTC - regular playdate sessions where residents have the opportunity to interact with my dogs.
Through these sessions, we hope that by sharing the companionship of my four ‘fur-kids’ – two Dachshunds, a Maltepoo, and a Doxiepoo – it could help provide a source of comfort to these vulnerable teenage girls who are on their journeys of healing and recovery from the trauma they have experienced.
It brings me joy whenever I see or hear the HCSA DRTC residents affectionately addressing my dogs as ‘baby’, cuddling and even caring for them like their own pets. An unforgettable incident for me was when my dogs were bitten by ants while being walked along the road, and the girls enthusiastically volunteering to help wash their paws!
I chose to volunteer because I believe that Jenelyn, my dogs, the girls, and I can benefit from these meaningful interactions. Since I started volunteering, there has been more positivity in our lives. I hope this brings similar positivity into the girls’ lives too and contribute to their recovery. When I see the joy on the girls’ and my dogs’ faces, I know that at that very moment, all their hearts are filled with love.
“It’s heartening to see (our SPIN members) doing their best to gradually improve their situation.”
I am currently completing my Graduate Diploma in Social Work at National University of Singapore and am working towards becoming a social worker upon graduation. I have a passion for working with families, so I decided to do my internship at HCSA SPIN. I enjoy interacting with our HCSA SPIN members and their families as we seek to understand how our programme can best support them.
As a social work intern, I support my team primarily with casework management. I admit that I find our work in the social service sector challenging, particularly when current systems in place affect the ability of our HCSA SPIN members to make optimal decisions for themselves and their families. In spite of their difficult circumstances, it is heartening to see them persevering and doing their best to gradually improve their family’s situation. It feels good knowing that HCSA SPIN is able to give focused support to empower these single parents.
A memorable experience for me was when we had to distribute grocery vouchers (through the Give Hope Fund) to help our single-parent families cope with the rising inflation. It was a rare opportunity to meet those that we serve face to face and hear their stories, struggles, and the impact our work at HCSA has made on their lives.
“My internship has allowed me to have a better understanding of the non-profit and social service sector in Singapore.”
HCSA Community Services
My internship at HCSA was such an enjoyable and memorable one! Being part of the Strategic Communications team not only provided me with valuable hands-on experience in my field of interest, but also the opportunity to gain new skills and knowledge. The warm, friendly colleagues who were always ready to lend a helping hand whenever I had doubts or faced difficulties in my work enhanced my internship experience.
As I am completing my studies at a local university, the stint at HCSA has allowed me to have a better understanding of the non-profit and social service sector in Singapore and will aid me greatly in my career planning.