Stepping Up to be a Volunteer
I always felt the call to support causes. From obscure ones to do with nature or animal conservation, to those of the very basic human need – access to food, medicine, etc. However, being a working adult in time-starved Singapore meant one simply couldn’t pursue every societal cause that comes our way. One has to choose, to decide on a particular cause which resonates most with oneself and then to prioritize one’s time in order to support that cause.
My Experience as a BCS Volunteer
It all started when I chanced across a video highlighting the different work done by Bethesda Care Services (BCS). In that video, there was a segment that featured the importance of family bonding. The all too familiar theme of both working parents striving in the corporate world to bring home an income to support a child, who very much is left to himself/herself to grow up and expected to navigate through life’s unnerving trails alone. It struck a chord with me as I had on several points in my life been guilty of neglecting my own children in the pursuit of fame and fortune. However, I was blessed to have had a number of godly men speak good counsel into my life and reverse my course of action before it was too late.
I thought it important to bless others in the importance of good family bonding just as I had been blessed. At an information booth set up by BCS, I later learnt that the VWO was keen to sign up volunteers who were keen to make a difference in the lives of families who were challenged in this area. I immediately signed up as a volunteer and indicated the timeslots and frequency in which I was available to offer my service.
Not long after, I received a call from BCS’s Ms Kathleen Yee informing me of their plan to conduct a family bonding event in early 2016 with the intention of reaching out into the community to support such families. She shared the idea of doing a pizza making event which would be helmed by 9 different family-friendly games that parents and their children had to play together to obtain ingredients to make the pizza. Ultimately, the idea was to have up to 15 parent/child teams attend this event so that it would spark family communications beyond the daily grind of work and school.
The planning process
The core team comprised of three volunteers and two full time staff of BCS. We met a total of 4 times before the actual event and the elapsed time between the first meeting and the event itself was approximately 6 weeks.
Right from the start, I was very impressed that the full time staff were mindful of the time sacrificed by the volunteers and kept all meetings brief and organized. Every session had its agenda well thought out in advance and the follow up minutes/plans after each meeting were well documented.
I learnt the importance of teamwork as every session involved all members coming out with ideas for the event and having each idea tested by the group for soundness and feasibility. The volunteers comprised of people from different walks of life and every session was lively and progressive. At no point was anyone asked to do anything beyond one’s ability and spontaneity was very much the essence of the interactions. I also liked how the full time staff encouraged every volunteer to use their different talents to produce a creative program which showcased unity in diversity. On a lighter note, I never knew I had such a competitive spirit in me until my team mates had to tone down my expectations for the “passing mark” for each game!
The event itself was tiring in that every volunteer played numerous roles. However, the joy of seeing every one of the family participants so energized throughout the entire event was most satisfying.
I felt privileged to be given an opportunity to provide a little joy and hope to the many family participants. It was definitely a very positive experience that I’ll be happy to do all over again should another opportunity present itself.
Written by Cavin Choo
Cavin signed up as a Bethesda Care Services (BCS) volunteer last September, 2015, during our Awareness Week. He is a father of three, and works as a banker in Singapore. Together with Tony Goh, Teresa Sew and 13 other volunteers, they conducted a fun-filled parent child bonding event on 25th Jan 2016 for over 20 participants.
If you are keen to join us like Cavin did, do contact us through our sign up page. Bethesda Care & Counselling Services Centre is located at 300 Bedok North Avenue 3. To find out more, please visit our website or our facebook.
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