Volunteers make a difference by giving their time, effort and energy to support different causes.
VOLUNTEERISM is defined by the Oxford dictionary as the use or involvement of volunteer labour, in community services. Such services are provided in a group with no financial gain. It aims to improve the quality of human life, leaving behind positive benefits for the volunteer as well as for the person or community served.
As the cost of living increases coupled with the demand to fulfil one’s personal life, career and family commitments, it has also become increasingly difficult to find time for volunteerism work.
On the other hand, I still believe that volunteerism can actually bring enormous benefits to the volunteers and their families. Besides making new friends while doing volunteer work, it never ceases to lighten my mood every time I reach out to the various communities in need.
At times, I learnt so much by observing these people. They are determined, strong and courageous in facing any of life’s challenges. It helps renew my determination to be as strong minded and to live each day with no regrets.
I have been involved in volunteer work for the community since I was a child. My father used to be a part of a charity organisation. He would bring me along when he went and visited orphanages and old folks’ homes. My mother would help by preparing a variety of dishes for the community while my father and the rest of the volunteers would help mend things around the homes, clean up the compound, do the dishes and clean the dirty laundry.
I would be running around the compound talking to old folks or playing with the orphans at the homes. I have always enjoyed my time at the homes as it not only brought our family closer together but it also brought meaning into other people’s lives. It created a sense of warmth in my heart.
Working full time combined with being a wife and mother of one, I find my my joy and passion for volunteerism work has not diminished. I always believe in the saying where there is a will, there will always be a way.
Before my son turned four, my husband and I would take turns caring for him over the weekend while the other spent the day as a volunteer or taking part in charity events. I am lucky to have a supportive husband who is passionate about contributing extra time to the community. This is where we find happiness and contentment in our hearts – by giving and helping those in need.
When I couldn’t take time off for outdoor charity events due to family commitments, I would volunteer my time to prepare things from home.
As an example, this included preparing meals from home for the elderly or orphans.
Now, my son is five and I have begun taking him along with me to some of the charity events. In a way, this has helped my son discover his interest in the arts. This was thanks to getting involved in projects for the S P Setia Foundation’s Setia Caring School Programme. The Foundation was looking for volunteers to help whenever they had activities be it for the for the community, environment, friends, family and more.
The moment I saw the email from S P Setia Foundation, I knew I had to register myself as a volunteer as this programme takes caring for the society to a whole new level. It actually inculcates a sense of love and care for our children, our next generation which I personally believe is much needed in our society nowadays.
“Sharing is caring” which was a recent ‘Arts and Crafts’ project organised by the S P Setia Foundation is a testament to this. As a volunteer for this project, my task was to share how to make homemade play dough with the parents and their children so they could mould them into creative art pieces.
The simple act of mixing and kneading the dough helped to instil good virtues in the children and at the same time stimulate their mental and character development. They learnt how to collaborate, think creatively in solving problems, ask questions and use their senses in creating something on their own. They are certainly right to say that children are like a piece of white paper, or in this case, “play dough” waiting to be molded into various shapes, where the only limit is their own imagination.
I smiled as I watched the children playing with the dough and the parents cheering them on. I realised that I have discovered the key to happiness from a simple action of bringing joy to others.
The whole experience as a volunteer has made me a better and more caring person. It has armed me with new inspiration and motivation. I hope to make this world a better place. Kudos to Team Setia for embarking on this noble initiative. I hope to volunteer my time in upcoming activities.
The writer is a senior application support analyst at S P Setia.