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Candy: My Volunteering Story

Our volunteer, Candy, second from left.

Candy, a full-time financial consultant, joined us earlier this year as a volunteer mentor for our Mentoring Programme! With the flexibility she had in her schedule, she was able to balance her time to come alongside YGOS to impact the lives of the youth. Read on to find out what inspired her to do so!

When you first started volunteering with us, what were some things you looked forward to?

Candy: “I was mentally prepared that mentoring young girls may not be an easy task. I actually went in feeling quite afraid and unsure if I had the ability to handle this group of youths, and whether I could even be of any help to them.

During my interactions with the other staff and volunteers, I realised that most of them had some counselling background, while I was the only one without that experience! It caused me to worry slightly and have some self-doubt. Could I be of any help? Would I be able to value-add to their mentoring, especially those under my care? These were some of my thoughts.

However, after a few months of interacting with the youths, it dawned on me that these were not causes for concern at all!

These girls were not looking for someone to counsel and give them treatment for their perceived problems. They were ultimately seeking for your listening ear, your heart to care for them by sharing from your own life experiences when you were their age, from your wisdom in truth. No doubt, having some sort of counselling equipping could have been helpful in certain situations, but that’s when I look to my group of fellow mentors to exchange tips.”

Did you face any challenges?

Candy: “Definitely! There were some challenges in the beginning, mainly because we didn't know each other, so they were hesitant to talk to me. But after a couple of sessions, the girls began to open up a little more.

Coincidentally, I found out that I shared many similar musical interests with the girls! For example, we all enjoyed listening to music as a form of relaxation, one of them was a pianist like myself, and we liked Jay Chou! Food-wise, one of them did not like eating veggies, similar to myself, haha!”

Were there any memorable events that you recall?

Candy: “There was a particular girl, let’s call her B. After a couple of sessions, we began to share more in-depth issues and she really poured out her heart to me. In one instance, she started crying as she shared, and in that moment, all I could do was to give her soothing words and my quiet presence by her side. The feeling was magical to me, as she left the session smiling, which was good! To me, that was worth the 2-3 month wait for them to open up!”

What sparked your passion to give back to society?

Candy: “I was brought up by my grandmother, and we shared a very close relationship. I realised that the elderly needed a lot of attention, as they may be lonely, and they enjoyed having people to talk to.

As I watched my grandparents age along with my children’s growth into teenagers, I had an increased desire to gain more experience and skills in communication. As I entered into Mentoring Programme, I came to realize that youths are a group that lack the much-needed care and attention. I also found it meaningful to nurture the young.”

Tell us about your personal convictions in reaching out to the younger generation!

Candy: “I have a small age gap between my mom and myself, so we are able to chat about anything and everything, just like friends! Because of this, I have always fancied such a relationship even for my children. It is my hope that parents (or even mentors) are able to nurture such friendships with the young, so that the youth are able to relate to the adult rather than see them as people who “only know how to control or nag at them.”

I have come to learn that youths have their own thinking patterns and adults will have their own mindsets, that’s why for adults, it takes us more time and effort to relate to the youths and to see things from the youth’s perspectives.

We as adults need to understand how and when to exert authority, and when not to, learning to relate instead of dictate.”

What are the few things that came into your mind when I mentioned the word “youth”?

Candy: “We need to be open-minded to youths, being willing to learn and share. That’s the key. If we are not open-minded, we will be stuck with our old thinking and there’s no way we can go into their world. And if we’re only keen to tell them what to do and not keen to learn from them, be prepared to lose their attention.”

What advice would you give to this generation of young people?

Candy: “Do not be afraid to open up to communicate. You may be afraid and remain guarded because you feel that no one understands you. But it all starts with communication. If you would dare to take the first step to share your needs and fears, people can then relate to how you are feeling.

If there’s a new volunteer coming into a mentoring programme, what would you say to them?

Candy: “Enjoy yourselves! Don’t see these youths as just somebody younger than you. Chat with them and try to get to know them better, the rest will come in naturally once you have formed a bond with them. Don’t worry too much!”

As a volunteer with YGOS, what are the unique challenges and benefits?

Candy: "I appreciate that the staff are very supportive, and constantly check in with the volunteers, constantly keeping us in mind! Training is also provided for us. The organisation is also open to feedback, which is very good! As we listen, we seek to improve."

We would like to thank Candy for her time, effort and sincere care for our youths! We hope that you were inspired by her experience, and if you desire to volunteer with us, you may find out more via the link below!

Join us as a Volunteer today! Click this link now:

"Helping one person might not change the world, but it could change the world for one person."

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