Channeling Our Gratitude into Service
Giving back to the community is not a foreign concept to many Singaporeans, however the driving factors for each person are very different! Some could do it because of obligation, because of parental influence or even based on personal convictions!
llie with other volunteers painting the Woodlands Centre
For one of our volunteers, 22 year-old Illie, giving back to the community was something she has always wanted to do because of her understanding of the importance of serving the community.
From a young age, Illie has been taught by her mother the importance of having good morals and values even through the different trials in life. She believes in the importance of taking ownership of one’s life and personal growth.
Her desire to serve the youths comes from a place of believing that having “positive influences” is important for youths “because they will discover different types of influences while growing up”.
She first heard about YGOS through her school’s community engagement programme back in October 2020 and decided to join us. Involved mainly in our ELMP (Experiential Learning Mentorship programme), Illie attended 4 sessions and conducted activities with the youths such as schedule planning, team games and even painting the walls of our Woodlands Centre.
However, volunteering did not come without its challenges. When Covid-19 hit, our Experiential Learning Mentoring programmes (ELMP) went online. Engaging the youths through a screen was definitely a challenge but with innovative and interactive games, Illie managed to teach the youths how to plan their school holidays using SMART goals. Illie had learnt this method of goal setting through her university Degree in Human Resource Management with Psychology and thought it could potentially benefit the youths too. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
When the ELMP programme resumed onsite, Illie soon discovered that befriending youths was harder than she thought. Although she was initially afraid of striking up conversations with them, she eventually gained confidence through observing the staff and managed to connect with the youths through similar interests such as art! Through this mutual interest, Illie was able to bring the conversation to a deeper, personal level where she talked to the youths about their thoughts and emotions.
Illie expressed her strong passion in art as well as teaching others more about it. Knowing that some of the youths at her centre enjoy art, she took on a project with them to paint a beautiful mural on the walls of our Woodlands Office which has been praised by many of the residents living in the area! Illie also shared her gratitude towards the staff for being so supportive of her and helped her in the planning and execution phases of the project.
Appreciative of how much she has learnt about youth work and herself from YGOS, she has encouraged many of her friends to join us as volunteers to be open to new experiences and widen their perspective of the community. It is understood that volunteering is hard work, but Illie showed us the heart behind the hard and the why behind and the how - it was impossible to leave without feeling inspired.
As a self-driven youth who acknowledges that she would not be who she is today without the love and support she received during her teenage years, Illie desires to support youths as best as she can and hopes that they will always be open to new opportunities that may come their way. She also leaves with the hope that youths will find motivations in their life as challenges are inevitable and we need these motivations to anchor us in life.