Volunteering helps to improve the lives of others and is suitable for people of all ages willing to invest their time. Transitioning into a new phase of their lives and with more time at their disposal, there are many seniors who choose to be other-centred and spend their free time by volunteering for the community.
Here, we share 5 seniors who are making a difference in their community. So remarkable are their contributions that they have been nominated in this year’s President’s Volunteerism & Philanthropy Awards in the People of Good (Senior) category!
Take a look below to find out how they have contributed tremendously to the causes they hold dear, and what motivates them to continuously dedicate their time and effort.
Lydia Tan is a volunteer with Assisi Hospice and winner of the PVPA 2021 People of Good Award. Her duties as a volunteer-carer include befriending patients, assisting them with feeding, bed sponging and diaper changing.
The 67-year-old is also part of the No One Dies Alone (NODA) Programme to comfort dying patients who have little to no family support. She also went out of her way to mentor other volunteers when the hospice started a volunteer mentorship programme.
“Being a volunteer at Assisi Hospice has allowed me to embrace a great fullness of life with love and joy, death and grief. It has taught me to let go and be in the present,” said Lydia wholeheartedly. Having clocked in more than 1,600 volunteer hours, her devotion to selflessly care for others is truly admirable.
N Sumana Thero
Ven. N Sumana Thero is the Secretary General to Singapore Buddhist Federation (SBF) and has served the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) for 34 years by counseling inmates. For his distinguished contributions, he was a recipient of the Minister of Home Affairs National Day Award in 2020.
Ven Sumana finds fulfillment when he sees the impact of his guidance and counsel on the inmates. Many of the ex-offenders move on to lead healthy and successful lives, some even come back to volunteer as prison counselors. When Ven Sumana witnesses their transformation from prison to becoming positive members of society, this is his primary motivation to keep doing good even after 34 years.
To this day, he continues his noble work to help ex-offenders reintegrate back to society, while inspiring many more to join the cause.
Jocelyn Lim became a volunteer soon after ItsRainingRaincoats (IRR) was established. IRR is an initiative that aims to improve the lives of migrant workers in Singapore to facilitate their integration into our community.
If you have heard of the heartwarming excursions for Singapore’s migrant workers to visit the Singapore Flyer, you will be pleased to know that it was all Jocelyn’s idea. “Seeing the smiles on the workers makes all the sacrifices worth it,” Jocelyn says with contentment after a tiring day.
Besides working with migrant workers, recruiting and leading volunteers, Jocelyn also believes in encouraging the younger generation to give back. She does this by introducing student organisations to help the migrant worker community.
A para-counsellor with O’Joy since 2006, Maria Koh has dedicated 15 years of her life to doing good. She spends her time, energy and effort to serve older persons, persons with mental & physical disabilities, and residents of the community. She visits her clients once or twice a month and her duties include befriending, escorting them to medical appointments, visiting them in nursing homes and hospitals and assisting them in financial management, amongst many others.
Maria is flexible with her time and is willing to go the extra mile to help clients in unique circumstances. Besides visiting clients at their homes, she has accompanied them to HDB, banks, ICA, prisons, hospitals, and even assisted them in their Medifund renewal.
“I reach out to those who need me to be their reliable pillar of support,” Maria expressed. With a volunteer like Maria in their presence, clients feel more at ease and less alone despite their challenging situations.
Gun Ah Boi
Anybody can make a difference and Mdm Gun Ah Boi proves so. She is a housewife from a low-income family who loves helping out at the temple in Stirling View. She cooks and delivers food and also collects donations to be distributed to needy residents in the neighborhood.
When Covid-19 struck, Mdm Gun Ah Boi played an active role in the community by patrolling the area as a Safe Distancing Ambassador, and helping fellow seniors adapt to the new norm of wearing a mask! She assisted in the distribution of face masks and care packs, and encouraged others to take their vaccinations when they felt fearful.
“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only our care and compassion can heal,” Mdm Gun Ah Boi tells of her motivation to keep doing good for the community.
Encourage the seniors around you to volunteer. Explore www.giving.sg for volunteering opportunities!