Meet Ellie Lew and Sigrun Grignani – two stellar nominees from this year’s President’s Volunteerism & Philanthropy Awards (PVPA) that is taking place on 11 October 2022. Proving that age is never a barrier to doing good, these ladies, are testaments that regardless of life stages, making a difference is possible when one’s heart is fully in it.
Read on below to find out, why both Elie and Sigrun stood out this year and the amazing work that they do.
PEOPLE OF GOOD (SENIOR) CATEGORY NOMINEE – SIGRUN GRIGNANI
If there’s one word, which we can use to describe Sigrun Grignani, it would be ‘energetic’, as there’s quite literally nothing that can stop her from volunteering.
While many would have planned to slow down at 74 years old, Sigrun ups the ante by volunteering at not one, but two distinct associations.
Describing it as “a way of life”, one of the places where Sigrun volunteers at, is Riding for The Disabled Association of Singapore (RDA).
Here, she coaches children and adults with various mental and physical disabilities, specifically on horse-riding therapy program, which helps to improve clients’ motor-coordination abilities, sociability skills, and self-confidence.
Passionate about what she does, at the same time, she helps clients to overcome certain setbacks such as fear of heights and even horses. Feeling proud and privileged to be able to make a difference to someone’s life, she enjoys every minute of her time at RDA and to her, it is something that she “would not want to miss for anything in the world.”
Aside from RDA, Sigrun is also an active volunteer with the Mandai Wildlife Group. As a docent, she engages and educates visitors on wildlife conservation at the Singapore Zoo, where she also serves as a trained volunteer wildlife ranger.
LEADER OF GOOD (YOUTH) CATEGORY NOMINEE – ELLIE LEW
For many, being an undergraduate is a stage in life for self-discovery, excitement and growth. However, for Ellie Lew, she also found purpose then.
Only 21 years old in 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic hit and Singapore went into Circuit Breaker, the then Nanyang Technological University (NTU) undergraduate saw an opportunity when everything else stopped, to do good.
Perhaps due to having both a business acumen and an intrinsic habit to help, the Accounting and Business Analytic student and Vice President of the NTU Welfare Services Club then, identified that Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) were struggling to adapt to advances in digitalisation which one of the residual issues was, lacking urgent access to tech talents.
With this as a pain-point that she was inspired to address, she knew at the same time, she could leverage on the burgeoning gig-economy culture too.
From there, she co-founded Skills for Good (SFG) and according to their website, it is now “a one-stop skilled volunteer matching platform where skilled volunteers are best match to projects with social organisations.”
At that time, she used it as a platform to bridge students who were eager to give their time and hone their skill sets as skills-based volunteers with NPOs. Since its inception, to-date SFG has collaborated with 61 non-profit organisations by matching them with 450 skilled volunteers.
Under Elie’s stewardship, her goal for SFG is “unlocking everyone’s potential for good by empowering them to bring their own special and unique skills”. As such, SFG volunteers have since contributed to different NPOs’ business and functioning needs with relevant skill sets such as capacity building, digital fundraising, web redesign, online volunteering training programs and more.
In the long run, Ellie’s aspiration for SFG is to evolve it into an accessible platform that not only empowers youths to become changemakers but at the same time, harness those talents to drive positive social change.
If you’d like to explore volunteering opportunities this October, visit Giving.sg to learn more.