Some 100 Volunteers Celebrated, Including COVID-19 Community Heroes
3 DECEMBER 2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic has caused increased challenges for many vulnerable groups, but also provided an opportunity for Singapore’s kindest hearts to shine. The annual YMCA-Lim Kim San Volunteer Awards Night featured a special category this year – the YMCA-Lim Kim San Volunteer Exceptional Award. It commended community heroes that made an exceptional impact in COVID-19 relief efforts.
The event, held on 3 December, celebrated the efforts of 96 volunteering entities – consisting of corporations, educational institutions, and individuals – who displayed exemplary heart and compassion in volunteerism. There were seven award categories, including the Long Service Award, Special Achievement Award, and Outstanding Corporate Volunteer Award. This event was graced by the Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Social and Family Development, Mr Eric Chua. It was part of the YMCA-Lim Kim San Volunteers Programme, which recruits, develops, and recognises volunteers to encourage long-term volunteerism.
Mr Goh Jin Xiong, 35, was among the recipients for the YMCA-Lim Kim San Volunteer Exceptional Award, a new award category to commend those who contributed immensely to COVID-19 relief efforts. He was involved in YMCA’s Wok the Talk project, which required volunteers to deliver food from hawkers to vulnerable groups including elderly, persons with special needs, low-income families, and migrant workers. The project delivered over 70,000 meals to beneficiaries and supported hawkers who were facing a loss of business due to the pandemic.
Rain or shine, Mr Goh volunteered daily to deliver meals to beneficiaries who needed his help – even if it meant travelling to the other end of Singapore. Despite living in the east, he travelled to Chinatown and later, to Jurong to ensure those in need did not go hungry. He contributed over 100 hours of volunteerism from May to July.
“Volunteering can be a very eye-opening experience,” he shared. “We may think that in a country like Singapore, there aren’t people who are struggling, but there are. You can really contribute to help someone, and when they say ‘thank you’, it’s a really warm feeling”.
For Mr Goh, interacting with the beneficiaries was especially meaningful. He shared that one beneficiary he served was an elderly man who lived alone after suffering from a stroke. “Some of them can be very lonely, and just having a little chat with them can brighten their day,” said Mr Goh.
Another award-winner was Ms Seak Jing Rong, 23, who received the YMCA-Lim Kim San Volunteer of the Year Award. Despite her young age, she has had a long journey in volunteering and was an executive committee member of University-YMCA, YMCA’s community service club.
On the individual level, she has volunteered in various programmes including Y Spring Clean, which brings volunteers to clean and improve the quality of life for elderly who live alone, and Y Makan, which provides interaction and meals to elderly beneficiaries. She was also part of the YMCA Conversation Series, which engages industry experts in meaningful dialogue with students about social issues close to their hearts. As a volunteer leader, she developed extensive marketing publicity efforts on social media to raise awareness for volunteerism and community service programmes.
“I love having heartfelt conversations with people and hearing their stories. Volunteering has allowed me to meet so many people, whether they are fellow volunteers, beneficiaries, or committee members. Thanks to volunteering, I have many fond memories,” said Ms Seak Jing Rong.
Mr Eric Chua, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Social and Family Development interacted with selected award-winners and learned about their volunteering journeys. He said, “It is most heartening to see so many Singaporeans rising to the occasion and reaching out to support one another. The hearts and spirits of these volunteers are truly commendable, and it is a pleasure to be in their presence”.
“Volunteers are the heartbeat of any Social Service Agency. We are deeply appreciative of their support year after year, making all that we do at the YMCA possible. The YMCA is committed to building a devoted community of society champions, equip them with necessary skills, and to encourage the fostering of a kind and well-skilled family of volunteers in Singapore,” said Mr Steve Loh, General Secretary & CEO, YMCA of Singapore.
The event also featured performances by performer with autism Mr Muhammad Arshad Fawwaz, in collaboration with YMCA-Lim Kim San Volunteer Excellence Award recipient Mr Ivan Tang.
Contributed by Sim Yu Xiang