Volunteering Keeps the Flame Going

A regular dose of volunteering together keeps their love strong! Newly-wed Ningxin and Nicholas share how it has strengthened their relationship and enriched their lives.


More than a decade ago, she volunteered with her schoolmates to raise funds and awareness for a children’s home under the Citi-YMCA Youth For Causes programme. Over ten years later, Zhang Ningxin is happily married – and she’s not planning to stop her volunteering journey any time soon.

The 25-year-old social worker and her 29-year-old husband, Nicholas Yon now volunteer regularly for YMCA programmes. Through programmes such as the Y Camp Challenge and Y Outing, they reach out to clients such as persons with special needs, developing their confidence, resilience and independence while strengthening their own relationship.

While Ningxin is a veteran volunteer, Nicholas only began his volunteering journey after they met. “She roped me in as a volunteer for the Y Day Camp Challenge. It was there that I was first exposed to people with special needs. Witnessing the unbridled joy of the children enjoying the activities we planned for them made me feel like all our hard work was worth it. Activities that we thought were simple, such as kayaking in the waters or playing with sand was something they lacked access to. It soon became something I wanted to do, instead of something I needed to do,” he shared.


“I used to joke that I would invite prospective boyfriends to volunteer in the Y Camp Challenge, as it would be a test of our compatibility. Turns out it wasn’t much of a joke, as a conviction of wanting my spouse and family to serve alongside me grew as I aged! Volunteering with Nicholas gave me a chance to see the kind and patient side of him, reinforcing my vision of a long, lasting future with him,” said Ningxin.

“Volunteering together has brought us closer. I can better relate to Ningxin, as I can empathise with the struggles she faces as a social worker and a volunteer, allowing me to better understand her life. It has also driven me to think about creating impact for the special needs community and what I can do to support them further,” said Nicholas.


Ningxin and Nicholas with friends they made from volunteering at YMCA, at their solemnisation.

“Volunteering together is a really good opportunity for couples to get to know their partner’s working style and their value systems. It makes the experience all the more precious when you find someone whose beliefs are compatible with yours!” said Ningxin.

“The joy that we feel and bring while volunteering makes all the hard work worth it. It has also helped us make a lot of new friends!” said Nicholas.

The couple got married in July 2019 and will be holding their church ceremony in October this year. The YMCA of Singapore wishes them a loving and joyful marriage!


Contributed by Sim Yu Xiang.