Why Volunteer With Us? - Kheng Yee
I started volunteering with Reach Out after my A Levels ended. It was quite spontaneous actually; even though I’ve intended to volunteer with a VWO during the vacation, interacting with the intellectually disabled certainly wasn’t in my plans. But this spontaneous idea turned out to be a journey I’ve been embarking on for more than a year now. And as people always say, unplanned moments do give you greater surprises J
Not counting school CIPs, RO is the first project group I’ve volunteered with, credits to my friend who roped me in. Perhaps it is because of this lack of experience that I didn’t quite know what to expect from volunteering. I remember the uncertainty I had when I interacted with the members for the first time. I didn’t know how to reach out to them (no pun intended), and I remember how frustrated I was with myself when I couldn’t understand what they were trying to tell me.
Yet, I also remember the very first time when a member approached me voluntarily to share about her day. And the very first time I received a hand-made card from one of the members.
I guess it’s all these small little “first-times” that cumulate to a volunteering experience that have made me stay on till now. As I write this and think back on how my volunteering experience all started, it’s amazing to find how much I’ve learnt and grown in this short one year with the RO family. Of course, the journey may not have always been a bed of roses. Sometimes, school gets so busy that I find myself being unable to cope with all my commitments. But I guess what keeps me coming back is the knowledge that the members will always be happy to spend time with you.
I used to think that volunteering means serving. It means taking out some of your time to give back to the community and helping the less advantaged. Yet RO has shown me that volunteering is so much more than that. I wouldn’t say that I am making sacrifices and serving now, because many a times, I find myself receiving from the members too. And they have soooo much to offer. Like, how can anyone not be moved by their jovial natures and their naturally infectious smiles? As cliché as this may sound, but really, you do receive as much as you give others, sometimes even more. Even though the members don’t usually make any dramatic acts of love declaration, their small little gestures do speak volumes about how much they care.
I guess at the end of the day, everyone will have different volunteering experiences- the good, the funny, the interesting… maybe even the bad. But unless you get down to it and try, you can never know what the journey’s like. Sometimes, all it takes is just some spontaneity and some courage to take that first step. And who knows? You might just like what you’re getting into ;)