Author Archives: Mira

Why Should I Volunteer?

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After snapping tons of photographs, we stopped to look around the house and at our fellow volunteers, who were assisting the elderly woman on the couch. It was only the first house of the Support Our Pioneer visitation that morning, and we already feeling the lethargy seeping into our bodies from the school commitments we had the previous day.

These days, more youth are playing their part in giving back to the community by volunteering at a myriad of organizations in Singapore. From offering tuition to assisting the elderly, youth volunteers fork out their time and effort selflessly. However, some of us still question, “why should I volunteer?”

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Bonding together: Our Support Our Pioneers volunteer learnt a move or two from an elderly beneficiary she visited.

Being a student is hard work, but to juggle our volunteering commitments at the same time adds to our already hectic schedule. Truthfully, we have other areas to focus on. We sacrifice free time we allocated for the weekend. Volunteering is also takes a lot of effort, and some youth are just afraid of getting their hands dirty.

If you share these sentiments, rest assured you are not alone.

And yet we are reminded by many youth still, who understand the benefits they receive that come with the spirit of volunteerism. 19-year-old Shayene Gilflores Winfred, a volunteer at Heartware Network, said, “Volunteering helps one learn servant leadership. It allows me to use my skills and talents to give back to the society, while learning more about the community around me.”

Also read: ‘Sacrifices We Must Make’ by seasoned volunteer Lincoln Low

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Hard at work: An elderly beneficiary learning how to make a bracelet for herself with the help of our volunteers.

Another volunteer Ms. Tammie Ang, 20, also felt that volunteerism is beneficial to her as well as the people she helped. She wants to tell youths out there that volunteers should “serve not to get a reward. Serve, with the sole intention to serve.”

One thing that separates these group of passionate volunteers from others who aren’t as sure is understanding priorities.

Students like us, our top priorities naturally gravitate to school. Realistically, some of us use volunteerism as a platform to develop our portfolio. But as we get more involved in voluntary works, we find that glimmer of passion, and our priorities shift – or at least we learn to accommodate other priorities. Balance is necessary for us to push forward despite our obstacles. We focus on what we feel is important in the long run. We find ways to give back to the community now more than ever.

So, give your priorities a little more thought. As much as you have “better things to do”, volunteerism is not a waste of time if you set your mind to embracing the many benefits that exceeds sacrifice. More so because it is a platform to do better things and help the people in need, you get to feel a sense of satisfaction like no other.

The next time you ask “why should I volunteer?” remember that it is not why, but how and where can you start volunteering.

Written by Jasmine Gan and Nurul Huda

Republic Polytechnic

Heartware Network Media Volunteers

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Know more about volunteer opportunities you can serve in at www.youthbank.sg

I Have Better Things To Do

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“Why should we help them?”

A question from a 15 year old student had stumped me.

It was a little past the half-way mark of our first lesson in community problem solving, and students were immersed in their discussions on how best to help their assigned charity organisation. All was going smoothly. Until now.

“Well, why not? What do you mean?” As someone eager to champion any amount of good deed, I was admittedly defensive, even for just a bit.

“These organisations have volunteers helping out, right? They also have staff and a set of nurses and professionals to take care of the residents there. So why should we help?”

Slouching slightly in his seat with his features set in a defiant expression, this student had asked a difficult, fundamental question. A question we don’t ask ourselves enough. A question I didn’t have a fantastic answer to without sounding standoffish or politically correct.

He’s right, I found myself thinking. In all seriousness, we have better things to do.

And yet if I imagine the world full of people who have better things to do, then only a few will go out of their way to help others. Would we want to be a disintegrated society lacking in empathy? How can we let that happen?

IMG_8300-20180523-124948 Class 3 Discipline from Northbrooks Secondary School delved into their very first service learning engagement as a class at Sree Narayana Mission Home for the Aged Sick, a President’s Challenge beneficiary organisation. 

 So, why help?

 We help because not all help really counts.

There has been much debate on whether helping truly benefits the beneficiaries, or if it was done to feel better about ourselves. The case in point is that helping must always be directed towards addressing real needs. Effort is wasted if it wasn’t taken into account. And if deeds were done just so that we can say “Yes, I’m a good person because I’ve helped someone”, then there was no thoughtful measure towards providing for others what was truly needed.

This problem can be tackled if we train our youth leaders and volunteers to review their engagement efforts after groundwork experiences. Heartware-Character and Citizenship Education Leadership Programme uses an adapted version of the Social Lean Canvas to ensure students align their plans to the purpose of the cause.

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 Student VIA leader Shannon from Northbrooks Secondary School attempted the adapted Social Lean Canvas for the first time. The Canvas challenged the students to assess their target audiences and plans to serve. 

 Another reason why we help is because we need to see, and we need to know.

A frog in the well knows nothing of the great ocean, and indeed this ocean holds a myriad of creatures (or people) with life stories and knowledge that are just waiting to be tapped on. We do not want to be people who know only the things that happen to cross our path; that is being ignorant of other realities. We want to be actively seeking out different sides to society and expanding our knowledge and sensory horizon.

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Student Haziq from Northbrooks Secondary School striking up a friendly conversation with an elderly from Sree Narayana Mission Home for the Aged Sick. They talked about hobbies – one of which was badminton – a common love for both student and elderly.

 We love nothing more than to hear our volunteers testify that they have been exposed to and moved by the stories of individuals and beneficiaries they never would have come to contact with, had they not chosen to volunteer. To see and know, and feel for others is like rain nourishing the driest corners of our hearts.

I know now that some of the greatest learning points come from asking difficult, fundamental questions. In retrospect, I would have told the student that even when faith wavers, we should always do our best to assess real needs, render help and resources wisely, and always open our hearts and minds to bring cheer and positive impact to the lives of others.

That will be the better thing to do.

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 This article was written by a Heartware Network staff, under the efforts of the President’s Challenge .

Initiated by former President S R Nathan in 2000, the President’s Challenge is a movement supported by the kindness and generosity of people from all walks of to care for the less fortunate.

 This year, Heartware Network will do our part in the President’s Challenge Volunteer Drive, launched by former President Mr Tony Tan in 2012, to develop an inclusive society with the involvement of our youth volunteers. We hope to inspire our youth to stay resilient, be proactive in serving others with a HEART, and develop them into community champions.

 Know more about the volunteer opportunities you can serve in at www.youthbank.sg

To Innovate or not, that is not the question

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“Even though I can do this question in a faster way, I must use the teacher’s method to circle and label the quantities. I used the teacher’s method only after I solved the question. My teacher said those who don’t do it did not listen in class.” This was what my Primary Five tutee told me during our first session of the Heartware Network Tuition Programme.

This student does not need to follow his teacher’s method, which takes a longer time, but felt compelled to use it for fear of being looked at as inattentive.

Does our education system encourage students to use innovative ways to tackle problems? Could this lead to students being afraid to lose? Afraid to fail? These are questions we must ask ourselves.

I admit there are reasons why school and teachers do not encourage too much innovation. Students are prone to make mistakes if they use their own way to solve a problem. Not answering according to the textbook and model answer may give students a poor grade. After all, a school’s reputation partly depends on how well the students fare academically. The school’s role primarily is to provide education to students instead of creating innovators.

Speaking from the perspective of a student who used to study in a neighbourhood school, I would say that the mainstream education system below tertiary level does not have a strong culture that advocates innovative thinking. We are expected to know our textbooks like the back of our hands to tackle the standardised exams.

If we choose to answer a question using our own wording, there is a high chance that the answer will not be accepted due to the lack of key words and other reasons. Most students are “too scared” to ask questions and do not dare to present their own answers, because their lives are mostly determined by their performance in national exams. Who would dare to gamble their future? Tough, though it would be, for the students to be comfortable with making mistakes, and voicing out their opinions later in life.

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Image source: Straits Times Photo: Kua Chee Siong

Nevertheless, I would be doing the education system a huge injustice by saying they do not encourage innovation at all.

Our education system has now been focusing more on the holistic development of students instead of just getting good grades and providing perfect answers. In all Junior Colleges, students must take the subject Project Work, which requires them to conduct research on an issue in society, and come up with solutions to address the issue. Students’ ability to innovate is assessed in Project Work, and comprises a considerable part of one’s Project Work score.

Polytechnics also offer excellent opportunities that encourage innovation. A number of students from all polytechnics had been featured in local newspapers such as the Straits Times because of their creativity and innovation.

For example, with the help of Singapore Polytechnic, a group of students had invented robots that can significantly help the students with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) to focus and learn better. This group of students has already been collaborating with Neeuro’s wearable company.

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Image source: Straits Times Photo: Alvin Ho

The Institution of Technical Education (ITE) too has been nurturing the next generation of innovators. For instance, ITE has been encouraging its student to participate in events like Singapore International Water Week since 2014. Students were to provide innovative designs for a real plumbing solution for communities with specific water needs.

I sincerely hope the education system keeps up the excellent work, and can see to more opportunities built for younger primary school children to dabble with innovation. That is the age when their minds are most free, and imagination most wild. Hopefully, Singapore will one day be known as the country which everybody can be innovators.

This article is written by Hai Oufan, Heartware Network media volunteer.


How Much Fear Really Define Us

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Let’s talk about fears, because it is a difficult thing to share.

You don’t realise it, but fear lives inside you all the time. It is a shadow, dark and omnipresent, and only coming to attention when you’re looking down. You feel your heart race and mind go into an overdrive when things go wrong. How much do you let this fear control you?

We asked several of our (anonymous) Heartware friends to share their vulnerabilities and fears…

Newly engaged adult, 27 years old

Holding Hands

What are some things that you are scared of?

I’m scared of losing a loved one.

The more you love someone, the more you become attached to them. The more you get attached, the more you will feel sad when the person is gone. It’s the fear of being sad.

How do you try to cope with it? And do you think of it often?

I do think of it a lot. Say, maybe it’s my spouse… there’ll be times when we part from each other, I fear that it’s the last time I’ll see him. I would always tell him to stay safe. Just saying it wouldn’t make it any safer, but I guess I try to live everyday like it’s my last. It’s cliché, but really true because you can lose someone so suddenly.

How much does this fear govern your life? Does it affect the things that you do?

It’s out of my control. It’s not something I can prevent, so I don’t put in a lot of effort to change my life, or lead my life in a way that can prevent an accident.

You just have to be comforted with what you have. So now I quarrel less with my fiancé. Every time you quarrel, every time you have those negative feelings… what if that’s the last moment? Then you’ll regret it the rest of your life.

Undergraduate, 19 years old

Friends Together

Can you share some things that you are scared of in life?

I’ve never thought of myself as a fearful person, but I guess I’m scared of not being successful in life. My definition of success is actually to be happy.

I’m scared that the things that I do may result in values that I don’t really care for, and ultimately I won’t be happy. I hope I don’t become that.

What are the values that you feel relates to unhappiness?

Not placing enough effort on my relationships, but rather on work. Working overtime but earning a lot of money… those things won’t give me happiness. Maybe they will give me material goods, but contradict my values like honesty and helping others.

Have you ever been in a situation where you are close to the kind of unhappiness?

I’ve worked briefly at a dental clinic. Even though the pay was okay, the hours were really long. I didn’t have time to spend with my family and friends, and it was getting too much. I’d rather work in a lower paying job, and still have relationships and do the things I like.

How did you feel in that kind of situation?

I felt conflicted because even though the people there were good, the relationships weren’t meaningful. The company doesn’t value interpersonal relationships. They wanted us to keep as little personal contact outside office hours.

Many of the people who worked there really sacrificed a lot of their everyday life to do what they do. I can see they have different goals, and they have to stay in the company. I understand that, but it’s not what I’m going for. I’m really worried that if I spend too much time away from my family and friends, it’ll worsen the relationships that I value most.

Working adult, 28 years old

Working

Do you fear some things at work? Will it change your actions?

In work, I fear mistakes. In my previous job, I was a mistake queen. Because it was something new, and I had to cope with part-time studying, I made so many mistakes all the time. So whenever I do something, I double and triple check to make sure that nothing is out of place. But if errors still happen, I learnt that I can’t be too fixated. Because if I was, I would be prone to more mistakes.

How does that happen?

For example, if I want to send an email, maybe I’d forgotten to change the dates or sign off. Then the more I looked at something, somehow the more I would overlook other things. It’s the kind of fear that affects your self-esteem and confidence. Whenever I went to work, I felt a paralyzing fear.

And because of the mistakes I made, my previous colleagues saw me as a problem child. Even through my 4 years there when I wasn’t making mistake, they still thought that I was just not good enough.

In the end, I became who they think I was.

What were your coping mechanisms?

I was at the brink of depression. So I talked to my boyfriend and family. I had good social support. I guess the things that I went through in the past even before the work itself already trained me to be as resilient as a cockroach! I think all these experience are necessarily for me to grow and evolve.

So to everyone who may be fearful and going through a tough time…

I strongly believe that you don’t go through something you cannot handle. I don’t know why bad things happen, but they do. So just man up and go for it.

BE A COCKROACH! BE A DURIAN!

 

Commonwealth appoints Singaporean as regional coordinator for CAYE Asia-Pacific

Announcement

(From L-R) Mr Paul Broom, Director of Political Affairs, High Commission of UK; Mr Sushil Ram, Representative from Commonwealth Secretariat; Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Health and Information; Ms Tan See Leng, Executive Director of Heartware Network; and Mr Raymond Huang, Country Head Designate of Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council.

We are delighted at the appointment of our Executive Director for Heartware Network, Ms Tan See Leng, as the Regional Coordinator for the Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs (CAYE) in Asia Pacific. This appointment is a first for a Singaporean to be appointed to such a key position with the Commonwealth Secretariat.

This appointment was announced by the representative from the Commonwealth Secretariat at the Youth Business Conference 2018 held on 2 April 2018 at Copthorne King’s Hotel Singapore. The appointment was witnessed by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and Health and Mr Paul Broom, Director of Political Affairs for High Commission of UK.

Ms See Leng, in her current capacity as President for CAYE – Asia, facilitated the establishment of an Innovation Centre in China by end of this year. The Innovation Centre will enable local entrepreneurs to continue to explore business opportunities with our Chinese counterparts and foster closer ties with other ASEAN and Commonwealth entrepreneurs.

To kick-start this partnership, CAYE and Heartware Network came together to organise the Youth Business Conference 2018 held on 2 April 2018 to provide a platform for local companies and entrepreneurs to network, forge strong relationships and share best practices with partners across the Commonwealth (Asia) countries. The conference is designed to allow maximum interaction between both local and overseas participants. This allows the participants to better identify business opportunities present at the conference. The conference theme Forging Bridges, Fuelling Innovation highlights the benefits of regional and international partnerships, and how this interaction can catalyse greater ideas and inspire boundless creativity.

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Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Communications and Information and Ministry of Health, graced the conference as the Guest-Of Honour.

The conference featured the following panelists, who shared their thoughts and personal experiences on how the macro-environment can facilitate borderless collaborations in this innovation economy. The panelists are as follows:
1. Ambassador Teng Theng Dar, Singapore’s Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman
2. Dr Lim Jui, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NTUitive Pte Ltd
3. Mrs Tina Wong, Chief Executive Officer, Trussco Pte Ltd
4. Mr Sushil Ram, Representative, Commonwealth Secretariat

The panel was moderated by Mr Raymond Huang, Country Head Designate of Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council.

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The conference also featured the following local speakers who shared on their entrepreneurship journey and how they have leveraged on technology to grow their business.

Agricultural Technology
Dato’ Joel Low, Director and CEO, Agrivo International Ltd
Mr Ben Pan, Farmer, Let’s Grow Pte Ltd

Supply Chain and Logistics
Mr Valiant Hoo, Director of Professional Development, Supply Chain Asia
Mr Syafiq Yussoff, Chief Executive Officer, Riverwood Pte Ltd

Medical & Clean Technology
Dr Kim Wimbush, Program Manager, EcoWorth Tech Pte Ltd
Mr T. Singaravelan, Director, Energy Partnership, Evercomm Uni-tech Singapore Pte Ltd
Ms Wita Claudia Aurina, Business Development Officer, DeNova Sciences Pte Ltd

Overseas delegates from the CAYE-Asia network were also treated to a morning of local industry visits on 3 April 2018 to Trussco Pte Ltd, Supply Chain Asia and Tuaspring Desalination and Integrated Power Plant. This continues our efforts to showcase successes by Singapore entrepreneurs.

Following this conference, both organisations will host more industry specific platforms in the same format to allow business owners and young entrepreneurs to network and gain exposure into the various Commonwealth (Asia) markets.

There’s Beauty in the Simple Things

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Millenials are often moving at the speed of light. We do not settle for mediocrity, and we are constantly in search of something better. Sometimes, this leads us to continuously want more rather than be content with what we have.

Reflecting upon a quote by Confucius: “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated”, this especially hits our generation hard: does it really matter what kind of brands we wear, or how attractive our social media feeds are? Are we constantly on a quest to find something that’s always better and grander?

Being an intern at Heartware Network, I was exposed to a lot of unseen cases in Singapore; these include the plight of children from underprivileged backgrounds who are unable to afford a holistic education, as well as the case of vulnerable elderly who live in isolation. Back home in Brunei, I’m sure these communities do exist. However, the plight of these communities were not commonly known among the youth population. It came to me as a shock that there exist such dire circumstances in the community.

When I was first told that I will be assisting the Support Our Pioneers (SOP) programme, I wondered to myself – “why do the elderly need to be frequently visited” or “how hard can it possibly be for them” or “don’t their children look after them?”. With this mindset in place (and pardon my ignorance), I initially didn’t take the visitations seriously. My first deployment was on 10th March 2018 and I was assigned to work in a pair with another volunteer. We were both given 5 households to visit at Taman Jurong.

During the visitation, I was briefed that our main objective was to casually converse with the elderly and get to know them at a personal level. This meant inquiring about their daily lives and listening to their backstories. Along with the help of my partner, I slowly began to understand the need for this visitation. However, what I found most striking was the fact that these elderly lived alone despite having their own children, which is a rare case in my home country. I could not fathom the idea of my own grandparents living in isolation – and this made me develop greater empathy for these elderly.

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Me (seated, second from the left) with my grandparents and cousins.

When I inquired about their children, most of the them shared that they were either busy with work or they are content with their predicament. However, I can discern from their tone the loneliness that they feel every day. Some were even teary eyed when they recounted stories of their children.

However, despite living alone, most of these elderly are very independent. They are able to cook for themselves and source for ingredients on their own at the nearby supermarkets. Some of them, on the contrary, had mobility issues – they are not as agile as they used to be which becomes part of their daily struggle. Some cannot even use the toilet by themselves, let alone cook or do household chores.

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One of the elderly, Mdm Hoon, sharing her past experience with us.

Seeing these realities made me realise that perhaps I may have taken things for granted and that it wouldn’t hurt to be a little more grateful for what I have, and be more appreciative of the “simple things”. In our everyday lives, we youngsters seek to accomplish as much as possible – constantly challenging and taking on impossible tasks which result in the ‘complications’ of our daily lives. However, we fail to realise that there are others who have it worse and who genuinely require our help.

One of the elderly whom we visited shared that she sells canned soft drinks during her free time at home. When we asked her the reason for doing so, she stated she embarked on the business to exercise her legs and constantly be on the move. It is wonderful to see how she is able to live her life so positively and cheerfully despite her circumstances. She even told us that she feels good selling canned soft drinks as opposed to doing nothing. Through this, I realised that it isn’t that hard to make our lives wonderful. Sometimes even the simplest things can brighten up our day – should we choose to see it.

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One of our volunteers waiting patiently for the elderly to open the door.

My past few weeks in Heartware Network has got me thinking a lot. Having been born into more privileged circumstances, I should appreciate what I have instead of thinking about the things I don’t really need. It is true that we are busy with our own lives. But I hope that we could at least appreciate the simple things, and spare some time to lend a helping hand to those who are in need.

This article is written by Bryan Tham Wei Hong, Intern at Heartware Network.

Introducing the NDP18 Youth Planning Committee

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Get to know the National Day Parade 2018 Hospitality Management Youth Planning Committee!

Judy

JUDY

Judy has been a volunteer with Heartware Network since 2015, for events such as the National Day Parade Hospitality Management, Home Team Show and Festival 2017, and Heartware Network’s Fundraising Gala Dinner. She loves volunteering as she can give back to society while having fun, and meet people from all walks of life.

Judy graduated from Innova Junior College’s Art Stream, and is currently awaiting university admission. She hopes to pursue Tourism Management and work in the tourism industry in the future.

A true wanderluster, Judy spends her leisure time catching up on travel vlogs. It’s her life’s goal to visit many countries and learn about various cultures from all corners of the world.

DariusDARIUS

Darius is a student of Integrated Events Management from Republic Polytechnic. Before, he was busy getting his hands dirty in events planning for business corporations, and fulfilling his course requirements at ITE College Central. The outcome? He holds a burning desire to give himself away to bigger causes, and do something impactful for anyone he meets.

Darius is an avid lover of any sport that involves throwing or hitting. Softball, badminton, touch ball – you name it! And when he runs out of energy, just feed him steamboat, pizza, or anything spicy. Mala King, anyone?

BeeviBEEVI

Beevi is currently pursuing her Diploma in Health Sciences (Nursing) at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. A truly passionate volunteer, Beevi believes intensely in giving back to the community and her homeland. Selfless acts of kindness have helped her be more empathetic and resilient, so she volunteers with Heartware Network and at elderly care centres in her free time.

If she is not swept away organising fulfilling events, big or small, Beevi transforms into a bookworm. Nature also holds a special place in her heart, as she adores going on hikes and discovering trails with her friends during the weekend.

JodiJODI

Jodi is a fresh graduate from Jurong Junior College when she dove right in to her first Heartware Network volunteer role as a National Day Parade Hospitality Management Youth Planning Committee member. Prior to this, she has always been interested in volunteering, and gaining valuable skills that will help her grow. Her involvement as an admin volunteer in Trusted Source – a subsidiary of Temasek Holdings –  tells so much of her dedication towards skills enhancement.

With a fierce passion for aesthetics, Jodi appreciates beauty and anything artistic. In her free time, you might catch her drawing anime or singing one of her favourite songs.

JustinJUSTIN

Justin is currently studying at Republic Polytechnic for a Diploma in Events Management. He first stumbled upon Heartware Network when he volunteered as a motivator for Youth Celebrate! in 2015. Back then, he focused on gaining exposure and developing experience as a motivator who is able to command and hype up a crowd. Little did he know, three years later he would become a proud member of the National Day Parade Hospitality Management Youth Planning Committee responsible for facilitating and supporting the biggest national event of the year.

An interesting fact about Justin? He can never get enough of Fried Prawn Hokkien Mee (even despite eating it three times a week).

MelvinMELVIN

Melvin is currently in his 5th year running as a volunteer for National Day Parade Hospitality Management. But this year is special: for the first time he is embarking on the most demanding leadership path – being part of the Youth Planning Committee. He comes back every year because he feels that he has found his family with the Heartware volunteers. When things get tough, the spirit and teamwork that he has with his teammates are what pulls him through.

The ultimate “fanboy” – he is a member of a fan club for Singaporean artist Ya Hui. Apart from fanboying, he also supports Chelsea in the English Premier League when he feels more masculine.

JovianneJOVIANNE

Jovianne began volunteering at the age of 13. Throughout the years, she has supported numerous community and school events. Given her fierce passion to give back, she was elected as an EXCO member in the Service-Learning Club of her school.

Jovianne is currently pursuing a Diploma in Biotechnology at Republic Polytechnic, and will be graduating in May this year. This is her second time volunteering with Heartware Network. Prior to this, she was a General Volunteer for National Day Parade Hospitality Management in 2016. An introvert at heart, she hopes that she will be able to gain more confidence by volunteering as a Youth Planning Committee member this year. Most importantly, she would also like to make more meaningful friendships.

Jovianne spends most of her free time sleeping. With no disturbance, she claims that she can sleep for as long as 14 hours a day.

Jovianne is the Admin Deputy In-Charge for the National Day Parade Hospitality Management Youth Planning Committee.

AnisahANISAH

Anisah started her volunteering journey with Heartware three years ago with National Day Parade Hospitality Management in 2016 and 2017. Having been a performer for almost nine years, Anisah is curious to know what happens behind the curtain and finally be a part of the “off-stage” or operations crew. This led her to join the Youth Planning Committee this year.

Anisah is currently pursuing a Diploma in Chemical Engineering and Green Technology at Nanyang Polytechnic. On the contrary, she is also in-charge of the Makeup Artistry Co-Curricular Activity where she has set her heart to bring Arts somewhere far in Singapore. Apart from these, Anisah is strong headed to one day be part of the Singapore Armed Forces. She even dreams of being a pilot or owning an airline of her own.

Milo is like H2O for Anisah. She plans to have her own Milo section in her house as well as a cargo transport with Milo’s Signature. Milo, you have heard.

IsaacISAAC

Isaac is a freshman at ITE College East who is studying Applied Food Sciences. While aiming for a high GPA, his main goal is to enroll himself in Events Management as he would like to drum up his own Charity events to raise funds for various beneficiaries. Isaac was previously in East View Secondary School where he was in the N(A) Stream. A reliable multi-tasker, he used to juggle three co-curricular activities: Saint John’s Ambulance Brigade, Photography Club and Service Learning Club.

By the end of his secondary years, he received the rank of Sergeant, and acquired many new skills having served for many hours within his candidature. In four years, Isaac clocked up a total of 460 Hours in submitted Community Involvement Hours (CIP).

During his free time, Isaac volunteers and spends time honing his photography skills while he is out with his friends.

Isaac is the Admin In-Charge for the National Day Parade Hospitality Management Youth Planning Committee.

Yuan ShenYUAN SHEN

Yuan Shen joined National Day Parade Hospitality Management with the aim to contribute back to the community. Having participated as a Volunteer Leader on two previous occasions (SEA Games 2015 and NDP 2016), he decided to take up the challenge to be part of the Youth Planning Committee in NDP 2018. Yuan Shen is an active grassroots leader as well as an advisor to his alma mater’s CCA. He has experiences being a camp facilitator, as well as holding leadership workshops for his juniors.

Yuan Shen is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree at the National University of Singapore.

Yuan Shen is an outgoing person and enjoys playing sports or exercising to keep fit. Furthermore, he enjoys watching soccer especially matches with his favorite teams Real Madrid and Liverpool. He also enjoys watching Formula 1 and his favourite driver is Lewis Hamilton.

Yuan Shen is the Operations Deputy In-Charge for the National Day Parade Hospitality Management Youth Planning Committee.

SoumiyaSOUMIYA

Soumiya is currently working as a Project Engineer in Puretech Engineering (Singapore) since July 2017. She also handles infrastructure projects for the Land Transport Authority (LTA) of Singapore.

Soumiya holds a Bachelor of Technology degree, majoring in Electronics and Communication Engineering from an Indian University, SASTRA University.

Her favourite hobby is cooking with a specialisation in chettinad cuisines. If asked what her mantra is, she would say “Engineer by Profession; Chef by Passion”.

NickNICK

Nick’s volunteering journey began as a General Volunteer for National Day Parade Hospitality Management in 2012. Gifted with an outgoing spirit, Nick has brought many smiles to the public at every show. Throughout this two-month long journey with Heartware, Nick realised that volunteerism stroke a chord within him. Nick decided to commit for the longer haul when he joined the subsequent year, and when he became a leader in NDP 2014.

Nick took a hiatus from volunteering when he went on to pursue an Electronic and Electrical Engineering degree at the University of Birmingham, before coming back as a General Volunteer in NDP 2017.

Nick is currently working as an executive consultant at TUV SUD Singapore, a leading German compliance group. He applies core Heartware values into his daily life and his role in the company, and was even trusted by his management to conduct large company events. In 2018, he was chosen as a Youth Planning Committee member for the Operations and Logistics Department.

Nick has a huge passion for motorbikes and cross-country cycling. He lives by the motto: face the sunshine and let your shadow fall behind you.

Nick is the Operations In-Charge for the National Day Parade Hospitality Management Youth Planning Committee.

AmeliaAMELIA

Amelia’s interest in participating in national events led her to join the National Day Parade Youth Planning Committee 2018. Prior to joining this Committee, she worked part-time at BEGA (a clothing retail store) to gain experience on how a retail business is run.

Amelia is a graduate from Hwa Chong Institution. While in junior college, she led the Hwa Chong Badminton Team as Vice-Captain and was also appointed as Chairman for her school’s Prom Night Committee in 2014. Many of her teachers and peers attest to her positive, cheerful, and kind personality and ability to forge long-lasting relationships with her peers. She believes strongly in the values of compassion and perseverance which she feels are qualities that can pave her way to success.

Amelia enjoys playing badminton, singing, and watching soccer matches. What exhilarates her the most is when she shouts GOAL! whenever Manchester United scores! Regarded as the Queen of Mandopop in her family, she brings joy and laughter through her spontaneous and sometimes hilarious singing.

Amelia is the Logistics Deputy In-Charge for the National Day Parade Hospitality Management Youth Planning Committee.

AshleyASHLEY

Ashley is currently studying Environmental and Water Technology at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. Having demonstrated a high interest and an exceptional performance in the course, he was awarded the PUB Scholarship. Prior to doing his diploma, he was at Bukit View Secondary School. In Secondary 2, he was in-charge of a major World Water Day display project as a member of the Environmental Club. In Secondary 3, having demonstrated outstanding leadership, he was awarded the Best Camper Award at an overseas camp out of 200 – 300 students. In Secondary 4, he became the EXCO for the Secondary 1 orientation.

Ashley is a curious chap, he spends a lot of time watching documentaries and is also an avid Chinese chess player. He especially likes playing the game with the elderly as he finds that they are the real experts and would like to learn as many strategies as he can from them.

An SoonAN SOON

Prior to joining the National Day Parade Youth Planning Committee 2018, An Soon has worked with many youths and engaged them through numerous community events and programmes across Singapore. He started volunteering since 2012, and many of his peers would agree that his patience, passion, and perseverance are his best virtues. An Soon’s exceptional organisational skills and ability to wade through even the most complex negotiation, coupled with his dedication to nurture the youth for community service, has allowed him to take on many important roles such as the Head of the EXCO for Chingay 2018, and the Leadership Community Programme with various schools and junior colleges.

With his vision in life “leadership is the capacity of being able to translate vision into reality”, he believes he can use his capacity to positively influence the lives of others.

A true politician at heart, An Soon hopes to one day become a Member of Parliament. Didn’t you know that his role model since he was a child has always been Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong?

ZhilingZHI LING

Zhi Ling is a seasoned volunteer with Heartware Network. Tuition Programme, National Day Parade, Home Team Show and Festival, and our Fundraising Gala Dinner, you name it – she’s done it! During her Polytechnic years, Zhi Ling joined her school’s CCA as a TPBP Mentor to teach primary school students. Zhi Ling finds that volunteering helps her de-stress from her studies and work. The constant smiles from the students also inspired her to continue her journey with Heartware Network’s Tuition Programme as a Volunteer Leader in 2017.

Zhi Ling is currently pursuing a Business Management degree at the Singapore Institute of Management (RMIT) and will be graduating this August.

Zhi Ling has a strange obsession with eating corn and a lot of friends agree that she looks like a hamster whenever she eats her corn. Apart from corn, her other passions include volunteering and sleeping.

CindyCINDY

Cindy developed a strong passion for volunteering after her first volunteering experience with National Day Parade Hospitality Management 2016 as a General Volunteer. Cindy helped her volunteer leaders to lead the team during their absence. She aspired to be part of 2018′s Youth Planning Committee to take on a more demanding role to further hone her interpersonal and leadership skills.

Cindy is currently pursuing NITEC in Business Service at ITE College Central. She is also the class representative of her class.

In her free time, Cindy likes to sing and dance to K-POP which a lot of people are unaware of.

Sacrifices We Must Make

Lincoln 2015-20180130-144445

When we think about Singapore’s seniors, we often have the impression that they are living their silver years in retirement, in joy and happiness. But this is not necessarily the case.

I have volunteered for Heartware Network’s Tuition Programme and National Day Parade, but I spent the longest in Support Our Pioneers – three years since 2015. It’s a programme to empower the youth to help the elderly through visitations, activities, and outings. And it’s through this programme that I was exposed to the many difficulties our seniors face. Like what?

Like things as simple as feeding their own mouths. Like working long tiring hours while battling chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol. What’s worse – some have family members, but their sons and daughters don’t visit because they see their parents as burdens to bear. I’ve seen seniors who can’t enjoy companionship, or can’t afford the necessary needs to survive.

Lincoln 2016-1-20180130-144501 Christmas caroling for the elderly.

It made me want to volunteer and Make A Difference, no matter how small. We do visitations in selected area and talk the elderly to understand them better. Once I joined the programme, I realised that seniors we see all around us are more than meets the eye. They have a plethora of stories and problems that they seldom voice out.

I was attached to a household with 3 generations living in a 1-room flat, and the daughter of the senior is a single mother. I have been with this family since 2016. My interactions with them often leaves me heartbroken because the elderly is not working, and is solely dependent on her daughter. The family sometimes doesn’t know how to apply for government assistance, so this is where volunteers can step in to lend some assistance.

Lincoln 2016-20180130-144455

A snapshot with our resident elderly who often waits for the volunteers at the void deck.

For instance, I tried to help the child register for the Financial Assistance Scheme in her school when the mother was clueless. These small acts really go a long way. The child can now at least have $120 for annual transport subsidy – an amount that as much as some of our pocket money, but means the world to them.

Although the programme is wonderful, there are many sacrifices I had to make. For a person living in Bedok, my assigned site at Yishun is a long way from home. Visitations are on Saturday mornings at 9am, so I have to wake up at 7am and catch the public transport to arrive at the visitation site on time. It’s tiring and dreadful, especially when school ends late on Friday. Sometimes I wanted to give up.

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Gathering with the Yishun volunteers early Saturday morning.

Still, there was so much joy in this endeavour. The child in the aforementioned family – her smile – really brings so much happiness to all the volunteers. The interactions with the seniors makes us want to go back every time.

And we must also understand that the elderly have made their own fair share of sacrifices. When I interviewed them with my fellow volunteers, we found out that many of them were unwilling to accept our assistance because of pride. They hesitate to ask an 18 year old to help. But these are some sacrifices we all have to make to come to a compromise, so that we can help each other.

Elizabeth Andrew, a famous politician in the UK, once said:

“Volunteers don’t necessarily have the time.

But what they have is the Heart to do so.”

We are all busy. But I urge all of us to spare some time and try to volunteer with the Heart, and make a difference no matter how small in the community.

Lincoln Low, 18, Dunman High School 

Volunteer, Support Our Pioneers 2015-2017

We’re looking for volunteers for Support Our Pioneer 2018!

SOP18EDM (UD30NOV2017)

Sign up now on www.youthbank.sg

What You Need to Know About Tuition Programme

Zhang Haolin

I joined the Heartware Tuition Programme 2017, and tutored primary school children from lower income households.

I will be honest with you; when I first joined this programme, I thought this would be a good opportunity to enhance my portfolio and get the VIA hours. I was thinking about the benefits that I would get out of this, and very little about the people that I was supposed to help in the first place. But that really changed along the way, when I went out on the ground over a period of time.

Due to my messed up timetable and very different CCAs, I wasn’t able to go for the normal afternoon timeslots in the Tuition Programme. So I was allocated to Catch Plus at Jalan Kukoh, which is a centre at a low-income estate at Chinatown. You can imagine after a hectic day of lectures, tutorials, and CCAs, I would go this centre to teach these children about basic Math and Science. It’s fun. But if there’s one thing to really learn from the programme, it’s this:

The concept of entity. That you’ll be able to relate to those around you and just think about the troubles that they have.

I recalled a story told by my tutee. This young Malay boy was just in Primary 3. He was living in that low income estate at Chinatown with his mum, uncles, and aunties, but his dad was in jail. He was sharing with me that his mum and uncles quarreled about money.

The discussion got heated and a lot of words were exchanged. Neighbours poked their heads out of their windows to find out what was going on, and then went right back to what they were doing.

I think this presents a very apt microcosm of our society, of how we treat people from the lower income household. How people just ignore them and leave it to the government to deal with their issues, because it’s not our problem.

One thing you have to understand, going into this programme, is that these children grow up in a dysfunctional household. They do not have that love, joy, and support our families give to us. They don’t have the financial resources that we have, to find ourselves tuition or enrichment lessons.

They grew up in an environment where it’s much too easy for them to go out and engage in a game of catch with friends, instead of staying at home to study. Where it’s much too easy for them to repeat the same mistakes as their parents made. Where it’s much too easy for them to fall back to the same poverty cycle that have plagued their family for generations.

At the end of the day, when I had 4 CCAs back in Year 4, and I was reaching home at 11pm everyday, I ultimately had to make a choice between continuing the programme and prioritising my academics. I chose this programme in the end.

VIA has never been about giving back to the community through little tokenistic gestures, but about learning more about yourself and the society we live in. Either be a passerby in that child’s life or have the power to fundamentally change the entire life trajectory of that child; to give him or her that hope and aspiration towards a better future; to pull themselves out of that vicious poverty cycle.

Use that knowledge and power that you have to effect real substantial change in future. Invest your time and effort into disenfranchised youth that will form the future generation.

Written by Zhang Haolin, 18, Dunman High School 

Volunteer tutor, Tuition Programme 2017

We’re looking for volunteers for Tuition Programme 2018!

TP18 eDM Volunteers

Sign up now on www.youthbank.sg

29 Questions with Bryan Tan

29 Questions - Bryan

Heartware staff Bryan Tan invites us into the *SCAPE-based office for #29Q‘s. In this episode, Bryan lets us in on secret stories about office life, and eventually unveils the BIG reveal.

1.    What were you doing just before this?

We were having a Volunteers’ Appreciation earlier.

2.    It’s a Sunday! What’s happening today?

Today we are celebrating the achievements and the contributions of the volunteers over the last year, 2017.

3.    So what do you like to do over the weekend?

For me, over the weekends, I spend time with family and friends. That’s about it.

4.    How many volunteers have walked through these doors?

More than I can remember.

5.    This looks interesting (with reference to kitchen pantry items). Can you tell us something interesting about any of this?

If you look here, this is where we collect our food and we stock up all the food. The interesting thing about this is that we have tea time once in a while, and we gather here for food and we talk.

6.    How long have you been working at Heartware?

I’ve been working at Heartware for slightly more than a year.

7.    Do you have a nickname in the office?

Some of them call me Uncle Tan.

8.    What’s the best snack that you can find in the pantry right now?

My best snack is not here. That’s why it is the best, because it is out of stock.

9.    Can you name all the staff that currently works here in 10 seconds?

Ms See Leng, Mr Raymond, Ms Amanda, Keng Hwee, Sammy, Elena, Mira, Elysia, Denise, Bryan, Bryan..

10.  Time’s up! Who is your favourite co-worker?

Are you ready to know? Actually, I don’t have a favourite co-worker.

11.  If you could shift any co-worker to a different seat in the office, who will you shift and where will it be?

Hmm. I wouldn’t shift anyone around.

12.  So what’s your favourite place in the office and why?

My favourite place in the office is the designer computer as well as the pantry. When there’s much work to do and I need to concentrate those are the most quietest places.

13.  Tell us what is a funny experience that happened in there (the storeroom)?

When I was here as an intern in 2015, a staff had her birthday so we shifted all her belongings and setup a table over here to surprise her.

14.  What’s the craziest thing you found in the storeroom?

Umbrellas. Many many many umbrellas.

15.  Who do you think has the most interesting desk?

Bryan Yue. If you look here, he has notes well-organised and pictures! The interesting thing is that he seems to like giving his pictures to the other colleagues as a souvenir.

16.  What are the 3 items that I can find in your desk?

Definitely my pen, marker for writing on the white board, as well as this (lifts up his correction pen).

17.  Show us 1 item in your table that you find the most dear.

(Lifts a box) This is my stash of tea-bags. It is dear because it is prepared by my mum.

18.  If you could trade positions with any colleague in the office, who would you pick and why?

I could, but I wouldn’t want to trade any positions because I believe that everyone is unique and special in their own way.

19.  What is the toughest moment you experienced working here?

Home Team.

20.  What scares you the most?

Time away from my family and friends.

21.  If you can have one superpower what would it be and why?

To be able to concentrate when everything is going chaotic.

22.  What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

I heard this from Bryan Yue: Gratitude expressed through words is great, but greater than that is gratitude expressed through actions.

23.  What do you think is the most beautiful thing in the world?

Nature.

24.  Can you tell us one secret that the volunteers do not know.

(Opens his drawer) Over here is my stash of notes that I collected from past staff as well as volunteers who have crossed paths with me. I keep their notes of appreciation.

25.  What will you miss most about the office?

The memories.

26.  Since it is Volunteers’ Appreciation day, what is one thing that you want to tell all your volunteers?

I want to say a big Thank You to everyone of you, because with you – you make the work here so much more meaningful.

27.  What can the volunteers look forward to in 2018?

New office, new projects, new colleagues, and more fun.

28.  And who do you think can be a Heartware Network volunteer?

Anyone with a heart.

29.  Last question. Complete the tagline: if it is not from the heart?

It is not worth doing.

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