A Stepping Stone into Volunteerism
Fun in volunteering doesn’t come without its fair share of challenges and concerns.
Fear and anxiety for the unknown. These are usually the feelings weighing down an individual when they volunteer for the first time. Their worries and insecurities dance in their minds because they’re unsure of what to expect, and so it becomes hard to believe in themselves enough. But how do these individuals overcome their challenges?
Heartware Network offers a variety of volunteering opportunities dedicated to youths. Through the different programmes offered, volunteers are encouraged to flourish into the best versions of themselves.
Mohamed Muzammir, 18, became one of many individuals who signed up with Heartware Network when he discovered their Heartware-National Day Parade Hospitality Management programme (HW-NDP) back in 2017. After spending a long time pondering, he had taken that leap of faith and joined the programme on the same year as his “O” Level Examinations. Even so, he had few regrets, if any.
Muzammir wanted to volunteer as he was intent on contributing his time and energy into a cause he truly enjoyed and felt for.
The Learning Process
At first, Muzammir looked forward to meeting new people, but he was anxious over his lack of experience interacting with others as a new volunteer. In his volunteer engagement with HW-NDP 2017, Muzammir was also appointed as Sector Leader, which gave him a much larger responsibility.
“Managing a large group of strangers to ensure a smooth parade was definitely a challenge. There were numerous instances when I felt like throwing in the towel,” he confessed.
As Sector Leader, he found it most challenging to work with uncooperative volunteers.
“At times like this, you usually look for a facilitator for advice. Well, in this case, I WAS the facilitator,” he joked.
However, Muzammir gained interpersonal competence skills through this trial. He picked up collaboration and teamwork skills through the role, and learnt that effective communication was more than just replying to peers, but also about understanding what they were trying to convey to him.
“I was fortunate to work together with like-minded individuals. Our friendships and bond transcended beyond our volunteering experience,” Muzammir expressed.
He realised that some individuals just needed an extra push and more attention as compared to others. He realised that he needed to trust and rely on himself the most, so to step up and take initiative.
He also highlighted that patience is an important character to develop in every volunteer. That volunteering should not be viewed minutely, but a shared vision; an ultimate goal that the team wants to achieve at the end.
Moving on to Wider Networks
By the end of his volunteering experience with Heartware Network, Muzammir was equipped with skills that would benefit him in daily situations.
Muzammir went on to further his studies at Catholic Junior College and will be sitting for his “A” Level Examinations this year. With his newfound confidence, he also went on to volunteer as a Lion Befriender at the Assisi Hospice, which houses elderly who require palliative care and daily treatment.
Over at the Assisi Hospice, Muzammir went through similar challenges, such as learning how to interact with a new demographic. Always, he relied on what he was taught back then as a HW-NDP volunteer.
Like how it was that every individual is unique and require a different approach, flexibility and adaptability are skills that were immediately relevant in this new volunteer setting too.
To overcome the divide between generations, Muzammir soon realised that he needed to be more tactful in his manner of speech. With the seniors, he needed to be more calm and open-minded. It was a far throw from his previous self as a Sector Leader in 2017, when he was more boisterous and visionary.
He was more self-assured and he found himself taking more initiative in social interactions with the beneficiaries.
On one incident, Muzammir sparked a conversation with an elderly lady which resulted in receiving a valuable life lesson. The elderly lady expressed how much she cherished her loved ones and the memories she has even though they no longer visited her.
“Hold your loved ones dear to you, because you may not know what might happen to them the second you turn your head,” she said.
This has left an impact on Muzammir till today. He realised he should be grateful with what he has now.
By the end of the conversation, he aimed to benefit other communities to the best of his abilities, to give back to those in need as a way to replace what had they lost.
He never expected for volunteering to leave such an impact on him. What started out as a new experience, resulted into something better.
Overall, Muzammir gained a better understanding of volunteering through his experiences.
With the skills he picked up, he looks forward to his next volunteering opportunity.