It started with an email from the community service committee just two days before our Global Volunteer Month activity. The email tells volunteers to check their names on a list and their assigned roles, and to look under the reserved list if we can’t find our names.
We had a problem, but it was a good problem. Too many UPSers have volunteered to support the TOUCH Young Arrows in their Road Safety Education programme.
In all, 75 UPSers showed up at the Road Safety Park in Singapore to support 25 TOUCH Young Arrows. These 25 children came from low income or single parent families. Many of them have little or no parental care and are at risk of falling into bad company.
For me, volunteering means making a difference to the lives of these children, even if it’s for just one day. Although my role was not to be a buddy to the children but as a safety co-ordinator, I made it a point to interact with them and make them feel special.
At the Road Safety Park, there’s a miniature circuit set up with roads, pedestrian walkways, traffic lights, car parks and even mini bus stops. The children and their buddies were divided up into three groups – pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. The drivers “drive” pedal-powered karts.
Unfortunately, it started to rain heavily after 15 minutes. Most of the children abandoned their karts and bicycles and ran for cover. I realized there were still a few children on the circuit with their UPS buddies. These children refused to abandon their karts and insisted on pedaling back to the kart shed, even though they were struggling. I ran out to them and together with their buddies pushed them back into the kart shed.
In the shed, I had the opportunity to chat with some of them and be their “big brother” as we waited for the rain to stop. We were drenched but enjoyed ourselves.
When the rain finally stopped, we made these few children feel extra special by getting their karts ready while they were being briefed before the re-start. After the briefing, they were the first to go onto the circuit while everyone else had to queue up for their karts.
While it was only a small gesture, the few kids appreciated it and we continued to talk even after the activity was over during lunch.
I spent a lot of time volunteering during my school days but when I found a job, the amount of time spent volunteering became less and less. So I’m glad that at UPS, volunteerism is a big thing. We do it together and encourage each other. When UPSers come together as volunteers, titles and job function no longer matter. We are together as one.
This year in Singapore, more than 250 UPSers have volunteered their time to various Global Volunteer Month activities. TOUCH Young Arrows is just the first.
|Category:||Caring for Communities, Global Impact|
|Tags:||Asia, global volunteer month, safety, Singapore, TOUCH Young Arrows, volunteer|