The spirit of volunteering comes in many forms, regardless of age, background or occupation. Two working professionals share their experiences as volunteers of Methodist Welfare Services (MWS).
Turning her hobby into a gift of health
Ms Ang Lay Hong has only been a volunteer with MWS Christalite Methodist Home (MWS CMH) for over a year, but her contributions are already moving many residents – literally.
The 48-year-old finance director began her volunteering journey at the Home in 2016 by organising group birthday celebrations for the destitute residents. Every month, she would gather other volunteers to share the cost of a cake, and together, they would hold a simple but heart-warming gathering.
“A few months ago, an elderly resident was so happy when we did that for him. He told me no one has celebrated his birthday before. Things like this keep me going,” recounted Lay Hong.
Beyond throwing parties, Lay Hong wanted to do more. The Zumba dance-fitness enthusiast approached her instructors and friends about joining her as volunteers. After some planning, the group nailed down two Saturdays a month to hold mass Zumba Gold classes that are modified for older adults to focus on balance, range of motion, and coordination.
When the Zumba Gold team kick-started sessions in September 2017, the residents were slow to warm up to the idea and mostly watched from the sidelines. However, after a few sessions, the instructors’ encouragement and infectious energy began to draw out more residents to join in the fun.
Today, it is not surprising to see participants going to the front of the stage to follow the moves more closely, or to interact with the volunteers (top pic).
Heartened by the enthusiasm of the MWS CMH residents, Lay Hong added: “I believe in giving what I have to others, be it money, time, or any other form of support. I wish to see a change in our environment – more people caring for one another.”
Going the extra mile with his professional expertise
While many people would rather stay away from their day jobs in their spare time, dentist Dr Goh Siew Hor gamely puts his professional skills to good use once a month at MWS Bethany Nursing Home – Choa Chu Kang (MWS BNH).
Despite his busy schedule, the 34-year-old spends half a day at the Home to fix, clean, and polish the residents’ teeth (pic below left), seeing an average of 10 patients each time. Even more impressive is the fact that the young professional, who currently attends Ang Mo Kio Methodist Church, has been a volunteer at MWS BNH for more than 15 years.
Dr Goh’s volunteering journey began while he was in secondary school. Being a Methodist, he had wanted to find a Methodist organisation to serve at. He was flipping through the Yellow Pages when he found a listing for The Methodist Home for the Aged Sick, which was later renamed MWS BNH.
He started by helping with feeding the residents, washing dishes, and chaperoning residents during their strolls around the neighbourhood. He also took the seniors out to Bethany Chapel’s Sunday service, and organised shopping mall outings on the weekends.
On his passion in serving old folks, Dr Goh said: “Services that deal with children tend to have more volunteers. Not many want to work with the elderly, so this is where I feel I can contribute most.”
Fifteen years on, his dedication to helping under-served seniors remains as strong as ever. He has forged strong ties with the MWS BNH residents, many of whom still view him as the friendly young boy he used to be. They are less afraid of dental sessions with him, and the nursing home would also ask him to care for the more difficult patients.
Dr Goh plans to continue volunteering at MWS BNH as long as he can. “God has blessed us to be a blessing to others. He has blessed me richly so that I can share it with people. If I can help the least, the lost, and the last, it’s what God would want me to do.”
By the Methodist Welfare Services Communications Team
Photos courtesy of the Methodist Welfare Services