YOU WOULD THINK that after their final examinations, either at a junior college or polytechnic, a group of 16 youths aged between 19 and 21, would be oﬀ travelling the world or simply taking a well-deserved break. Instead, they signed up for a month-long internship at the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS).
It was part of the Trackers programme – an intensive disciple-making course organised by the Trinity Annual Conference Board of Youth Ministries (TRAC BOYM).
The third phase of this programme required the Trackers to intern at a Christian organisation for a month.
The 16 Trackers under the MWS were assigned to diﬀerent locations, namely, the headquarters, family service centres, student care centres as well as a home for the destitute. Although they were attached to diﬀerent places, all with vastly diﬀerent job scopes, the experiences they had were memorable and also enriching in many ways.
Face to face with the underprivileged
Deborah Chan, 19, was attached to the Sembawang Family Service Centre. Besides helping out with administrative duties like filing, she also had the opportunity to interact with the children at the iConnect Student Care Centre. There, she was exposed to working with children aged between seven and 12, teaching and tutoring them, as well as facilitating educational games.
“The time I spent at iConnect has been very humbling. I saw how contented the children were despite having so little. It has definitely given me a greater desire to serve society in future,” she said.
Eastina Tan, also 19, was attached to the Daybreak Student Care Centre, situated in the Naval Base Primary School. Working with the children there was very challenging for her as she had no previous experience interacting with children of such a young age. It certainly was no easy feat taking care of the children, especially ensuring that they took their afternoon naps. Eastina recalls how playful some children were and how challenging it was to try and calm them down.
“It was definitely tough at times especially ensuring that the children behave, but I found that it was a good opportunity for me to put love into action. I also really felt the Father heart of God when I interacted with them,” she said.
Four other Trackers were assigned to Christalite Methodist Home, a gazetted home for the destitute. Most of them had never interacted with the elderly before and the experience was both refreshing and educational, sharing stories with the residents and helping with daily therapy sessions.
Janice Yun, 18, a keen table-tennis player, befriended the residents by playing the game with them.
She said: “Helping out at Christalite and interacting with the residents here have made me view things from their perspective, especially about life. I’ve spent so much time with them that I have even picked up some of their habits! I find myself making a cup of Milo and dipping biscuits in it when I get home!”
Looking at the bigger picture at MWS Headquarters
Even though most of the Trackers had the opportunity to interact directly with the clients, especially through helping out in the homes and centres, five others were assigned to the MWS Headquarters, where they gained good insights into how the headquarters’ departments like Finance, Communications/ Fund Raising and Human Resource and Service Planning and Development supported the work of the diﬀerent social services under the MWS.
Joel Yu, 20, was an intern in the Service Planning and Development department of the headquarters. ere, he assisted his mentors in volunteer management as well as developing strategies to further help the clients.
“Volunteering at the MWS has taught me to step out of my comfort zone. I’ve become much more aware about the less privileged in our society especially through helping out in my department. I feel motivated to continue volunteering in other ways even though this internship has ended,” he said.
As the Trackers went through this internship, they not only learnt more about themselves and others, but also how complex and varied the needs of the community were and what the challenges were. They now see the need to encourage others to serve the less fortunate.
Charlene Chew, who interned at Tampines Family Service Centre, said: “I urge my fellow peers and friends not to shy away from volunteering. There may be many challenges along the way, but I believe that with God’s help, nothing is impossible.”
Though this internship programme has ended, the youths still feel a need to give back to society and follow up from this experience. Although most of them have begun their school term, National Service or work, they are determined to continue helping out in whatever ways possible, in the hope that they can make a diﬀerence in the lives of others.
If you wish to volunteer at MWS too, you can call 6478-4700, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Alberta Low was a TRACker at the MWS Headquarters helping out in the Communications and Fund-Raising Department.