Ms Ng Soh Kheng
Volunteering since May 2003
I used to work in the Civil Service as part of the Department of Statistics and was involved in population demographics and tourism studies. I retired in 1995 and embarked on my volunteering journey three years later.
I first started volunteering on my own at Geylang East Home for the Aged. The other volunteers and I would cook for the senior residents at the home once or twice a month. I still actively volunteer there till today!
As for my journey with RSVP Singapore, I joined in 2003 and joined the Mentally Disadvantaged Outreach Programme (MDOP) and volunteered at Octave@Bukit Batok. Later, I joined the Enriching Lives of Seniors Programme (ELSP), selecting to volunteer at Yong-en Care Centre. In ELSP, our team of eight would engage the beneficiaries meaningfully by leading them in exercises, karaoke, and simple games to keep them mentally and physically active. I am an Age Well Everyday (AWE) trainer. I’m currently undergoing training to become a HAPPY (Healthy, Ageing Promotion Programme for You) trainer as well.
I really enjoy the different volunteering work that I get to be a part of. Volunteering has given me the opportunity to connect with like-minded volunteers and forge lasting friendships. At times, I do think of taking a break, however the constant encouragement from my beneficiaries asking me to stay on is very heartening. Knowing that they want me to stay on and visit them frequently have always been strong motivators for me.
The friendships that I formed during my time at RSVP Singapore have also been a source of motivation. One of my fellow volunteers, Tina Tay, started volunteering with me at RSVP around the same period. We would have each other’s backs – covering for each other’s session when one of us could not make it. Recently in 2019, Tina received the Volunteer of the Year Award during the annual Volunteer Appreciation Day. I am so proud of her!
Personally, I feel that volunteering changes one’s perspective. Through interacting with my beneficiaries, I get to witness many interesting things that happen at the centres and meet many interesting people along the way. I believe that one can learn a lot from these experiences. My family is also extremely supportive of me doing volunteering. My children feel that volunteering has provided me with an avenue to stay fulfilled during my retirement and contribute positively to society. They believe that encouraging retirees to volunteer is a great way to not only fill a potential gap in volunteers, but also ensures that our seniors remain as active members of society!
My granddaughter has also joined me in a few of my volunteer sessions at Yong-en Care Centre and this has served as a motivation for her to volunteer in her spare time. In the past, she had always felt that volunteering was limited to the compulsory community service sessions conducted by schools. However, after experiencing volunteering herself and learning that there are opportunities for anyone out there to help the community, she now feels strongly about volunteering. She loves to continue volunteering even after she enters the workforce and eventually when she retires, she wants to continue contributing too!