Mr Lai Chong Kian
Becoming a volunteer was a natural decision for me. After serving 30 years in the police force, I continued working as a security officer until 2012. I got to know about RSVP Singapore through the Senior Volunteer Week 2013 where I attended a volunteerism talk. After attending several training workshops, I found RSVP programmes to be very structured and meaningful. I started with the Mentally Disadvantaged Outreach Programme (MDOP) in 2013 and have not looked back since. Today, I keep myself busy with volunteer activities for four RSVP programmes – MDOP, Mentoring Programme (MP), Enriching Lives of Seniors’ Programme (ELSP) and Cyberguide.
Volunteering keeps me active in inspiring ways such as taking up new skills like line dancing and singing and even IT skills, which I then utilise to make the volunteer activities more interesting for the beneficiaries. When I see the smiles on their faces, I feel satisfied and happy.The most memorable experience I have of volunteering was during my work with the Mentoring Programme where one of the parents actually approached me to thank me for the change in his child – the child learned how to be polite under the programme and also learned how to apologise.
As a Pioneer Generation ambassador, I often visit fellow Pioneer Generation citizens and encourage them to lead a more active life as a volunteer in various activities. I would regularly face excuses, with reasons such as “no time” or “too tired from caring for grandchildren”. But it is important to take that first step because you will only get to understand the true value behind volunteering after you have tried it for yourself. Over time, as you get to know the beneficiaries better, you become friends with them, blurring the line between volunteers and beneficiaries.
I would like to encourage more seniors to take up volunteering as being a volunteer will motivate you to lead a meaningful, healthy and happy life.