Ways You Can Give Back To The Community
We speak with Victor Poh, Head of Volunteer Management from TOUCH Community Services, to get an inside look on what giving back to the community looks like.
Mr Victor Poh
Head of Volunteer Management, TOUCH Community Services
"1. What are the types of volunteer work and programmes available at TOUCH? Are there special requirements under each type of work/ programme?"
It varies depending on our volunteers’ preferences and availability. There are no special requirements to be a volunteer, but we do provide the necessary training for volunteers before taking on certain programmes.
Our volunteers can choose to help in the following areas:
- Pack and deliver meals to frail and homebound seniors under Meals-On-Wheels (MOW)
- Accompany seniors for their medical appointments under Medical Escort and Transport (MET)
- Befriend vulnerable seniors to provide social support through regular visits, phone calls and engagement
- Mentor children at TOUCH Young Arrows in character development and provide academic coaching in English and Mathematics
- Support in ad-hoc programme activities
Find out more about the volunteer programmes here.
"2. How have the volunteers at TOUCH have helped your clients? "
Many of our clients, both young and old, have been impacted by our volunteers where a simple smile can warm the hearts of seniors living alone. Through the bonds forged via TOUCH’s academic coaching, our volunteer mentors have enabled our children to build confidence and social skills, laying the foundation for character values and mental resilience. We’ve also seen many children we’ve helped return as volunteers to help others.
"3. Were there any volunteers who were inspired by their experiences at TOUCH and did something different, such as join the sector full time?"
We have people from all walks of life. A teammate of ours previously left his corporate job to join the social service sector, inspired by his positive and enriching volunteering experience. The individuals who join TOUCH have all been empowered to pursue a different path, driven by their passion to transform the lives of others.
"4. What are some common challenges volunteers face, and how do they overcome these challenges?"
We always try our best to make volunteering convenient for our volunteers even if they come across certain challenges. Here are the key challenges our volunteers face and what we’ve done to help them:
- Too little time — Many volunteers have to juggle school, family and work commitments and for some, caregiving duties. They may end up feeling stressed in managing the various commitments with so little time on their hands.
To counter these challenges, we ensure that they can volunteer according to their availability and preferences. For example, volunteers under Meals-On-Wheels are able to tap on our volunteering app to select their preferred time slot and to better manage their schedule.
- Lack of confidence — Some of our volunteers hesitate to reach out to different groups of individuals due to the lack of confidence in themselves.
We empower our volunteers by training and equipping them with the relevant skillsets and knowledge, where we have healthcare professionals to assist them. Apart from training, supervision is conducted by TOUCH staff to ensure that the training and equipment provided are adequate for the volunteers to conduct their role effectively.
- Lack of motivation — Ever since the pandemic, we have individuals who have taken a long break from volunteering and they find it harder to resume volunteering when the situation has stabilised.
To address issues regarding the lack of motivation, the TOUCH team has been conducting regular surveys to see how our volunteers feel. We work together to identify areas for improvement, reassess volunteers’ aspirations to see if they have changed, and explore how we can further enrich their volunteering journey with us.
"5. What encourages long-term volunteers to return to TOUCH?"
Many volunteers have journeyed with us over the years because of their steadfast commitment to our cause, and when they see themselves working together with TOUCH which lets them be part of something greater – they’ve continued to serve the community with us.
During the pandemic, we saw how our regular volunteers stood by us even after the Circuit Breaker. Volunteers who were not able to volunteer physically due to safe management measures also found ways to be on virtual platforms to befriend and connect with our clients.
"6. What are some things that people need to consider before they volunteer? Are there any limitations that doesn’t allow them to volunteer?"
Volunteers are assessed and matched according to the suitability of the task, safety and commitment level. For practical reasons, there are age considerations for individuals involved in delivering meals and accompanying our seniors for their medical appointments. Volunteers also need to have the relevant skillsets to perform certain roles. For example, individuals providing academic coaching should have good English literacy and numeracy skills. Most important of all, volunteers must have the drive and passion to serve clients who need support.
"7. Does TOUCH recommend that potential volunteers volunteer together with families or friends? How can interested volunteers join TOUCH? "
It is common for families and friends to volunteer together especially when delivering MOW. Parents have also used volunteering as a teachable moment to impart good values like empathy and compassion to their children who volunteer with them. We have many volunteers who have also started to rope in their colleagues, friends, relatives and even neighbours to chip in.