The enthusiastic, bright and fun-loving Zhong from Singapore interned with us for 2 months as she was part of our programmes and an important takeaway for her from the internship was,
“Dream, any dream that you want, and then make it happen.”
Hear her talk about her experience of change at our Dream Fundays…
My favourite times with the children on the Dream A Dream bus!“
“The very first thing that struck me when I went to the field to work with the youths was the stark contrast between the physique of an Indian youth and that of a Singaporean youth. A 14 year old 8th standard Indian child looks like a 9 year old Singaporean child to me. To think that this child is undergoing puberty yet still looking so small and thin is beyond my imagination. However, the enthusiasm and energy that these children carry with them wherever they go is so infectious and they always make me feel very fulfilled and satisfied after my interactions with them. It is through the programme Dream Fundays that I got the opportunity to interact with the children.
Dream Fundays is a programme where volunteers from companies interact with children from vulnerable backgrounds as part of employee engagement. These volunteers spend around 3 hours with the children on various activities such as ‘Share your Workspace’ where children get the opportunity to go to the volunteer’s workspace and work on a project such as MS Paint.
As an intern, my role is to bring these children from their school to the company and facilitate the Dream Fundays by supporting them through the process of establishing goals and agreements, conducting ice-breakers between the children and the volunteers, and finally a reflection for the day. I begin to build relationships with the children in the bus while on the way to the companies. This is also the time where I get to interact most with the children. I truly treasure this time because I get to know them personally and they are always so inquisitive in wanting to know me better as well. Though at times, the children appear to be so synonymous, for instance when I ask a question and everyone will shout “Yes Ma’am” at the same time, but when I go and talk to them individually, each one of them is different in their own unique way – personality, background and thoughts. The children taught me to be welcoming in their presence, curiosity in learning new things, asking questions when in doubt. During the reflection circle, it is really gratifying when a child takes the courage and gathers his/her confidence to stand in the middle of the circle to share with everyone what he/she has learnt from the day. The pride showing on the face of the child’s volunteer-partner is also very rewarding.
A volunteer from AXA guiding a child to draw himself as a superhero!
I feel that our programme has made an impact within the volunteers in letting them know that the time that they have contributed to spend with the children has resulted in a difference within the children.
When I think back to the time when I was 14, I was unlike these children because when given the opportunity to go on educational visits, I would complain rather than be grateful for it. I saw those opportunities as a hassle, rather than opportunities to learn new things. Through these interactions with the youths, I learnt to participate 100% in everything that I do because there is something to learn and gain in every experience if I am willing to be involved and be curious.
If these one day programmes have a little impact on the children as well as the first-time volunteers, I can only imagine what significant impacts Dream A Dream’s long-term life-skills programme have on the children.”
Have you volunteered with us? If you have a story of your experience of change or if this post makes you want to experience the Dream Volunteer experience write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.