A new batch of volunteers undergo an Enablers’ Orientation session to empower them to serve effectively.
Contributed By Shaun Isaac
|CN PHOTO: Andy Loh|
Set up in March 1996, City Harvest Community Services Association has become a household name in Singapore. Part of their mission statement is “to be an effective service provider to every client, regardless of race, language or religion.”
Having stayed true to their vision, CHCSA has clients in every aspect of the community. Ranging from children, youth, elderly, and the terminally-ill, the association has been providing support and help through the contributions of their volunteers, numbering just under 1,000.
Being a volunteer takes more than just showing up. CHCSA takes pains to train volunteers so that they can be better prepared to serve as effectively as possible. Volunteers are known as “Enablers.”
“We coined the term ‘Enabler’ as we want our volunteers to be individuals who impact the beneficiaries positively in such a way that their interaction will allow both the Enabler and beneficiary to develop and grow,” states Darryl Loh, Executive Director of CHCSA.
As is the case with many community service organizations, although there is a high demand for volunteers, there are also certain requirements that need to be met should anyone wish to contribute time to the community. Enablers recruited need to fulfill the requirements of being “SHARP”: Sensitive, Happening, Always positive, Responsible and Pro-active.
On March 20, CHCSA held the first Enablers’ Orientation of 2010. Over 40 Enablers braved a cold and wet Saturday morning to report for their orientation at The Riverwalk on Upper Circular Road. From all walks of life, these Enablers came together for what was to be an eventful Saturday morning.
After presenting the vision and core values of the association, the staff provided an overview of the services offered by the association. Throughout the presentation, the Enablers were attentive, and were quick to ask questions after the presentation.
The highlight of the day was the session on team building and interaction. The staff engaged the Enablers through a series of games which required them to think through and solve problems with teamwork, trust and effective communication.
Through the activities, the Enablers realized the importance of trusting one another. “We may all help out in different services within the association, but we are really all part of one family,” says Sheryl Lim, 26, a social worker at CHCSA.
“I decided to become an Enabler working with youth because I believe that the youth are our future. Shaping their lives is essentially shaping the future,” says Bernard Lau, 20, a student.
CHCSA views its volunteers as valuable assets to the association. Because of the help of all their Enablers, the organization has been able to reach out to the community and impact society in significant ways.
“All our Enablers are important because they are our extended arms and legs that help us meet the needs of our clients and serve the community,” quips Lim.
An Overview of CHCSA’s Services:
COPE–A Community Outreach Program for the Elderly
POD–People Of Destiny is a youth center set up by CHCSA, in collaboration with Tampines Changkat Citizens’ Consultat ive Committee and Ministry of Community Development Youth & Sports
KITE–Kids In Total Embrace encompasses Smartkids Tuition as well as YoungTalents programs
RAYZ–RAYZ aims to provide a “ray of hope” to the intellectually- challenged
Talking Hands–Talking Hands is an outreach for the hearing-impaired in the community
FIRST Hand–Friends In Reaching and Serving the Terminally-ill reaches out to patients suffering from HIV/Aids
MS Care–MS Care is a service dedicated to supporting people living with Multiple Sclerosis
STAR Families–STrengthening And Restoring the family unit in society
M3–Mighty Men in the Making provides rehabilitation services for inmates and ex-offenders