University students brought the gifts of song and fun to the elderly this Christmas.
Contributed By Jonathan Teo
Christmas is the season for gathering with friends and families, presenting each other gifts, singing carols, and of course, indulging in Christmas delicacies. But there are those in society who do not share this privilege. Among them are the elderly in nursing homes who have no family to celebrate with. With this in mind, U M.A.D organized a special Christmas visit to bring glad tidings to the elderly.
U M.A.D, which stands for “Universities Making a Difference,” is a community project involving students from different universities in Singapore. Spearheaded by a zone supervisor from City Harvest Church, Lee Yi Lun, the idea was to ignite the spirit of giving back to the community.
“We thought it would be a fun idea to get university students to reach out to the elderly in different nursing homes on the same day. With the Christmas festive season around the corner, it was an opportunity to bring laughter and joy to the lives of the elderly,” shared Lee.
Dec. 10 was the day this vision came to pass. Sixty-five undergraduates from the Singapore Institute of Management, Singapore Management University, Nanyang Technological University, and the National University of Singapore visited a total of 245 elderly people from three homes that day.
Students from NUS went to the Ju Eng Home for Senior Citizens, while the NTU students visited the elderly at Bright Hill Evergreen Home, and SIM and SMU students helmed Geylang East Home for the Aged. They brought cheer to the old folks, chit-chatting with them, and presenting them with gift packs. They also sang all-time favorite Christmas carols like “Silent Night,” “Feliz Navidad” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” which warmed the hearts of the elderly.
For many of the volunteers, it was their first time visiting an elderly home. NUS student, Merilyn Lim, 20, felt that it was a learning experience for her. “It was my first time at an elderly home; I did not know what to expect,” she said. She was glad to find that the elderly were friendly and receptive.
Over at Bright Hill Evergreen Home, NTU students went the extra mile. They visited the elderly who had limited mobility and who were bed-bound, and played simple games with them.
Over at Geylang East Home for the Aged, students from SIM and SMU replicated the popular US game show The Price Is Right, which had the elderly excitedly guessing the prices of items.
SIM student, Shawn Ashley Chua, 20, felt that it was a privilege to be part of this outing. “To see the smiles on the faces of the elderly makes all the hard work totally worth it. This Christmas is really memorable for me, because it is not just the usual routine of going for parties and receiving gifts, but we have truly found a need and met it, by choosing love this Christmas,” he shared.
“I felt that it was very meaningful and enjoyable to see the elderly smile,” agreed 20-year-old Sarah Wang, who played guitar for the carollers.
In this season of giving and receiving, the members of U M.A.D. greatly were blessed as they gave their time and attention to the elderly.