On 14 January 2017, more than 70 Crescent and Pioneer Hall residents gathered bright and early in the hall canteen, raring to kick-off the inaugural GiveBack Day. Students had taken time off their precious weekend, to improve the home conditions of five families identified by Whispering Hearts Family Service Centre.
Armed with paint, brushes, pails, mops and cleaning equipment, groups went off to various blocks into the neighbourhood nearby, all ready for a day of cleaning and painting, packing and uncluttering, and to spend a day with these families. For many of the student volunteers, this was the first time painting a house – the only painting they were familiar with was in Art classes in school!
Even though the teams completed this challenge in just one day, preparations started months before the actual day where student organisers visited the families in their homes, to evaluate and see what help could be provided. Personalised profiles and checklists, down to chosen wall colours and non-functional items, were created for each home. Whatever students felt they could fix, they did! Engineering students turned electricians for the day and replaced faulty lightbulbs! Students who were used to only cleaning their own bedrooms, now had to help clean and tidy the entire house!
Despite a day of hardwork, the heartfelt thanks of the families made it all worthwhile and and NTU Students declared GiveBack Day 2017 a huge success!
“My first impression of the house was rather terrible. The house was messy and dusty. Before painting the rooms, my group spent tremendous effort in cleaning up the place, sweeping up dust balls and trash behind large furniture and scrubbing the floor. Initially, we did not know where to start cleaning, as there was quite a lot to clean. Eventually, we worked in teams and completed the tasks efficiently. It was very fun experimenting with the painting equipment we were supplied with, and we had a great sense of accomplishment when we finished the painting work. It was even more satisfying when later, the residents thanked us wholeheartedly as we left. Overall, I find Giveback Day 2017 particularly enjoyable and meaningful as we have indeed created a positive impact on the families involved.” Zeng Ding, Team 3 Group Leader
“Today was my first time in two years volunteering for a community outreach programme, and also my first at a painting job. Throughout the event, I made new friends from both Crescent and Pioneer Halls, and I sincerely hope to keep these friends through my hall stay! A more important lesson I learnt today was that Christmas isn’t the only time for the spirit of giving; the house we went to was a wheel-chair bound auntie. She was really sweet, and her spirit of joy after we completed the work made my day because I could really tell that she enjoyed our company. I hope I will be able to help more families like the one I visited today!” Sarah Chin, Team 1 Group Leader
“For Giveback Day on 14 January 2017, an enriching experience awaited me as this was my first time doing cleaning and painting of walls for other people’s homes. I was honestly shocked at the state the house was in. Initially, I thought it would be a chore to clean up and paint both the master bedroom and the living room but thankfully my team made the whole activity something that was fun and meaningful to do. After looking at the result of my team cleaning up and painting, I felt more relieved and happy for the household owners. I felt a sense of achievement when I saw the owners being really happy with the end result of the entire team’s hard work. It was a smooth process throughout the whole Giveback Day. I am glad that I have managed to do this level of community service and making new friends in the process have made this Giveback Day a totally wonderful and enriching experience.” Matthew Cho Lai Liang, Team 2 Group Leader
GiveBack @ CresPion
GiveBack @ CresPion aims to stimulate students to consider creative ways to “give back” to the community, e.g. annual GiveBack Day to help the needy in the local community; inspiring the young through fun activities such as tangram and working with other learning spaces to coordinate smaller GiveBack events and activities.