Continuous, concentrated efforts often yield the best results, and that is what WeeVolunteer (WeeVo) hopes to achieve with their volunteer efforts. The volunteer arm of Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, WeeVo has partnered with Jamiyah Home for the Aged (Darul Takrim) through their local volunteer project WeeReach (Elderly) since 2019 to improve the physical, intellectual and social emotional wellness of the elderly beneficiaries.
With constantly changing programmes during their bi-weekly sessions prepared by the local programme team, WeeVo’s 23 volunteers have been able to connect with the residents through activities such as arts & crafts. Getting creative with the volunteers has proven to be therapeutic for the beneficiaries, as well as improve their physical and mental health. The residents have also opened up to the volunteers over multiple sessions, often seen conversing with them during the craft sessions.
In addition to getting the elderly involved in arts & craft, the volunteers have also included various physical activities during their visits. Dressed in traditional kebaya (traditional Malay attire), a group of performers led participants and residents in some simple exercises and dance moves, with the volunteers guiding the more mobile seniors in the motions. By keeping residents active, the group engages the beneficiaries physiologically, which in turn improve their cognitive functions.
The volunteers have also learnt valuable lessons from these sessions. Through debriefs and reflections after each visit, the students shared that they gained beneficial communication skills and patience, as well as listened to a fair share of eye-opening tales that the seniors had shared from their wealth of stories.
Through WeeReach’s long-term programme, the volunteers hope that they will be able to forge lasting friendships with the seniors, or at least liven up their fortnight Saturday afternoons.
“Volunteering gave me a chance to peek into the lives of the elderly. Although we usually write them off, they are the ones who’s lived the most, and have so many stories to share. We sometimes forget that they are people too, and volunteering was a sobering reminder to keep an open mind and heart to the elderly past any impression we may have at first.” Joshua de Souza, Volunteer
WeeVolunteer (WeeVo) is a social work main committee rebranded from Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI) WeeTrip that aims to benefit both local and overseas communities. Its vision is to serve as a beacon for volunteer organisations in NTU and its mission is to inspire a cohort of WeeKids (ie, students of WKWSCI) to give back to society, by providing different, sustainable volunteer opportunities with a communication focus.