Written by: Beverly Tan (19-E3), Dillon Phang (19-I4), Aloysius Tng (19-U4)
Designed by: Jo Yeoul (19-A2) and Athena Lim (19-A4)
Photographs by: Mah Wan Yin (EJC Media), Lim Jing Xuan (EJC Media), Lee Shao Yeap (EJC Media)
Co-Curricular Activity-initiated Values-in-Action (CCA VIA), is an annual occasion where the CCA comes together to serve a charitable social cause. A crucial part of our curriculum, VIA is meant to instil in our students the desire to serve the community and champion our core values. On the 27th of July, EJC Media Club went down to SCAPE Singapore to participate in ‘Good to Go!’, a volunteer event organised by Youth Corps Singapore in conjunction with their 5th anniversary.
Nestled in bustling Orchard Road, Youth Corps Singapore (YCS) is a national institution that champions for volunteerism among youths. YCS was launched in 2014 by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, to empower youths to give back to the community. ‘Good To Go!’ was an event organised to express gratitude to the unsung heroes in our community, such as cleaners and security guards. To show our appreciation, EJC Media Club and other volunteers handed out care packs to the unsung heroes in various shopping centres along Orchard Road.
Photograph by Lim Jing Xuan (EJC Media)
At the start of the day, we were all ushered into the hall hastily to commemorate the anniversary and learn more about the heroes behind Youth Corps. Minister of Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu was also present to recognise the lengths Youth Corps and its volunteers go to for the sake of the less privileged. She praised the Youth Corps for all they have done and their efforts in pioneering work and youth programmes, urging them to continuously strive for improvement. After the Minister’s address, we were allowed to explore the Marketplace set up in the hall.
The hall was a bustle of activity, packed to the brim with booths and stalls advocating for various charities and social change organisations. The booth that stood out the most was the Inside Space, a mysterious booth manned by two whimsical looking people. Clad in black from head to toe, it was impossible to make out who they were. But what was the most unusual was their startling pink and green wigs as they worked their typewriters. They beckoned to passers-by, typing poems specially created for each patron who stopped for a while, the whole process happening without uttering a word or collecting a single cent. When Press spoke to the booth’s organiser, he told us that he wanted to inspire people to be less judgemental and negative of strangers in their everyday life but to look for the positive side in people. This was duly encapsulated in their handcrafted, uplifting poems that truly spoke to hearts.
All the volunteer groups also visited many other booths, learning more about the various youth and non-profit organisations in Singapore to collect the care packs sponsored by these organisations. One such organisation was ‘Swee Swee’, advocating for sustainable living. They requested volunteers at their booth to answer a quiz found on their social media page about recycling and sustainable living.
After hours of preparations and briefings, Minister Grace Fu ceremoniously flagged off everyone, and we all set off.
The various volunteer groups, each represented by a superhero, were assigned their own areas along Orchard Road to give out the care packs from the various well-wishing organisations. When we finally gave the first of many care packs out, the sense of satisfaction was undeniable. The beneficiaries on the most part were ecstatic that their contribution to Singapore was appreciated, with some willing to share their experiences. A cleaner lady (who wished to remain anonymous) expressed that “this is not an easy job, but I’m getting used to the difficulties I face every day”. When asked about her feelings towards the general public, she commented that “Some people are very considerate, while some people are definitely not considerate”.
Photograph by: Lee Shao Yeap (EJC Media)
EJC Press also conducted several interviews with volunteers, beneficiaries and ‘Good To Go!’ organising team members to find out about their views towards this event.
We feel that this VIA opportunity was a very meaningful experience for our members as we had a chance to personally interact with and express gratitude to the unsung heroes who contribute to Singapore’s day-to-day functioning. It was also an opportunity for many of us to better understand the daily struggles of these unsung heroes. Ernest (19-E6) felt that “it was an opportune moment to take time to appreciate the silent guardians of bustling Orchard Road”, and expressed hope that this would be the first step to make a paradigm shift away from general apathy.”
Nicole, a ‘Good To Go!’ organiser, was looking for “a different and fresh volunteer experience” and saw what she wanted in ‘Good To Go!’. “Most of my service learning trips were rather boring, like going to the old folks’ home and cleaning up beaches,” she joked. “I enjoyed ‘Good To Go!’ and I would definitely recommend this volunteer event if Youth Corps is organising it again.”
All in all, ‘Good to Go!’ was an event that tightened the cohesive unit that is EJC Media Club, binding us together in our appreciation of the unsung heroes protecting and cleaning our streets. Our only regret was that this event, like all good things, had to come to an end. Rest assured, however, the lessons learned in this event will not be forgotten so soon.
Photograph by: Mah Wan Yin (EJC Media)
Remember to greet and appreciate your unsung heroes!